Colorado teachers worried about changes to tenure law
DENVER (AP) – Colorado lawmakers are trying to overhaul the state’s teacher tenure system in the final 10 days of the legislative session.
One proposal has passed the Senate and is awaiting a House hearing.
Starting in 2015, teachers who have job protections now could lose them if their students don’t improve for two straight years. Principals would be judged on how their students and teachers are doing and would have to evaluate teachers yearly.
Teachers have been lobbying lawmakers against the bill. While some want to the current evaluation system changed, they worry about being judged by standardized tests and about principals who don’t have enough time to give them feedback.
A look at key parts of Senate Bill 191, which would change teacher and principal evaluations and tenure:
EVALUATIONS: Currently, tenured teachers must receive at least one observation a year and one written evaluation every three years. Principals must receive a written evaluation every three years. The bill would require yearly evaluations. At least 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation would be determined by the academic growth of their students during the school year. At least 50 percent of a principal’s evaluation would be determined by a combination of students’ growth and the effectiveness of the school’s teachers.
TENURE: Technically, under Colorado law, teachers earn what is called non-probationary status which comes with job protections that is similar to tenure after three years in the classroom. Under the bill, teachers would earn tenure protections if they’ve been effective for three straight years. Teachers with tenure could lose that status if their students don’t show progress for two consecutive years.
FORCED PLACEMENT: School districts sometimes force schools to hire tenured teachers who can’t find jobs elsewhere. The bill would end that practice and require that a school’s principal consent to any hires. Teachers who can’t find a job after two hiring cycles would be placed on unpaid leave until they can find an assignment.
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