An education reform group, Students for Education Reform Minnesota [official website], initiated a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against the state Wednesday claiming state laws governing teacher tenure violates students’ fundamental rights to an education. Minnesota law allows a teacher to obtain tenure after three years. Plaintiffs claim [Star Tribune report] that education is suffering because three years is too short a time period to determine whether an educator should obtain lifetime job protection. Plaintiffs also claim the laws on firing teachers are too vague. The process to let teachers go is long and very time consuming, resulting in ineffective teachers remaining in the classroom for an extended time. The Star Tribune reported that evaluations prove the most ineffective teachers were concentrated in schools with the highest poverty levels.
In recent years legislation surrounding education and teachers has generated controversy in the US. In August 2014, education advocacy groups in New York challenged the state’s teacher tenure laws [JURIST report], claiming that laws protecting teacher employment violate the civil rights of children to a quality education. In June a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that the California’s system for tenure and seniority for public school teachers is unconstitutional [JURIST report]. In March 2014, the Supreme Court of Kansas held that the state’s legislature violated the Kansas constitution when it underfunded K-12 public education [JURIST report] during the 2009 through 2012 school years.