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: Florida only awards annual contracts to new teachers. To be awarded an annual contract (nonprobationary status), a probationary teacher must not have received any of the following evaluation ratings: two consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of unsatisfactory, two annual performance evaluation ratings of unsatisfactory within a three-year period, or three consecutive annual performance evaluation ratings of needs improvement or a combination of needs improvement and unsatisfactory. Further, a district is prohibited from renewing an annual contract for a nonprobationary teacher if he or she receives any of the evaluation ratings described above.
Basis for tenure: Florida has functionally eliminated tenure because it only awards annual contracts. The state's teacher evaluation ratings include objective measures of student growth; therefore, classroom effectiveness is considered when making contract decisions.
Florida Statute 1012.335
As a result of Florida's strong tenure policies, no recommendations are provided.
Florida 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.