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50-State Comparison: Teacher Tenure / Continuing Contract Policies (archive)

Education Commission of the States has researched teacher tenure / continuing contract policies in all states to provide this comprehensive resource. Click on the questions below for 50-state comparisons showing how all states approach specific policies. Or, choose to view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

Key Takeaways

  • Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and Idaho have chosen to repeal tenure outright, phase out tenure or remove due process provisions, though Idaho’s effort to abolish tenure was reversed by its voters.
  • Sixteen states use teachers’ performance ratings as a component of decisions to grant tenure.
  • Seven states require districts to return teachers to probationary status if their performance is rated unsatisfactory.
  • Instead of making lay-off decisions on the basis of tenure status or seniority, 11 states require that teacher performance be the primary consideration. Another state, Washington, adds this requirement in 2015-16. Ten states explicitly prohibit the use of tenure status or seniority.

 50-State Comparisons 

  1. Requirements for earning nonprobationary status
  2. Notification of nonrenewal and hearing
  3. Appeal forum
  4. Other continuing contract provisions forum
  5. Reasons for dismissal
  6. Reduction in force
  7. Last known revision

Related Resources 


May 1, 2014

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