Teaching Profession

Lawmakers in N.Y. Bar Student Scores in Weighing Tenure

By Michele McNeil — April 22, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

They were hoping to more closely align teacher-tenure decisions with student test scores, but the mayor of New York City and other proponents of that idea got the opposite: a two-year ban.

The New York legislature, as part of its final budget package, approved on April 9 a measure barring for two years school districts’ use of student-performance data to make teacher-tenure decisions. The law also creates a commission that will study the state’s teacher-tenure system.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in New York. See data on New York’s public school system.

In New York, new teachers are on probation for three years before the local school board decides on tenure.

The new law is a major victory for teachers’ unions, which had fought attempts by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to hold teachers more accountable through student test scores. Even former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, had championed the use of test scores in decisions about teachers’ futures. (“Mayor Backs Off Plan for School Funding Method in N.Y.C.,” May 2, 2007.)

It’s also a blow to the state school boards’ association, which was opposed to being told what its members can, and cannot, use to make tenure decisions.

The teachers’ union victory also suggests that new Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, who accepted the ban as part of the budget package, may be more union-friendly than his predecessor. Mr. Spitzer was forced to leave office amid a prostitution scandal. The New York Times reported on April 12 that Gov. Paterson’s father is a lobbyist who has represented teachers’ unions, including the United Federation of Teachers, which represents 200,000 employees in the city’s public school system and helped get the two-year ban approved.

New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi insisted that linking test scores to teacher tenure is a bad idea.

But Mr. Iannuzzi, whose 600,000-member union is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, didn’t completely close the door.

“There clearly is a place for looking at how students perform when we try and determine who should be standing in front of schoolchildren,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the April 23, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession What Happens When Teachers Are Out of Sick Days?
We asked EdWeek's social media followers to share their school policies on COVID-related sick leave. Here’s how they responded. 
Marina Whiteleather
2 min read
Female at desk, suffering from flu symptoms like fever, headache and sore throat at her workplace
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Teaching Profession Explainer: Why Are Chicago Schools, Teachers' Union Fighting?
The issue that caused the most chaos in the roughly 350,000-student district was when and how to revert to remote learning.
3 min read
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and supporters stage a car caravan protest outside City Hall in the Loop, Wednesday evening, Jan. 5, 2022. Chicago school leaders canceled classes in the nation’s third-largest school district for the second straight day after failing to reach an agreement with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols. (Ashlee Rezin /Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Teaching Profession Some Teachers Are Running Out of Sick Days, and Administrators Are Hesitant to Help
With a shortage of substitutes and pressure to stay open, administrators are reluctant to extend paid time off for teachers with COVID.
13 min read
Professional male social distancing or self quarantining inside a coronavirus pathogen.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Teaching Profession Opinion 18 Ways to Improve Teacher Observations
Holding pre- and post-conferences, showing more compassion and less judgment, and organizing peer observations are valuable.
19 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty