Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness. This goal remains unchanged in 2021.
Link to Evidence of Effectiveness: Texas does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Basis for Tenure: Texas awards tenure automatically after the probationary period; it is not based on an additional process that evaluates cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness.
Texas Education Code 21.102 and 21.153
Ensure that tenure decisions are based on evidence of effectiveness.
Texas should make cumulative evidence of effectiveness, rather than number of years in the classroom, the basis for awarding teachers the leap in professional standing that tenure represents.
Texas asserted that it does not characterize its term or continuing contracts as "tenure" given that teachers can be terminated or non-renewed for a host of reasons, including performance, while on a term or other nonprobationary contract. "We do not see 'tenure' for K-12 teachers as a concept recognized under Texas law."
For the purposes of this goal, the term "tenure" refers to the point at which a teacher is granted nonprobationary or continuing contract status.
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.