The United Federation of Teachers is arguing that many teachers leave the system if they are accused of misconduct or incompetence.

BY Ben Chapman , Stephen Rex Brown
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 11:15 PM

A day after a bombshell lawsuit seeking to overhaul teacher tenure was filed, the city teachers union came out swinging for its job protections, arguing many teachers leave the system if they’re accused of misconduct or incompetence.

A United Federation of Teachers analysis released Tuesday found that 216 out of 637 disciplinary cases involving teachers from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years ended in termination, resignation or retirement.

The union would not say how many of those accused educators were fired, versus how many resigned or retired with a pension, but a union lawyer said the figures show the system is working.

“Our data show that accusations that the teacher discipline process in New York City is ineffective are simply wrong,” teachers union general counsel Adam Ross said.

Of 637 disciplinary cases opened, 153 have yet to be resolved. The city Education Department could not authenticate the figures by Tuesday evening.

The union’s figures were met with derision by education reform groups and the plaintiffs in two suits that seek to make it easier to remove bad teachers from public schools in New York State.

“No amount of fuzzy math will change the fact that many low-income families are tired of being short-changed by the status quo,” said Campbell Brown, whose Partnership for Educational Justice sued the state Monday for violating students’ civil rights.

Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union that filed suit July 3, echoed that skepticism.

“The union is trying to put lipstick on a pig. We don’t trust their data. It will all come out in court,” said Davids, whose daughter is named in the lawsuit. Her organization received funding from the teachers union in 2011 and 2012.

The union said around 63,000 teachers have tenure.

Dan Weisberg, president of the New Teacher Project, an advocacy group, noted only a small percentage of that number faced disciplinary hearings.

“The central fact is there are teachers who are not being charged because the system is so burdensome,” he said.

Leave a Reply