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PR- 273-11
July 27, 2011


New, Evidence-Based Framework Is Part of Raising Standards for Teachers and Increasing Accountability in Our Schools

58% of This Year’s Eligible Teachers Were Granted Tenure, Compared to 97% in 2007

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that, since the City issued a new framework for measuring teacher effectiveness in December, an analysis of this year’s tenure decisions shows that principals adopted a more rigorous approach, resulting in fewer tenure approvals. For the 5,209 teachers who received decisions this year, 58 percent were approved for tenure, compared to 97 percent in 2006-07. For 42 percent of teachers, principals recommended delaying or denying tenure decisions, concluding that there was not enough evidence to warrant granting those teachers lifetime employment; in 2006-07, just 3 percent received similar denials or extensions. Of the 42 percent, 39 percent of teachers had their tenure decision extended, and 3 percent were denied. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at Tweed Courthouse. 

“Every child deserves a great teacher, and in New York City, we are lucky to have many of them,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “But just as we are committed to raising standards for our students, we are also raising standards for our teachers. Making tenure an earned distinction rather than an automatic right will help our teachers get better and ensure that more of them can develop into not just good but great teachers. That’s what our kids deserve and our parents expect.” 

“Our schools really embraced the idea that lifetime tenure should be an honor reserved for our most effective teachers, not granted by default,” said Chancellor Walcott. “I am confident this system will benefit both our teachers, through regular feedback and opportunities to improve, and our kids, who all deserve a high-quality teacher in the classroom.” 

In September 2010, in a keynote address at NBC’s Education Nation summit, Mayor Bloomberg vowed to end automatic tenure. Following the Mayor’s speech, the Department of Education developed and issued a new framework that requires principals to provide a detailed rationale for their tenure recommendations. The new policy instructs principals to make tenure recommendations based on three categories: higher standards of teacher practice, evidence of student learning and contributions to the school community. On each of these three categories, teachers are given a rating on a four-point scale – ineffective, developing, effective or highly effective. In order to be recommended for tenure, teachers must be rated either effective or highly effective in all three categories for at least two consecutive years. Principals rate teachers based on evidence from classroom observations, quality of student work, progress on state assessments, attendance, and student and parent feedback, among other measures. Special consideration was given to gains demonstrated with high-need populations, including students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students who are over-age and under-credited. 

In New York City, a teacher who has completed his or her “probationary period,” or first three years of teaching, is eligible for tenure review, per state law. 5,707 teachers were up for tenure review this year. 342 of those teachers went on leave or had a license change whereby their tenure decision was pushed out to a later date. 129 separated from the system all together.  And 27 still have pending decisions. Of the remaining 5,209:

  • 58% of teachers had their tenure decisions approved this year, compared to 97% in 2007.
  • 39% of teachers had their tenure decision extended this year, compared to 2% in 2007.
  • 3% of teachers had their tenure decisions denied, compared to 1% in 2007.


Stu Loeser / Julie Wood   (212) 788-2958

Natalie Ravitz / Matt Mittenthal (Education)   (212) 374-5141


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