Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.
South Carolina does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Teachers in South Carolina are awarded tenure automatically after a two-year probationary period, absent an additional process that evaluates cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness.
South Carolina Code of Laws 59-26-40 South Carolina DOE ADEPT guidelines, pp. 63-64 http://www.scteachers.org/adept/evalpdf/adept_guidelines.pdf
End the automatic awarding of tenure.
The decision to grant tenure should be a deliberate one, based on consideration of a teacher's commitment and actual evidence of classroom effectiveness.
Ensure evidence of effectiveness is the preponderant criterion in tenure decisions.
South Carolina 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.
Articulate a process that local districts must administer when deciding which teachers get tenure.
South Carolina should 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.
Require a longer probationary period.
South Carolina should extend its probationary period, ideally to five years. This would allow for an adequate collection of sufficient data that reflect teacher performance.
South Carolina asserted that while it does not technically have tenure, it does transition teachers from an Initial to a Professional certificate. This process is not based on time, but rather on successful demonstration of classroom effectiveness.
The state also contended that it seems contradictory to recommend that tenure be based on classroom success while also recommending a five-year probationary period. "If a teacher has demonstrated effectiveness in three or four years, why should they be subject to this arbitrary time requirement? As we transition away from 'seat time' for students, we should do the same for teachers."
The problem is not that effective teachers are subjected to arbitrary time requirements, but that early timelines offer professional status quickly to teachers who have not demonstrated classroom effectiveness. A system where the most outstanding teachers can earn tenure more quickly would be quite reasonable, provided the decision was based primarily on evidence of classroom effectiveness.