The Colorado General Assembly has passed new legislation which includes pretty significant changes to rules governing tenure for K-12 classroom teachers. The bill cites difficulty with removing ineffective teachers as a reason for making these changes. The bill states, “Under Colorado law, a school district is required to enter into a contract with a teacher after three consecutive years of adequate service, giving the teacher tenure or nonprobationary status…nonprobationary status has become a right , and it is nearly impossible to take that status away or remove the teacher from his or her job.” Also, while not stated in the bill, it should be noted that competing for federal funds in the second round of the Race to the Top competition was undoubtedly an impetus for this reform as well.
- probationary (non-tenured) teachers receive at least two documented observations, and one evaluation from which a report is written;
- probationary teachers must have a minimum of three years of continuous service before being considered for tenure; and
- tenured teachers receive at least one documented observation per year and at least one written evaluation every three years.
- probationary teachers’ one evaluation per year must result in a final cumulative written report;
- probationary teachers must have a minimum of five years of continuous service before being considered for tenure;
- non-probationary teachers must be issued five-year contracts to be renewed every five years thereafter, provided the teacher receives a satisfactory final cumulative written evaluation report at the end of the five-year period;
- local boards of education are required to provide written notice to non-probationary teachers whose contracts will not be renewed, and provide him/her with the reasons for contract non-renewal; and probably most significantly,
- probationary teachers must show that they have improved student achievement for three consecutive years to earn tenure, and tenured teachers must show improvement in their students’ achievement for two consecutive years to keep their jobs.