Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Link to Evidence of Effectiveness: Arkansas does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Basis for Tenure: Arkansas awards nonprobationary status automatically after the probationary period; it is not based on an additional process that evaluates cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness. Although not referred to as "tenure," awarding nonprobationary status has the same implications.
Arkansas Code 6-17-1502 and 6-17-301(a)
End the automatic awarding of tenure.
Arkansas should deliberately base its decision to grant tenure on actual evidence of a teacher's classroom effectiveness.
Ensure that evidence of effectiveness is the determinative factor in tenure decisions.
Arkansas should make cumulative evidence of effectiveness, rather than number of years in the classroom, the most significant factor when awarding teachers the leap in professional standing that tenure represents.
Articulate a process that local districts must administer when deciding which teachers get tenure.
Arkansas should require a clear process, such as a hearing, to ensure that the local district reviews a teacher's performance before making a tenure determination.
Arkansas asserted that it does not have tenure, and that school districts make local hiring decisions using teacher evaluations.
In a follow-up response, Arkansas indicated that after year three, a teacher is nonprobationary but is subject to nonrenewal on an annual basis, and may be dismissed for cause at any time under the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act.
For the purposes of this goal, the term "tenure" refers to the point at which a teacher is granted nonprobationary or continuing contract status. Also, for additional information regarding Arkansas's dismissal policy, please see the 9-D: Dismissal analysis and recommendations.
Tenure should be a significant and consequential milestone in a teacher's career. The decision to give teachers tenure (or permanent status) is usually made automatically, with little thought, deliberation or consideration of actual performance. State policy should reflect the fact that initial certification is temporary and probationary, and that tenure is intended to be a significant reward for teachers who have consistently shown effectiveness and commitment. Tenure and advanced certification are not rights implied by the conferring of an initial teaching certificate. No other profession, including higher education, offers practitioners tenure after only a few years of working in the field.
States should also ensure that evidence of effectiveness is the preponderant (but not the only) criterion for making tenure decisions. Most states confer tenure at a point that is too early for the collection of sufficient and adequate data that reflect teacher performance. Ideally, states would accumulate such data for four to five years. This robust data set would prevent effective teachers from being unfairly denied tenure based on too little data and ineffective teachers from being granted tenure.