NewsHour Weekend’s story on parents in New York filing a lawsuit opposing the state’s teacher tenure laws — spurred by the success of a similar lawsuit in California — tells the story of just one battle in a war being waged across the country.
Dozens of states have changed their tenure laws in the last few years. The Education Commission of the States found that as of 2011, 18 state legislatures had modified their tenure laws and that trend continues.
In 2011, Florida eliminated continuing contracts for teachers. South Dakota got rid of tenure for new hires but will grandfather those hired until 2016 into the previous tenure system. Idaho gave school districts the option of forgoing tenure, but voters overturned that decision in a referendum.
The Education Commission of the states keeps a database on its website to inform teachers, parents, administrators and legislators of changes and the status of related lawsuits.
In 2012, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spearheaded a sweeping reform to the state education system which would make it harder to earn and retain tenure.
“It is clear that (the law) does not provide for a full and fair or ‘elaborate’ post-termination due process hearing before a credible, objective, independent, hearing body,” according to Judge Benjamin Jones’ ruling in the case of Monroe City School Board vs. DeAnne Williams.
In October, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the proposed changes to the Louisiana teacher tenure law.
In May, however, in North Carolina, a judge struck down a law that would eliminate teacher tenure.
For more information on teacher tenure laws in your state:
- National Center for Education Statistics
- Pro/Con Teacher Tenure
- Teach.org: State Licensing Requirements
- National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
Watch the report on the California student’s lawsuit: