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Transforming the Pool of Tenured Teachers in Tennessee

In 2012, Tennessee proposed numerous changes to its teacher tenure process as part of its Race to the Top grant. The primary thrust of this reform was to ensure that, going forward, tenure was granted to educators based on effectiveness as established by the state's educator evaluation system. This brief examines how the pool of eligible teachers changed after the implementation of tenure reform in Tennessee.  

 

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Key Findings
  • The total number of newly tenured teachers substantially decreased after the tenure reforms took effect.

  • The average performance of newly tenured teachers was higher after tenure reform. 

  • The demographic composition of tenure-eligible teachers remained stable after tenure reform.

  • The proportion of newly tenured teachers from low-performing and high-poverty schools decreased in the post-reform years. 
Methods

This analysis examines changes in the tenure-eligible teacher pool in Tennessee using data from 2004-05 through 2014-15 school years. We then identify teachers eligible for tenure based on the number of years they taught and their level of effectiveness ratings. In addition, we also use TVAAS index scores to measure teacher effectiveness. To explore characteristics of newly tenured teachers, we use a regression-based approach to see if differences across years are significant from their values in 2010-11, the year prior to tenure reform. 

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