Responding to criticism that tenure gives even poor teachers a job for life, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, announced a plan Thursday to overhaul how teachers are evaluated and dismissed.
It would give tenured teachers who are rated unsatisfactory by their principals a maximum of one school year to improve. If they did not, they could be fired within 100 days.
Teacher evaluations, long an obscure detail in an educator’s career, have moved front and center as school systems try to identify which teachers are best at improving student achievement, and to remove ineffective ones.
The issue has erupted recently, with many districts anticipating layoffs because of slashed budgets. Mayors including Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Cory A. Booker of Newark have attacked seniority laws, which require that teacher dismissals be based on length of experience rather than on competency.
Ms. Weingarten has sought to play a major role in changing evaluations and tenure, lest the issue be used against unions to strip their influence over work life in schools — just as Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Ohio are trying to do this week.