NEW YORK – The Partnership for Educational Justice today welcomed Delaine & Roderick Wilson, parents of four daughters, to the lawsuit aimed at reforming New York State’s teacher tenure, dismissal and seniority based lay-off policies. Notably, DeLaine Wilson is a 15-year veteran teacher, having taught in private and traditional public schools in and around Albany.
Mr. & Mrs. Wilson will join eight other families who are challenging state laws that keep ineffective teachers in the classroom, restrict schools from dismissing them and reward seniority over competence.
The Wilsons feel that their teenage daughter is not getting the education she deserves at Albany High School. As a 10th grader, their daughter had several teachers who didn’t provide instruction on a consistent basis and who behaved in ways that expressed disinterest in students or student learning.
“For too long, parents across New York felt that they didn’t have a voice in the future of their child’s education. I am proud to join with brave families like the Wilsons who are standing up and asking for the courts to answer a most basic plea – help kids receive a sound basic education,” said Campbell Brown, Founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice.
“The Partnership for Educational Justice believes in due process and recognizes the tremendous job a majority of teachers do in giving kids a quality education,” said Reshma Singh, Executive Director of PEJ. “However, with so many of our kids failing to achieve their potential, it’s clear that some of the people at the head of the class are not providing effective instruction, and many fellow teachers themselves agree. We proudly welcome DeLaine Wilson, who is the type of teacher we want in all our schools, and her husband and family to this effort.”
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE
Partnership for Educational Justice helps students, families and communities advocate for the great public schools they deserve though coalition building and legal action. All children, no matter their background or circumstance, deserve access to a sound education. The inequalities that exist in our educational system are the civil rights issue of our time. Motivated by a pervasive lack of meaningful progress in ensuring a supportive learning environment for all students, Partnership for Educational Justice challenges antiquated education laws that prevent public schools from providing all students with an excellent education. Targeted litigation will be supported by an aggressive communications campaign at the local, state and national level. Through its work, Partnership for Educational Justice will mobilize families, community stakeholders and organizations to form effective coalitions that increase pressure on legislators and other decision makers to reform our educational system. Founded by Campbell Brown, an award-winning journalist and writer, Partnership for Educational Justice is a recognized 501(c)(3) organization.
By Eliza Shapiro
Campbell Brown’s lawsuit challenging teacher tenure and other union-backed protections is gaining a new plaintiff: a non-union public school teacher from Albany.
DeLaine Wilson, a 15-year veteran pre-school teacher at the North Albany Academy YMCA, said in an interview with Capital on Thursday that New York’s slate of teacher protections academically harmed students in upper grades at her school.
“We had honor roll students [at my school] and when it came to the Regents tests they weren’t able to pass them,” said Wilson, who has four children who attend public schools in Albany and was a member of the New York State United Teachers when previously she taught at a private school.
Adding a public school teacher—albeit a non-union one—to the lawsuit could prove to be a helpful move for Brown’s Partnership for Educational Justice, which is already engaged in a bitter battle with NYSUT and the city’s United Federation of Teachers, along with their affiliates, over tenure.
Wilson, who is joining the lawsuit along with her husband, Roderick Wilson, said she believes eliminating the current teacher tenure laws will “hold more teachers accountable.”
“Tenure makes them comfortable,” she said, addding she would try to convince unionized teachers that potentially eliminating tenure and other protections would help all teachers perform better.
Brown, a former CNN anchor, filed her suit challenging the constitutionality of teacher tenure, dismissal and seniority laws in July. The lawsuit is being handled pro bono by a team of lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis. The case was recently consolidated with a similar lawsuit and formal legal proceedings are unlikely to begin until at least December.
Carl Korn, a spokesman for NYSUT, said of the new plaintiff: “due process allows teachers to speak up for what their students need. We are going to vigorously defend due process and basic fairness.”
Partnership for Educational Justice
Press Contact: John Collins, 212 681 1380