Greenwich Education Association head Cathy Delehanty says teacher tenure is commonly misunderstood and does not mean that seniority always rules.
Connecticut is a fair-dismissal state, she says. Once you get tenure, you are not guaranteed your job for life. You still have to be able to live up to the district's expectations. If you don't, there is the process where you are moved out of the district, whether it be an agreement or a termination."
In Connecticut, tenure only protects teachers from actions such as dismissal to eliminate employees at the top of the salary scale, Delehanty says.
Last year, a new teacher evaluation system went into effect. Delehanty says it looks at all aspects of teaching, such as how teachers prepare and execute lesson plans, student interest and organization. She says one concern among teachers is that many of them have been classified average. Delehanty says the teachers disagree with that assessment and the teachers union is trying to create a different mindset for evaluations.
"It can be like putting on a new pair of shoes. We're working out the kinks as far as what's effective, what's not effective, what's taking too much time, what we can streamline, is it supporting teachers?" said Delehanty. "The goal is to have teachers continue to grow professionally and give them the support and professional learning for that to happen."
Have you or do you know a teacher who has been affected by the new evaluation system? Leave a comment below or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.