Teacher tenure everywhere else

Yesterday I responded to a comment about whether teachers in Utah have “tenure.” But I’ve never claimed to be focusing on Utah alone in this blog. So here’s some more information on teacher tenure nationwide from the think tank study I cited yesterday.

“Data from the U.S Department of Education’s 2007-2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (See appendix) reveal that on average, school districts dismiss or decline to renew only 2.1 percent of teachers for poor performance each year. The extremely low rates of dismissal for teachers, and the fact that dismissal is generally pursued for egregious conduct violations rather than performance, means that tenured teachers in most states enjoy the functional equivalence of employment for life.

The New Teacher Project’s widely-cited study of 12 urban school districts found that ’86 percent of administrators admitted that they do not always pursue dismissal even when it is warranted due to the costly, time consuming, and cumbersome nature of the dismissal process. And half of the districts had not dismissed a single teacher for performance over the preceding several years.'”

Here’s a Salt Lake Tribune report on the same study, with a Utah twist:

“In a survey of 12 school districts in Colorado, Ohio, Arkansas and Illinois, The New Teacher Project found that 99 percent of teachers are deemed “satisfactory” on their final exams. And in Utah’s largest districts, fewer than 1 percent of teachers are dismissed each year for poor performance.”

Indeed, the think tank study’s appendix includes U.S. Department of Education data listing the number of “tenured” teachers fired by state. (Apparently the Department of Education statisticians also think that Utah teachers have tenure.) Utah ranks near the top, or bottom, depending on one’s perspective: Very, very few tenured teachers lose their job.

Check out the data for yourself. Here’s the link again:

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