After New York City encouraged principals to be more deliberative in awarding tenure, ineffective teachers were more likely to leave schools or the profession voluntarily—to the benefit of students, according to a recently released working paper.
Even though the overall percentage of teachers actually denied tenure did not change much, the more-rigorous process appears to have reshaped the workforce—suggesting that changes in practice rather than underlying tenure laws, may bear fruit, said Susanna Loeb, a Stanford University professor and one of the study's authors.
'Within current tenure laws, there's quite a bit of flexibility that districts aren't using in order to improve their workforce. This did not require a change in the law; it simply required a change in practice,' Loeb said. 'It wasn't necessarily greeted warmly by everyone involved, but you didn't need a court case or legislative change to change practice, and I think that's true in a number of places.'