Vergara and the Complexities of Teacher Employment Policies — an ECS Policy Analysis

screenshot-www ecs org 2015-05-27 22-08-09Teacher employment policies — tenure, dismissal and seniority — have been debated for years, but with recent cases playing out in the courts the disputes have been elevated to new levels. What is best for students and teachers is a complex topic with varying view.

This Education Commission of the States policy analysis uses the Vergara case as a means to examine the complexities of teacher employment policies. The report also provides recommendations for policies that offer meaningful alternatives to the all-or-nothing approaches of retaining or eliminating teacher employment protection policies entirely.

“With the attention the Vergara and other similar cases have been receiving nationally, we knew it was important to provide state policymakers with a breakdown of the cases including how teacher employment policies impact teacher and student rights,” said Julie Rowland, a researcher for Education Commission of the States. “Understanding the debates playing out in these cases will help prepare state policymakers for similar discussion in their states.”

Some takeaways from the report:

— By far the most popular probationary period prior to receiving tenure is three years, which is the policy in 32 states.

— Ten states explicitly prohibit the use of seniority in layoff decisions while 11 states require seniority to be the primary factor in those decisions.

— Keeping current tenure laws or abolishing protections altogether represent two policy extremes.

To view the report, please visit: