Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Link to Evidence of Effectiveness: Pennsylvania does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Basis for Tenure: Pennsylvania awards tenure automatically after the probationary period; it is not based on an additional process that evaluates cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Pennsylvania Public School Code of 1949, Art. XI, 11-1108 (b)(2)
End the automatic awarding of tenure.
Pennsylvania should deliberately base its decision to grant tenure on actual evidence of a teacher's classroom effectiveness.
Ensure that evidence of effectiveness is the determinative factor in tenure decisions.
Pennsylvania should make cumulative evidence of effectiveness, rather than number of years in the classroom, the most significant factor when awarding teachers the leap in professional standing that tenure represents.
Articulate a process that local districts must administer when deciding which teachers get tenure.
Pennsylvania should require a clear process, such as a hearing, to ensure that the local district reviews a teacher's performance before making a tenure determination.
Pennsylvania recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that although state law does not require cumulative evidence for tenure, it does require the superintendent to verify satisfactory service.
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.