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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Report: Florida has low rate for dismissing tenured teachers



Florida school districts dismiss more teachers than the national average during their probationary periods but far less than the national average after they've earned tenure, according to a new national report that calls for tenure reform.

The average dismissal rate among Florida school districts during the 3-year probationary period is 0.9 percent, while the average national rate is 0.7 percent, according to 2007-08 data gathered by the Center for American Progress. The average dismissal rate for tenured teachers in those districts, meanwhile, is 0.4 percent, compared to a national average rate of 1.4 percent.

The report is worth a look for two reasons: 1) the Florida Legislature is expected to tackle tenure again this year, and from what we're hearing, it's not as likely to get bogged down in the Senate like it did last year; and 2) the Center for American Progress is a left-leaning think tank, which will give Republican lawmakers more cover to claim that tenure reform is really a bipartisan issue.

The report touches on the history of tenure reform efforts in several states, including Florida, and offers a list of recommendations. Among them:

* The federal government should continue pushing for better teacher evaluation systems, which the center says is "an essential precondition for effective tenure reform."

* States should change their tenure laws to make "teacher effectiveness data" (read: student test score gains) part of retention and dismissal decisions.

* Teachers unions should "embrace efforts to streamline the removal process for ineffective teachers and only contest those dismissals that clearly violated due process or were unsubstantiated by the teacher evaluation process."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:50am]


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