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Only 2 percent of eligible teachers are denied tenure outright

For the second year in a row, only about 2 percent of eligible instructors were denied tenure this year, despite administration statements that it was toughening up the tenure-granting process.

Mayor Bloomberg has boasted of his plan to “end tenure as we know it.” Yet, only 42 teachers were denied tenure outright this year, down from 104 in 2011.

About 55 percent of third-year teachers were awarded tenure this year, while 42 percent had their probationary periods extended. These numbers were similar to last year, when 58 percent of eligible teachers were granted tenure and 39 percent had their probations extended.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the reduced tenure awards compared to previous years, combined with high attrition rates for beginning teachers, suggest the Department of Education needs to come up with better methods of helping starting teachers develop their skills.

“The UFT has always supported a rigorous but fair process for the granting of tenure,” he said. “These numbers — combined with the fact that nearly one-third of the teachers hired for the 2008–2009 school year walked out the door before they were even eligible for tenure — demonstrate that the administration has yet to figure out how to provide new teachers with the proper supports that will help them become more successful.”

Many of the extensions that the DOE granted resulted from simple lack of data, according to union officials. Often, principals were new or teachers changed assignments so that school leaders did not have three years of observations completed.

The DOE instructs principals to rate third-year teachers on a four-point scale — highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective — in each of three categories. The categories are classroom observations, their students’ growth in test performance and teachers’ contributions to the school community.

Principals then recommend teachers for tenure to their superintendents, who have the final say.

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