Many claim that teachers are the most important school-based factor in determining student success, but current teacher tenure laws may be inhibiting students from accessing effective teachers. On Thursday, former news reporter Campbell Brown presented remarks at AEI and joined AEI’s Frederick M. Hess in a conversation about teacher tenure and her current endeavor to reform tenure laws in New York.
As the founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice, Brown is currently helping eight families with a lawsuit that challenges tenure, disciplinary, and seniority laws, claiming that these laws prevent students from accessing their state constitutional right of a “sound and basic education.” She characterized this argument for tenure reform as basic common sense and clarified that the lawsuit is “not intended to erode due process, but rather to focus on due progress.”
By using the courts to facilitate removing ineffective teachers, Brown said, we can ensure that all students have access to quality ones. Although she acknowledged that tenure reform is not a magic bullet to fixing America’s schools and that courts should be a last resort in seeking change, she cited tenure reform as one practical step in reforming the system.
Teacher tenure has long been a contentious issue in K–12 education, with many in the reform community lamenting how teacher tenure can complicate the process of removing ineffective teachers. This summer’s landmark Vergara v. California ruling, which overturned teacher tenure in California, suggested that turning to the courts might be a viable path to tenure reform.
In the wake of the Vergara ruling, Campbell Brown, founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice and former CNN news anchor, helped organize a similar tenure lawsuit in New York State. We welcome you to join us as Brown shares her perspective on the role of the courts in seeking educational justice and advocating for continued reform.