ERIC Number: ED555545
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Tenured Teacher Dismissal in New York: Education Law § 3020-a "Disciplinary Procedures and Penalties." Working Paper 2014-1
Stevens, Katharine B.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The two recently-filed New York lawsuits claiming that teacher tenure laws violate children's constitutional right to a "sound basic education" are finally dragging the long-obscure Section 3020-a of the state's Education Law into the spotlight. This attention is badly overdue because for decades § 3020-a has impeded efforts to ensure a minimum competence level among New York's teachers. Section 3020-a is a 3,000-word section of New York's Education Law, entitled "Disciplinary Procedures and Penalties," which mandates that tenured teachers can be dismissed only after just cause has been established through statutorily-prescribed administrative hearings. Teachers are evaluated in their schools under the Annual Professional Performance Review, the state's high-profile new evaluation system. But decisions on whether poorly-performing teachers stay or go are still made according to the decades-old § 3020-a law. This report presents analysis of the official decisions filed at the conclusion of § 3020-a hearings for New York City teachers from July 1, 1997 through June 30, 2007. It aims to shed light on the role and function of § 3020-a, to further public awareness of the law's impact on New York's schools, and to promote wider debate around how to fix it. The report presents Key findings, and concludes that while teachers are legally entitled to due process to protect them from unfair dismissal and unjustifiable accusations of inadequate performance, the current system goes far beyond that, prioritizing the rehabilitation of ineffective teachers over ensuring adequate teaching for children. Fixing the broken § 3020-a system is not "the" solution to fixing the schools, but it is a problem that urgently needs to be addressed. The report includes two appendices: (I) Obtaining § 3020-a Decisions and (II) Convictions & Penalties for § 3020-a Cases (July 1 1997-June 30, 2007).
Descriptors: Teacher Dismissal, Tenure, Teacher Evaluation, Teacher Discipline, Case Studies, Hearings, Educational Legislation, State Legislation, School Law, Decision Making, Teacher Attendance, Antisocial Behavior, Verbal Communication, Punishment, Elementary School Teachers, Middle School Teachers, Secondary School Teachers
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site: http://www.aei.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York