Special Report

Tenure Rules Tightened as Md. Gears Up for Race to Top Bid

By Catherine Gewertz — April 20, 2010 1 min read

| MARYLAND | With its eye on a potential $250 million in federal aid under the Race to the Top school improvement initiative, the Maryland legislature has approved a measure requiring that new public school teachers put in three years, instead of two, before they can earn tenure. The measure also calls for incorporating student-achievement data into evaluations of teachers and principals, though it does not specify how much weight that information would carry in evaluations.

Maryland did not apply in the first round of competition for Race to the Top grants, which are financed with economic-stimulus money. But the state is planning to submit a proposal for the second round of federal grants, scheduled to go out in September. It is in hopes of a favorable review in that round that Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed the tenure and testing bill to the 2010 session of the legislature, which concluded last week.

Gov. Martin O’Malley
33 Democrats
14 Republicans
104 Democrats
37 Republicans

In addition to extending the time before tenure, the measure provides more mentoring and professional development for teachers who risk being denied tenure. It also has a provision that would create stipends for teachers and principals in high-poverty, low-performing schools, contingent upon winning Race to the Top money. Gov. O’Malley is expected to sign the bill in May.

The legislature also approved a measure related to the Race to the Top’s emphasis on having good student data to guide decisionmaking. That measure would incorporate longitudinal data from all levels of education, as well as entry-level workforce data, into one system.

Lawmakers extended a requirement that school districts submit “master plans” describing how they will improve student achievement and close achievement gaps. They also approved a requirement that each local superintendent certify that the state’s financial-literacy curriculum is being taught. Those measures also await the governor’s signature.

The $13.1 billion budget adopted by the legislature for fiscal 2011 includes $5.7 billion for precollegiate education, 3.4 percent more than the budget adopted for fiscal 2010.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 21, 2010 edition of Education Week as Tenure Rules Tightened as Maryland Gears Up for Race to the Top Bid