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Retaining Teacher Talent

Report 3. Convergence and Contradictions in Teachers’ Perceptions of Policy Reform Ideas

What do teachers who perceive themselves to be effective believe will improve overall teacher effectiveness?

Teacher Perceptions of Policy Options

Eliminating Teacher Tenure

What Teachers Say

What Researchers Say

There is no empirical evidence to indicate that eliminating teacher tenure completely is an effective way to improve teacher effectiveness because it has actually never been done. Although there have been no peer-reviewed studies empirically documenting that tenure makes it more difficult for administrators to manage or terminate ineffective teachers, Baratz-Snowden (2009) finds that due process requirements associated with tenure vary widely across states, with some having more burdensome and tortuous requirements than others. As of 2009, 43 states required three or fewer years of experience before being eligible for tenure; five states require four years, and two require five years (National Council on Teacher Quality, 2009); the differences in outcomes of these policies have not been rigorously studied, although a longer probationary period gives administrators more information about a teachers’ track record of effectiveness. Researchers and others are hopeful that making the achievement of tenure a more rigorous process, as it is in Minneapolis, will likely contribute to improved teacher effectiveness (Koppich, 2009; L. Nordgren, personal communication, September 10, 2009).


 

Tying Teacher Rewards to Their Students’Performance

What Teachers Say

What Researchers Say

Although there are numerous efforts under way to tie teacher compensation to student performance, many of these programs are in their infancy, so evidence of their impact on teacher effectiveness and student learning remains sparse but promising (Podgursky & Springer, 2007). Moreover, pay-for-performance programs tend to embody numerous reforms,2 so separating the effects of compensation changes based on student achievement from other changes to teacher support systems is difficult. Nevertheless, there exists limited but growing evidence that pay-for-performance programs are beginning to improve teacher retention (Glazerman, McKie, Carey, 2009; Podgursky & Springer, 2007), especially among teachers who receive a bonus based on their effectiveness (Springer et al., 2009).


 

2 For example, in addition to tying teacher compensation to student learning outcomes and other measures of teacher quality, the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) includes additional job-embedded professional development opportunities for teachers, including mentoring, changes to teacher evaluation processes, and teacher career advancement opportunities (for more information about TAP, see http://www.tapsystem.org/). For another example, the Minnesota Quality Compensation (Q Comp) program requires not only that 60 percent of teacher pay increases be based on measures of student achievement but also that schools provide career ladders and job-embedded professional development opportunities and evaluate teachers using instructional observations and standards-based assessments (for more information, see http://cecr.ed.gov/initiatives/maps/pdfs/CECR_MN_QComp.pdf).

 

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