Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2007
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Implementation of New Law on Teacher Tenure Determinations
November 27, 2007
Issue for Information and Discussion
This item provides the Board the status of the Department’s progress in the preparation of implementing Rules for tenure determinations as required by the new statutory language in §3012-b of the Education Law as added by Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007.
Reason(s) for Consideration
Required by State statute and review of policy.
This issue is before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee for informational purposes and conceptual endorsement for draft Regents Rules we plan to bring to the Board of Regents in March 2008.
Staff have had initial conversations with a number of interested parties concerning the drafting of Regents Rules to implement Chapter 57. They include:
- New York State Council of School Superintendents
- School Administrators Association of New York State
- New York State School Personnel Administrators
- Council of School Supervisors and Administrators – New York City
- Conference of Big 5 School Districts
- New York City Department of Education
- New York State United Teachers
- New York State School Boards Association
Following conversations with interested parties, this item was prepared, in advance of the drafting of formal regulations, to describe the conceptual approach to establishing the minimum standards and procedures for teacher tenure determinations made on or after July 1, 2008 as required by law. There were some common themes heard as we conferred with the leadership of the organizations noted. The following is a brief summary of the various perspectives shared:
- Districts should have performance evaluation procedures in place under SED regulations for the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR).
- Any implementing rules should be streamlined to avoid complicated procedural requirements.
- Local districts need the flexibility provided by the statute to consider items beyond the three listed in the statute.
- Assessments of student performance data mentioned in the statute should be broadly defined.
- There is a professional development need for current teachers and principals in the area of the analysis of student performance data (with a similar need to insure this training occurs in teacher preparation programs).
- The building principal or administrator is central to the tenure evaluation process for teachers.
- Many concerns were expressed about the viability of peer review in the tenure determinations process (selection of reviewers, confidentiality, training, etc.).
- Changes in the terms of probation for new teachers would be better made at the beginning of the probationary period.
Chapter 57 requires an evaluation of all relevant factors prior to a tenure recommendation, including an evaluation of the candidate’s effectiveness over the applicable probationary period, or over three years in the case of a regular substitute with a one-year probationary period, in contributing to the successful academic performance of his or her students.
This would align the Regents Rules with the statutory requirements (see attached statute) and require use of the Annual Professional Performance Review which has been a regulatory requirement since 2000. Also, since the Rule will only define the minimum standards, districts continue to have the option to develop local standards.
Accordingly, it is recommended that the Rule establish a process for evaluation of a candidate for tenure that would include, but not be limited to:
- evaluation of the extent to which the teacher successfully utilized analysis of available student performance data and other relevant information when providing instruction;
- peer review by other teachers, as far as practicable; and
- an assessment of the teacher’s performance by the teacher’s building principal or other building administrator in charge of the school or program, with consideration of the Annual Professional Performance Review criteria set forth in §100.2(o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations.
Consistent with the statute, the proposed Rule would permit the consideration of locally developed standards. However, this approach would not prescribe the types of locally developed standards designed to measure a teacher’s effectiveness in contributing to the successful academic performance of his or her students. Such standards may or may not be mandatory subjects of collective bargaining. That decision will depend on the facts of each case.
New York State public school districts have engaged in thoughtful, focused evaluation of the quality of instruction of their teaching staff through the Annual Professional Performance Review processes, in place since 2000. This requirement emerged from the 1998 Regents report on teaching entitled Teaching to Higher Standards: New York’s Commitment, as one of several elements introduced to promote consistent teaching quality across the State. Districts were called upon to review their teacher evaluation processes, re-design where needed, and file District Professional Performance Review Plans. A district must include in its Professional Performance Review Plan:
- Criteria for evaluating teachers;
- Assessment approaches;
- Teacher improvement plans; and
- Training in performance evaluation
The element of this regulation particularly germane to the statutory intent of the new tenure section of Education Law is the criteria upon which all districts must evaluate teachers in their employ. The existing APPR regulation includes, but does not limit the factors to, the following:
- Content knowledge
- Preparation of instruction
- Instructional delivery
- Classroom management
- Knowledge of student development
- Student assessment
- Reflective and responsive practice
These areas were selected after extensive review of national and state performance standards for teachers available when the annual professional performance review regulation was in development, beginning with standards for teachers adopted and disseminated by the Board of Regents in its 1998 teaching report. The New York State teacher performance evaluation standards were crafted after careful review by the Regents of teacher standards and principles from national entities concerned with teacher quality, such as the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), which awards National Board Certification to teachers upon successful completion of a rigorous assessment process. In 1998-99, a cross-functional group of Department staff charged with constructing the regulatory language for this requirement began its work of identifying the evaluation criteria. They began with the above-mentioned New York State teacher standards established in policy by the Board of Regents. The workgroup also reviewed and considered the INTASC and NBPTS national standards, as well as research-based teacher effectiveness and assessment principles and frameworks, including Charlotte Danielson’s 1996 work, Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching.
Department staff with experience in teacher assessment contributed expertise in identification and development of staff evaluation criteria and procedures. The workgroup also sought advice from experienced local practitioners of teacher supervision and staff development by a review of a sampling of local district contractual evaluation procedures. The sample selection was based on districts’ successful and proactive efforts with teachers’ professional development. The proposed annual professional performance review language was filtered through the “lens” of the goal of effective teaching - student achievement. To that end, the New York State Learning Standards and the federal SCANS* listing of skills our young people need to succeed in the working world were among documents employed in choosing essential factors/areas to be assessed by employing districts throughout the candidate’s development as a teacher.
We recommend that the carefully developed evaluation criteria, so clearly linked with the outcome of successful teacher practice and student achievement already contained in the Department’s annual professional performance review, be the core of the evaluation process for pre-tenured teachers. To be consistent with the new statute, we recommend a minor adjustment in the “student assessment” factor to explicitly mention the teacher’s use of student performance data to inform future instruction. As stated earlier, this approach also allows individual districts to identify other relevant factors that impact student learning for consideration in making tenure determinations.
One of the concerns expressed by interested parties in the course of consultation with Department staff was the current mentoring programs and the confidentiality of the mentoring process. Parties were concerned that this confidentiality be maintained and that the mentor would not be forced to become a part of the tenure decision process. Current Department Regulations [§100.2(dd)(2)(iv)(d)] make it clear that the mentoring process is not part of the tenure evaluation process unless the school district and the collective bargaining agent have negotiated a mentoring system with that as an agreed-upon purpose. Accordingly, staff believe there are already protections in current regulation so as not to disrupt the confidentiality of mentoring relationships.
In addition, with the approval of the Regents, the Department will be seeking a legislative amendment to adjust the implementation of the new statute. Such an amendment would make the new tenure procedures adopted under this statute affect teachers whose probationary period commences on or after July 1, 2008, to avoid disruption and possible inequity in tenure appointments for those teachers whose probationary periods are already underway. The current wording in the statute would make the new Regents Rules applicable to teachers who may be several years into their probationary period. All interested parties with whom staff consulted were supportive of such an amendment.
If the direction described above is acceptable to the Committee, staff will proceed to draft Regents Rules consistent with this approach and seek public comment.
Timetable for Implementation
Based upon feedback from the Board’s review and discussion of the proposed direction for the implementing rule, Department staff will develop and share draft rules with interested parties for public comment. After the benefit of further public comment, the Department plans to bring the draft Rules back to the Board for discussion at its March 2008 meeting.
Education Law §3012-b as added by § 9 of Part A of Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007
§ 3012-b. Tenure determinations. 1. The regents shall promulgate rules establishing minimum standards and procedures for tenure determinations for members of the teaching staff of all school districts and boards of cooperative educational services made on or after July first, two thousand eight. Such rules shall require a superintendent of schools or district superintendent of schools, prior to recommending tenure, to evaluate all relevant factors, including the candidate's effectiveness over the applicable probationary period, or over three years in the case of a regular substitute with a one-year probationary period, in contributing to the successful academic performance of his or her students, using a process that complies with subdivision two of this section.
2. The process for evaluation of a candidate for tenure shall be conducted in the manner prescribed in the regents' rules and shall include, but need not be limited to, a combination of: a. evaluation of the extent to which the teacher successfully utilized analysis of available student performance data and other relevant information when providing instruction;
b. peer review by other teachers, as far as practicable; and
c. an assessment of the teacher's performance by the teacher's building principal or other building administrator in charge of the school or program.
3. The trustees and board of education of every school district and every board of cooperative educational services, and the chancellor of a city school district of a city with a population of one million or more shall, consistent with existing contractual provisions, make any changes in local rules, regulations, policies and procedures that are necessary to ensure that tenure determinations made on or after July first, two thousand eight shall be made in compliance with this section.
Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS)