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: Kentucky does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Basis for Tenure: Kentucky awards tenure automatically after the probationary period; it is not based on an additional process that evaluates cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Kentucky Revised Statute 161.740(1)(b)
Ensure that tenure decisions are based on evidence of effectiveness.
Kentucky 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.
Kentucky offered the following language from KRS 161.740 (1)(b), which states: When a currently employed teacher is reemployed by the superintendent after teaching four (4) consecutive years in the same district, or after teaching four (4) years which shall fall within a period not to exceed six (6) years in the same district, the year of present employment included, the superintendent shall issue a written continuing contract if the teacher assumes his or her duties, except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, and the superintendent shall notify the board of the action taken.
The state added that although it does not mandate tenure decisions be based on cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness in the classroom, districts utilize multiple evidences to offer a continuing contract.
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.