2010 State Teacher Policy Yearbook Blueprint for Change

National Council on Teacher Quality, via email:

Most states’ evaluation, tenure and dismissal policies remain disconnected from classroom effectiveness.

  • Teacher evaluation is a critical attention area in 42 states because the vast majority of states do not ensure that evaluations, whether state or locally developed, preclude teachers from receiving satisfactory ratings if those teachers are found to be ineffective in the classroom. In addition, the majority of states still does not require annual evaluations of all veteran teachers, and most still fail to include any objective measures of student learning in the teacher evaluations they do require.
  • In 46 states, teachers are granted tenure with little or no attention paid to how effective they are with students in their classrooms. While there are a few states that have vague requirements for some consideration of evidence, and a few others that promise that teacher evaluations will “inform” tenure decisions, only Colorado, Delaware, Oklahoma and Rhode Island demand that evidence of student learning be the preponderant or decisive criterion in such decisions.
  • Dismissal is a critical attention area in 46 states. There are at least two state leaders taking this issue head on. In Oklahoma, recent legislation requires that tenured teachers be terminated if they are rated “ineffective” for two consecutive years, or rated as “needs improvement” for three years running, or if they do not average at least an “effective” rating over a five-year teaching period. In Rhode Island, 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.