Bloomberg Focuses On Changing The Tenure Rules For Teachers

While taking part of an education series being aired this week on NBC’s Today Show, Mayor Bloomberg proposed a new set of rules for teacher tenure, previously a status designated to teachers after 3 years of service without many exceptions. His aim is to alter what he claims is a culture of ” automatic tenure” for teachers regardless of ability or professional mastery. Mayor Bloomberg went on to say:

“Beginning this year, our policy will be very simple. Only teachers who help students and schools move ahead significantly for at least two consecutive years will earn tenure. And just as we are raising the bar for our students through higher standards, we must also raise the bar for our teachers and principals – and we are.”
According to Gotham Schools all 6300 teachers up for review this year will be placed into a new 4 tier system separated into highly effective, effective, developing, or ineffective. Among the new factors that will be considered during those reviews are student test scores.  Typically the student grades are inserted into a value -added score system currently used to rank teachers based on how their students’ scores on the state’s math and English exams while comparing them to others teaching similar students over several years.
However, the recent test score debacle in the State Department of Ed and protests by respected education advocates such as Diana Ravitch have questioned the validity of these tests and whether teachers should be judged on a flawed system. Despite the controversy around test scores,  supportive statements came from both the national and local teachers unions for a new approach to designating tenure status:
“Let’s create a new evaluation system that focuses on continuous improvement and also teacher performance… If teachers can’t be helped, we have to do something to weed them out of the system.”
– Randi Weingarten,  American Federation of Teachers
“I am glad he is now going to be responsible in the authority that has been granted to him a very long time ago in the tenure law,”
–  Michael Mulgrew, New York City United Federation of Teachers
So what’s next on the do-list for the Education Mayor ? When asked, Bloomberg seemed ready for another crack at changing the ‘last-in, first out’ policy but more on that fight in a future blogpost…..