The Department of Education claims it's getting much harder for teachers to earn tenure, but NY1 found that it might just be taking longer. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
It used to be almost automatic: city teachers received tenure - or lifetime job security - after their third year in the classroom.
Two years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a crackdown down and the tenure rate went way down, from 97 percent of third-year teachers in 2007 to 58 percent today.
But the change may not be as big as it appears. Under pressure from City Hall to stop automatically granting tenure, city principals have found a way to hang on to teachers anyway. They've just started postponing the tenure decisions.
Three years ago, principals postponed tenure decisions for only four percent of teachers. This year, that number is up to 40 percent. So although fewer teachers are getting tenure immediately, hardly any are being rejected outright.
Of the teachers who did not get tenure this year, almost all will be up for it again next year. In fact, the percent of third year teachers denied tenure actually went down since last year, from 2.2 percent to 1.9 percent. And many of the teachers who had their decision postponed in 2011 ended up getting tenure this year.
But even if most teachers end up eventually still earning tenure, the New York City Department of Education hopes the threat of not getting it will have motivated them to improve more than they otherwise would have.
"We know some people are going to make it in three years, some people are going to make it in four years," said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the chief academic officer of the DOE. "Some people are never going to make it, and they need to find another profession."
When the mayor first announced the change in policy on national TV in 2010, he said he was ending tenure as we know it. Instead, he may just have delayed it. But the city says that's still an improvement.