Tenure is working in New York state

In New York state, the process has been reformed to be faster and more cost efficient, with most cases now resolved within five months. Meanwhile, New York state’s many safeguards for teacher quality ensure that its teaching force is among the best credentialed, most effective in the nation.
  • New York's teacher tenure law was amended in 2012 to address criticism that hearings took too long and cost too much. Now, all hearings, by law, must be resolved within 155 days from the point in which formal charges are presented against a teacher. The improved tenure law means swifter consequences for anyone who violates public trust. And when school districts misuse the law or bring baseless charges, innocent teachers are being returned to the classroom more swiftly.
  • Teacher discipline hearings are now being completed faster and more cost effectively — typically in five months. State Education Department data confirm the statewide trend: Decisions and settlements in teacher-discipline hearings are being reached faster since the 2012 changes.
  • Teachers' unions do not negotiate tenure. The first tenure statute in New York state was enacted in 1897 — 70 years before public-sector unions had a right to bargain here — in recognition of society’s deep interest in safeguarding its teachers from unfair firing and political pressure.
  • In fact, tenure represents only a small portion of the safeguards and high standards New York state has put in place to ensure a quality teaching force. New York state is widely recognized for its effective and exemplary teachers and has earned high marks for its standards and credentialing requirements — typically ranking among the nation’s top ten.
  • New York state  requires numerous safeguards for ensuring the quality of aspiring teachers as well as seasoned teachers. A teacher must:
    • Be accepted to and graduate from an accredited institution of higher education with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
    • Complete General Core in Liberal Arts and Sciences - 30 Semester Hours
    • Complete Content Core - 30 Semester Hours.
    • Complete Pedagogical Core - 21 Semester Hours
    • Successfully complete 40 days of student teaching:
    • Pass required tests such as:
      • New York State Teacher Certification Exam - Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)
      • New York State Teacher Certification Exam - Educating All Students Test (EAS)
      • edTPA
      • Content Specialty Test (CST)
    • Complete Workshops:
      • Child Abuse Identification
      • School Violence Intervention and Prevention
      • Dignity For All Students Act
    • Pass fingerprint clearance
    • Receive an initial certificate
    • An initial certificate is only valid for five years.  During that time, a teacher must complete the requirements for a:
      • Professional Certificate
      • Successfully complete additional education:
    • Master’s Degree
    • Graduate Coursework Content Core -12 S.H.
    • Three years of paid, full-time Classroom Teaching experience
    • One year of mentored experience
  • After obtaining a professional certificate, teachers must complete 175 hours of professional development every five years in order to maintain a valid teaching certificate.
  • Teachers also undergo an annual professional performance review, including multiple observations by a trained evaluator.
  • Accountability measures include annual release by the State Education Department of report cards publicly documenting performance data for every school in New York state.
  • NYSUT conservatively estimates, based on its member records, that almost one quarter of New York state teachers exit the profession in the first five years — some for personal reasons, many because of the high standards, rigorous requirements and challenging workload for public school teachers. The exit rate for teachers with fewer than five years of experience in 2011-12 was 23 percent— almost one-in-four. That percentage was consistent with the 5-year average (22.2 percent) dating back to the 2007-2008 school year, SED figures show. (New York State Education Department, School Report Card.) These exit rates make it clear that New York state’s high standards include many checkpoints where teachers who can’t make the grade voluntarily exit or are counseled out of the profession. 
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