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The State of Teacher Tenure

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Several states have taken up proposals to replace or modify teacher tenure recently but have found it a politically dangerous issue to confront. Among the states taking action on tenure are:

California:

After Gov. Pete Wilson proposed abolishing tenure, the Assembly, the legislature's lower house, this year killed a proposal to replace tenure with renewable five-year credentials. The state school boards' association has recommended extending a teacher's probationary period for tenure from two to four years, as well as other proposals to streamline the dismissal process.

Minnesota:

Gov. Arne Carlson proposed to "loosen teacher tenure" in his January State of the State Address, but lawmakers did not vote on the idea.

North Carolina:

A bill to phase out tenure protections has been introduced in the legislature but was amended substantially in the House and referred to committee.

Ohio:

Gov. George V. Voinovich proposed last year to make it easier to dismiss teachers who failed to improve after a poor evaluation. The governor eventually vetoed an amended version of his proposal, saying the legislative changes made tenure even stronger.

Pennsylvania:

Gov. Tom Ridge last month signed a law extending a teacher's probationary period for tenure from two to three years. The governor also wants to require teachers to get recertified every five years.

South Dakota:

A tenure law passed last year extends a teacher's probationary period from three to four years and limits a teacher's right to appeal a dismissal.

Virginia:

State schools Superintendent William C. Bosher last fall proposed replacing tenure with renewable three- to five-year contracts. The legislature did not act on the proposal this year.

Wisconsin:

Lawmakers last year passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Alberta Darling to repeal a decades-old tenure law covering teachers in Milwaukee County.

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