Research

Teachers matter: Just one year with a great teacher gives students a better chance to graduate from college, earn a higher salary, and save for retirement. It even makes them less likely to become teenage parents. (The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood. Chetty, Friedman, Rockoff, 2011.)

Schools can accurately identify their most and least effective teachers: Using multiple measures of performance—including classroom observations and students’ progress on standardized tests—schools can accurately identify teachers who help their students learn the most, and those who struggle to help students learn at all. (Ensuring Fair and Reliable Measures of Effective Teaching. MET Project, 2013.)

Low-income students get less effective teachers: Disadvantaged students receive less effective teaching, on average, compared with other students. In other words, the students who need great teachers the most are least likely to get them. (Access to Effective Teaching for Disadvantaged Students. Mathematica Policy Research / U.S. Department of Education, November 2013.)

Quality-blind layoffs can cost students entire months of learning: When schools lay off teachers based on seniority instead of performance, they lose better teachers and keep less effective teachers more than 80 percent of the time. This approach ends up costing students between 2.5 and 3.5 months of learning every year. (Teacher Layoffs: An Empirical Illustration of Seniority v. Measures of Effectiveness. Donald Boyd et al., 2010. Assessing the Determinants and Implications of Teacher Layoffs. Dan Goldhaber et al., 2010.)

Antiquated laws decide whether or not ineffective teachers stay or go – a process that is not in favor of students:  While teachers are legally entitled to due process to protect them from unfair dismissal and unjustifiable accusations of inadequate performance, the current system goes far beyond that, prioritizing the rehabilitation of ineffective teachers over ensuring adequate teaching for children. Fixing the broken teacher dismissal system is not the solution to fixing our schools, but it is a problem that urgently needs to be addressed. (Tenured Teacher Dismissal in New York: Education Law § 3020-a “Disciplinary procedures and penalties.”  Katharine B. Stevens, Ph. D., 2014.)

Schools need to keep the right teachers: Schools across the country keep too few of their best teachers and too many of their least effective teachers. As a result, too many students miss out on the opportunity to learn from a great teacher. (The Irreplaceables. TNTP, 2012.)

How to achieve a more balanced tenure system without stripping teachers of due process: Reforming teacher tenure doesn’t mean ending it. We believe this is an important step in putting the focus where it should be – on kids – while helping hard-working teachers and keeping them in classrooms. (Rebalancing Teacher Tenure: A Post-Vergara Guide for Policymakers. TNTP, 2014.)