January 15, 2015

NYSUT presents argument in tenure case

Author: Carl Korn
Source:  NYSUT Communications
defending tenure and due process rights
Caption: NYSUT General Counsel Richard Casagrande, left, NYSUT President Karen Magee and attorney Charles S. Moerdler of Strook, Strook and Lavan spoke to reporters after opening arguments in defense of New York state's tenure and due process laws. Photo by Bruce Cotler.

Attorneys for NYSUT and its largest affiliate, the United Federation of Teachers, argued passionately in state Supreme Court in Staten Island that tenure protects the ability of teachers to advocate for what their students need.

"These laws being challenged are not a gift to teachers," NYSUT General Counsel Richard E. Casagrande told the judge. "They empower teachers to teach well for their students."

Casagrande and the union's team of lawyers argued before Justice Philip Minardo that the case, filed by Campbell Brown's Partnership for Educational Justice, was defective in many areas. For instance, Casagrande and others argued that Brown's group had no legal standing; had not shown actual injury and that it was prerogative of the legislature - not the judicial branch - to make policy judgments and pass appropriate laws.

Casagrande noted that defendants included eight classrooms teachers - all excellent. He said their right to due process must be protected so they could do what they are trained to do: teach.

"Teachers' interests must be heard in this debate," he said. "Their voice has been lagging."

For more news and resources on the importance of tenure and due process rights, visit