Education Action Group has produced an eye-opening chart illustrating the torturous, time-consuming and expensive process New Jersey schools must follow when attempting to fire a tenured teacher for “inefficiency, incapacity, conduct unbecoming or other just cause."
EAG created this chart after consulting with James Smith, the executive director of school security for Paterson, NJ schools. We believe the chart is a clear indication that lawmakers in New Jersey and other states must seriously consider reforming and streamlining the tenure process, to make it quicker and easier to remove bad teachers from public school classrooms.
Recently, Paterson schools made national news after it successfully fired a tenured special-education teacher. The defendant was found guilty of “unbecoming conduct,” which included hitting and/or punching a handicapped student. It took Paterson officials four years and over $400,000 to successfully fire the teacher.
The firing process begins with bringing tenure charges against a teacher. An in-depth investigation follows, during which physical and documentary evidence (such as e-mails, text messages, etc.) is gathered and sworn statements are collected from key witnesses. The investigative process typically lasts around three months.
“It’s like a murder investigation to get to an ineffective teacher,” Smith, a former police captain, said in an interview with EAG. “It’s ten times harder than criminal investigations.”
Once the sufficiency of the charges is established, the case is sent to the Office of Administrative Law, and a trial is scheduled. Because the “speedy trial” concept does not apply to tenure trials, they can take anywhere from one to four years to complete.
“The judge might tell you, ‘I have two days in June, a day in July, one in August,’” Smith said in a recent television interview. The end result is that the trials tend to “drag on.”
Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and EAGnews.org, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.
He is co-author of Glenn Beck’s “Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education,” available at Amazon.com.
Kyle is a contributor to Townhall.com.
He has made appearances on the Fox News Channel, The Blaze, Fox Business Network, NPR and MSNBC. Kyle has given scores of interviews on talk radio programs coast to coast.
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