By Katharine B. Stevens | New York Daily News
“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 that section has played a crucial and underrecognized role in the quality of New York’s teacher workforce for decades.
Written into state law in 1970, entitled “Disciplinary procedures and penalties,” 3020-a specifies that tenured teachers can be terminated only after just cause for dismissal has been established through particular state-run hearing procedures.
Reformers argue that the law shields the jobs of chronically ineffective and even dangerous teachers. Opponents of the recent lawsuits, on the other hand, maintain that it simply provides teachers with due process prior to termination, protecting competent teachers from arbitrary firings, nepotism and vindictive principals.”