Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Commendably, Rhode Island has discontinued its policy of automatic tenure. The state now bases the leap in professional standing from probationary to nonprobationary status on evidence of classroom effectiveness.
Teachers who receive two years of ineffective evaluations will be dismissed. Any teacher with five years of ineffective ratings would not be eligible to have his or her certification renewed by the state.
Because Rhode Island'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.
Rhode Island Model Educator Evaluation System http://www.ride.ri.gov/EducatorQuality/EducatorEvaluation/default.aspx
Articulate a process that local districts must administer when deciding which teachers get tenure.
Although Rhode Island has taken important steps to ensure that ineffective teachers are not awarded tenure, the state should still require a clear process, such as a hearing, to ensure that the local district reviews a teacher's performance before making a determination regarding tenure. Without such a process, there is no assurance that teachers with a single "ineffective" rating or multiple "needs improvement" ratings are not awarded tenure automatically.
Rhode Island recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.