Blankenship, Ann Elizabeth
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Teacher tenure regulations have been a part of the American elementary and secondary education system for over 100 years. By the late 1960s, nearly all states offered some sort of employment protection to their teachers, either in the form of formal tenure laws or automatically renewing contract policies. While there have been isolated challenges to tenure for K-12 public school teachers in the past, recent events have made it possible for the theoretical debate over tenure to turn into a large scale reform movement. For example, between 2008 and the end of June, 2012, 24 states made substantive changes to their teacher tenure laws and an additional 11 states had proposed legislation pending. Using a legal scholarship framework, this study reviews the teacher tenure laws from the 50 states and the District of Columbia and accompanying news reports in order to identify the legislative changes that have been made in each state. The legislative data are organized by similarities in legislative change, providing categorizations and sub-categorizations of change. The study also provides a typography of legislative change based on state geography, collective bargaining status, and Race to the Top application and award status. Chapter 3 of the study incorporates a modified version of Kingdon's Multiple Streams framework to analyze the political, economic, and social the external factors contributing to state level tenure reform. The legislative and contextual findings are used in considering how the teacher tenure reform movement will impact the teaching profession, teachers' employment rights, education law, and education policy.