In states where teacher tenures have been rolled back, Van Roekel said teachers have reacted negatively because “they are afraid and they fear bad things will happen to good people.”
Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, said that in California and elsewhere more is known about who is a good teacher in this age of annual testing of students and more robust teacher evaluations. He said he believes that’s spurred the California lawsuit and other movement on the issue. He predicts more states will move toward longer probationary periods to grant tenure and more renewable contracts.
But even as state lawmakers debate the issue, not all are moving forward with change.
Alaska legislators punted on the issue in the state’s most recent session, which ended in April after debate over whether to extend from three years to five years the time it takes to reach tenure status. Much of the pushback came from rural lawmakers concerned it would be difficult to recruit and keep teachers.
In Idaho, lawmakers passed legislation in 2011 that would essentially end teacher tenure. It was later repealed in a public referendum.