The Louisiana legislature’s move to weaken teacher tenure in 2012 led to the loss of up to 1,700 public school teachers over the next two years, according to a study by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University.
Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, Louisiana teachers could only earn tenure after getting a “highly effective” rating on their evaluations for five of six consecutive years. Even if a teacher earned tenure under this new system, it could be revoked with one “ineffective” rating, which means that no Louisiana teachers enjoy permanent job protections, according to the study’s authors.
The teachers who left in the two years that followed did not do so because of low ratings on evaluations, since those wouldn’t have been available until 2014, say the study’s authors. More likely, teachers viewed the changes to tenure, a benefit they highly regarded, as a loss in job value and headed for the door, according to the report. The numbers of teachers exiting was highest in the schools with the lowest test scores.
The authors could not determine from their data whether the teachers leaving were effective or not. But they warn districts looking to eliminate tenure to consider the negative effect that teacher exits could have on student achievement.
A version of this article appeared in the March 08, 2017 edition of Education Week as Teachers