Tenure laws are “not a gift to teachers,” Richard Casagrande, a lawyer for New York State United Teachers, told the court. “These laws empower teachers to teach well.”
Jay Lefkowitz, representing nine families organized by Partnership for Educational Justice, said granting tenure after three probationary years was like a “rubber stamp” because so few were denied it, and three years was too short a time to tell who deserved the benefit.
He cited a study finding that from 2004 to 2008, legal proceedings to dismiss an ineffective teacher spanned an average of 830 days and cost an average of $313,000.
“Our statutes create a Rube Goldberg-esque system” where it’s nearly impossible to fire a teacher, he said.
Mr. Casagrande said that data was obsolete because the state revised its laws for evaluating teachers in 2012, and created an expedited process for hearing incompetency cases.
With the changes made to the teacher evaluation law and the expedited process for hearings put into place in 2012, it's difficult to see how the anti-tenure forces win a court case on tenure here.
If Cuomo and Tisch get some of the "reforms" they want on teacher evaluations and (including automatically pulling teachers with two consecutive "ineffective" ratings out of the classroom and an expedited incompetency firing process as a result of two consecutive "ineffective" ratings), it further undermines the anti-tenure court case.
And then there's this:
Lawyers for the city and state asked the justice to dismiss the case, saying it was up to the Legislature to revise tenure laws, the plaintiffs had shown no direct injuries caused by bad teachers, and plaintiffs hadn’t described any remedies.
Further, Janice Birnbaum, a lawyer for New York City, said the plaintiffs hadn’t been joined by representatives of all of the nearly 700 districts statewide that would be affected by a change in tenure laws.
I'm not a lawyer, but from the perspective of a layman looking at the case, it seems a little messy on the anti-tenure side.