[JURIST] An education advocacy group on Monday filed suit in New York to challenge the state’s teacher tenure laws, becoming the second group in the state to do so. The challenges, brought by the New York City Parents Union and the Partnership for Educational Justice [advocacy websites], claim that existing laws protecting teacher employment violate the civil rights of children [PBS report] to a quality education. The argument echos the ruling [opinion, PDF] of the California Superior Court in June which struck down California’s teacher tenure and other related laws. In its suit filed last month, the Partnership for Educational Justice argued [New York Times report] that the laws make it difficult to fire ineffective teachers and disproportionately harm low-income and minority students. The teachers union has defended tenure [New York Daily News report] as a means of protecting educators from termination without due process. Unlike California, where tenure is awarded after 18 months [Washington Post report], New York has a probationary period of three years.
Legislation surrounding education and teachers are controversial throughout the US and abroad. In June a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that the state’s system for tenure and seniority for public school teachers is unconstitutional. In September the Mexican Senate [official website, in Spanish] approved a bill [JURIST report] requiring periodic evaluations of teachers. A Bahrain appeals court upheld convictions [JURIST report] of two teachers in October 2012 for organizing a teachers’ strike. In August 2011 a Missouri state judge issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report], preventing the state from implementing a law that would ban teachers from communicating with students through social media. A New York State Supreme Court [official website] judge in January 2011 allowed [JURIST report] the New York City Department of Education [official website] to release performance data on 12,000 teachers.