April 2015 Issue
March 20, 2015

NYSUT to appeal ruling that advances tenure case

Author: By Matt Smith
Source: NYSUT United

A state Supreme Court judge has denied NYSUT's preliminary effort to throw out a legal challenge to the state's teacher tenure law.

Justice Philip G. Minardo of Richmond County, in a decision handed down March 12, rejected the union's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed in June by a self-proclaimed reform group called the Partnership for Educational Justice.

The group, funded by an undisclosed network of wealthy backers and fronted by former CNN television celebrity Campbell Brown, claims New York's tenure law deprives students of their right to a sound, basic education.

Minardo rejected NYSUT's argument that the tenure statute is a policy matter that should be determined by the Legislature, not the courts.

NYSUT will appeal Minardo's decision and remains confident that the challenged laws will be upheld. The union released the following statement:

"Tenure is an essential safeguard that ensures good teachers can advocate for what their students need, and to work as professionals without fear of unfair firing — a basic due process right.

"Today's decision, while disappointing, is not unexpected. In a motion to dismiss, the judge must assume all the facts alleged by plaintiffs are true. Unfortunately, we know the plaintiffs put before Justice Minardo inaccurate and out-of-date information when accurate and current information about the streamlined teacher disciplinary process was already in the public realm and easily obtainable."