Teacher Tenure Rates Down in New York City

“The era of automatic tenure for teachers is over,” according to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, as quoted in a New York Times article that addresses the high standards now required for teachers in New York City public schools to attain tenure.

In order to be eligible for tenure, a teacher must complete three years on the job. This year, under strict standards, only 58% of eligible teachers received tenure. Five years ago, 99% received tenure, “mirroring statistics in school districts around the nation.” That number has begun to change, largely due to increased efforts to judge teachers based on performance rather than longevity.

Principals in New York City are responsible for evaluating teachers using a four-category system. Teachers are rated as highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective. The evaluations are based on “students’ test scores, classroom observations, feedback from parents, and other factors.” Only teachers who prove to be “highly effective” or “effective” are granted tenure. Most others are given another year in which to improve their teaching skills before being reevaluated. This year, a few were denied tenure, forcing them to switch school districts or look for new jobs.

Mayor Bloomberg stated:

“Tenure ought to be reserved for only the best teachers and, unfortunately, as we all know, for far too long, tenure was instead awarded primarily on the basis of longevity. [It was] a joke interpretation of the state law.”

But have these new teacher evaluations helped kids in New York City learn? As of yet, the results of the crackdown are unclear. Some critics claim that the new evaluation system is flawed and caused some teachers to be denied tenure for reasons unrelated to their performance, including failure of the principal to complete a sufficient number of evaluations.

United Federation of Teachers secretary Michael Mendel was one educator to speak out against the changes. He said that while he supports tougher regulations, the New York evaluations are not the answer.

Teachers should be evaluated for effectiveness, but education is complicated. What is the best way to determine whether or not a teacher is competent?

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Photo credit: Antony Adolf via flickr


Clare E.
Clare Canfield5 years ago

Edward W. : Thank you for an excellent comment and the previous one brightened my day.

Edward W.
Edward W.5 years ago

Public school teachers should be evaluated by students, parents and peers. I see nothing wrong with having cameras in the classroom to monitor teachers and students. Reward good teachers with higher salaries based on how much effort they put into their teaching. Fire the lazy, apathetic and psychotic ones. Scrap both the tenure system and the self-serving, politically motivated unions who disingenuously claim "it is all about the children".

Edward W.
Edward W.5 years ago

A lot of people are getting stressed out over the poll question. Look at it this way. The Care2 poll section is automatically set up to ask yes/no questions, not open-ended poll questions. So the writer just decided that in the comments section people could answer the question. Did that require too much creative thinking for you hotheads?

Bernadette P.
Berny p5 years ago

From Catherine....Most parents see the teacher as their own personal babysitter and the pupils think that as the teacher is paid for the job they can do as they like.

I soo agree with you....people have kids but do not want to take responsability for them...teachers,or the state is suppose to do it....

IF YOU WANT KIDS.....YOU TAKE responsability for them...NOT the teachers!

Rea P.
Rea Petersen5 years ago

As to how... Possibly by a group of peers who had been determined to be excellent teachers by students, teachers, parents and admin - not by how many students pass a standard test or who writes a "perfect" lesson plan. Observed in the classroom actually teaching, the amount of actual learning by students and how they progress in later years, parent communications.

Rea P.
Rea Petersen5 years ago

Huh? HOW should we...? I can't answer that yes or no.

caterina caligiuri


J C Bro
J C Brou5 years ago

Maybe principals should go back into the classroom

Ross E.
Ross E.5 years ago

Then there are many of my colleagues who sadly ended up doing what I did...leaving before tenure even could become an issue. Catherine M. (above,) is unfortunately saying what many are feeling these days. To iterate: "Most parents see the teacher as their own personal babysitter and the pupils think that as the teacher is paid for the job they can do as they like.
The day will come when there will be very few teachers, because believe it or not the time and wage is not worth it."

Dan Holoman
Dan Holoman5 years ago

Tenure went out the window with the concept of education has gone awry in the U.S.