All indications suggest that the city is pleased with the results of its concerted effort to make tenure more difficult to receive.
Mayor Bloomberg is announcing details about how many teachers received — or didn’t receive — tenure this year during a midday press conference today at Tweed Courthouse, the Department of Education’s headquarters. In the past, the city has released tenure details by email. The fanfare comes on top of reports from teachers and principals that tenure was awarded far less readily last year after Bloomberg vowed to make the protection tougher to receive.
For many years, receiving tenure has been an almost automatic step that happens at the end of a teacher’s third year in the system. But as part of a sweeping bid to toughen teacher evaluations, the city unveiled a new tenure evaluation rubric last year. The rubric separates teachers into four categories and the city told principals to recommend tenure only for those falling into the top two.
At the end of the year, principals said the new evaluations had made it difficult for them to recommend tenure for some teachers they felt deserved it, particularly if a teacher’s value-added Teacher Data Report, based on student test scores, said he was below average. Many teachers appear to have had their probationary periods extended for an additional year.
Last year, 11 percent of teachers either were denied tenure or had their probations extended, up from 6.6 percent in 2009. Principals say that figure could rise this year.
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“There is more pressure on administrators to have an abundance of evidence, to prove without a shadow of doubt” that a teacher is up to par, Principal Joseph Lisa of PS 61 in Queens told GothamSchools earlier this month.
In recent years, data about tenure recommendations has accompanied details about how many unsatisfactory ratings were handed out during the previous school year. The city has also encouraged principals to rate teachers unsatisfactory more often.