2011 Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Arizona does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Teachers in Arizona are awarded tenure automatically after a three-year probationary period, absent an additional process that evaluates cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Arizona Revised Statute 15-502(H), 15-537(C)
End the automatic awarding of tenure.
The decision to grant tenure should be a deliberate one, based on consideration of a teacher's commitment and actual evidence of classroom effectiveness.
Ensure evidence of effectiveness is the preponderant criterion in tenure decisions.
Arizona should make evidence of effectiveness, rather than the number of years in the classroom, the most significant factor when determining this leap in professional standing.
Articulate a process that local districts must administer when deciding which teachers get tenure.
Arizona should require a clear process, such as a hearing, to ensure that the local district reviews a teacher's performance before making a determination regarding tenure.
Require a longer probationary period.
Arizona should extend its probationary period, ideally to five years. This would allow for an adequate collection of sufficient data that reflect teacher performance.
Arizona asserted that it does not award tenure in the classic academic sense. The term is referenced in state regulations due to the popularity of the term "tenure" as a shorthand for continuing teachers (those employed three consecutive years or more). However, the only thing afforded continuing teachers by law in Arizona is due process for dismissal, rather than insulation from consequences for ineffectiveness, which tenure would suggest. A probationary teacher, by contrast, can be dismissed at any time.
For the purposes of this goal, the term "tenure" refers to the point at which a teacher is granted nonprobationary status. NCTQ agrees that nonprobationary teachers should be afforded due process for dismissal. However, that due process frequently creates insulation from consequences for poor performance (see Goal 5-C).