The State of Teacher Tenure
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:
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.
Gov. Arne Carlson proposed to "loosen teacher tenure" in his January State of the State Address, but lawmakers did not vote on the idea.
A bill to phase out tenure protections has been introduced in the legislature but was amended substantially in the House and referred to committee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lawmakers last year passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Alberta Darling to repeal a decades-old tenure law covering teachers in Milwaukee County.
Vol. 15, Issue 30, Page 15Published in Print: April 17, 1996, as The State of Teacher Tenure