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: Wisconsin does not articulate a specific tenure policy for its teachers. However, because districts are not limited to only offering annual contracts, the state does not ensure that classroom effectiveness is adequately considered when making contract decisions.
Basis for tenure: Not applicable.
Ensure that tenure decisions are based on evidence of effectiveness.
Wisconsin 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.
Wisconsin recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it does not articulate how local districts make decisions on tenure. "A local district would have plenty of evidence and data to review from the Educator Effectiveness system to make these decisions on an individual basis, should they choose to do so."
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.