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Republican governors looking at tenure

Published February 1, 2011 4:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

According to this New York Times article today, a number of Republican governors across the country are calling for the elimination of tenure. In Utah, some lawmakers are taking up similar issues.

In Utah, teachers don't have "tenure" but after three to five years in the classroom administrators decide whether to give them career status. Before Utah teachers earn career status they're considered provisional meaning they can be fired at the end of the school year without explanation. Once they gain career status they can only be fired after a more extensive due process.

Sen. Howard Stephenson is working on a bill that would make it so teachers could lose their career status if they consistently fail over time to produce adequate growth in student progress. In a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll, 69 percent of those surveyed said they'd support "changing the law to make it easier to fire teachers whose students consistently fail to make adequate academic progress."

Stephenson has said its vital children have effective teachers every year and poorly performing teachers should not be protected by career status. When I talked to UEA president Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh about it last month she said procedures already exist for dismissing teachers, and those should be locally controlled.