Reposted from Chalkbeat New York:
The battle against teacher tenure in New York City took one step forward on Thursday after a Staten Island judge allowed opponents’ challenge to the city’s workplace protections for educators to proceed. The judge denied motions filed by the city, state and the teachers unions to dismiss a lawsuit challenging labor protections afforded to public school teachers, including tenure. If legal challenges to the city’s tenure policies are eventually successful, it could have major implications for tenure policies around the country. The decision was hailed by the plaintiffs and by television journalist-turned education activist Campbell Brown, who has supported the legal challenge. “This ruling is a major victory for New Yorkers, especially for parents and students,” Brown said in a statement.
The suit, Davids v. New York, asserts that New York’s teacher tenure review process is too short and should be lengthened from three years to five years; that the system of organizing teacher layoffs but the principle of “last in, first out” should be abandoned; and that the dismissal process for weak teachers should be streamlined. The workplace protections given to teachers, the plaintiffs contend, shield incompetent teachers from being fired and degrade the quality of education to many of the state’s students.
But teachers unions, along with officials from the city and state departments of education, challenged whether the group of parents bringing the suit had standing to file the legal action, and whether the courts, rather than the state legislature, should decide which workplace protections should be granted to teachers.