The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Oklahoma is on the right track in connecting tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.
The state now requires that "career teachers" have one of the following: a rating of "superior" as measured by the Oklahoma Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation System for two of three years, with no rating below "effective"; or an average rating of at least "effective" for a four-year period, with a rating of at least "effective" for the last two years.
Because Oklahoma's teacher evaluation ratings are centered primarily on evidence of student learning (see Goal 3-B), basing tenure decisions on these evaluation ratings ensures that classroom effectiveness is appropriately considered.
However, the state has created a loophole by essentially waiving these requirements and allowing the principal of a school to petition for career-teacher status, absent the requirements stated above.
Oklahoma Statute 70-6-101.3
Ensure the probationary period is adequate.
To ensure tenure decisions are based on adequate assessment and sufficient evidence of teacher effectiveness in the classroom, Oklahoma should consider extending the time before teachers can earn tenure, making certain that probationary teachers earn at least three consecutive "effective" ratings prior to the award of tenure.
Reconsider waiver of effectiveness requirements at principal request.
It is not unreasonable that Oklahoma wants to build some principal discretion into its tenure process. But rather than waive the effectiveness requirements, the state should consider allowing principals to extend the probationary period for teachers they think warrant further time to develop. This would prevent the dismissal of probationary teachers against principal's judgment while still hold all teachers to the state's standards of effective performance.
Oklahoma was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.