Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal remains unchanged in 2021.
Link to Evidence of Effectiveness: Arizona requires that teachers beginning their fourth year of employment who receive an ineffective evaluation rating must retain their probationary status. Tenured teachers who receive an ineffective rating will revert to probationary status for the subsequent school year and remain a probationary teacher until earning either an effective or highly effective evaluation rating.
Basis for Tenure: Arizona's teacher evaluation ratings include objective measures of student growth; therefore, classroom effectiveness is considered when making tenure decisions.
Arizona Revised Statutes 15-536
Ensure that tenure decisions are based on evidence of effectiveness.
Arizona should make cumulative evidence of effectiveness, rather than number of years in the classroom, the basis for awarding teachers the leap in professional standing that tenure represents. Although the state directly connects evaluation ratings to tenure decisions, it may want to reconsider its policy of focusing on only one rating and instead examine cumulative evidence when making decisions regarding tenure.
Arizona recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.