Tenure : Minnesota

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Tenure : Minnesota results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/MN-Tenure--8

Analysis of Minnesota's policies

Minnesota does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Minnesota has a three-year probationary period. At the conclusion of this period, the school board consults with the peer review committee charged with evaluating the probationary teacher to determine whether to renew the annual contract. The board and an exclusive representative of the teachers in the school district must develop a peer review process for probationary teachers through joint agreement.

Citation

Recommendations for Minnesota

Ensure evidence of effectiveness is the preponderant criterion in tenure decisions.
Minnesota 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.

Require a longer probationary period.
Minnesota should extend its probationary period, ideally to five years. This would allow for an adequate collection of sufficient data that reflect teacher performance. 

State response to our analysis

Minnesota recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

Numerous studies illustrate how difficult and uncommon the process is of dismissing tenured teachers for poor performance. These studies underscore the need for an extended probationary period that would allow teachers to demonstrate their capability to promote student performance.

For evidence on the potential of eliminating automatic tenure, articulating a process for granting tenure, and using evidence of effectiveness as criteria for tenure see D. Goldhaber and M. Hansen, "Assuming the Potential of Using Value-Added Estimates of Teacher Job Performance for Making Tenure Decisions." Center for Reinventing Public Education. (2009).  Goldhaber and Hansen conclude that if districts ensured that the bottom performing 25 percent of all teachers up for tenure each year did not earn it, approximately 13 percent more than current levels, student achievement could be significantly improved. By routinely denying tenure to the bottom 25 percent of eligible teachers, the impact on student achievement would be equivalent to reducing class size across-the-board by 5 students a class.

For additional evidence see Robert Gordon, et al., "Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job," Hamilton Project Discussion Paper, Brookings Institute, March 2006.