Because of tenure, you can't fire a bad teacher.
A district can bring charges against a tenured teacher or teaching assistant for insubordination, conduct unbecoming a teacher, inefficiency, incompetence, physical or mental disability, neglect of duty, failure to maintain certification or immoral character, at any time.
What about the cost and length of tenure proceedings? In 1994, working with NYSUT and the state School Boards Association, the state Legislature streamlined the tenure law to provide a fairer, faster process that still protected due-process rights.
The reforms have shortened the length of most cases and encouraged pre-hearing settlements in countless others. While some critics point to lengthy cases that go to full hearings, the real story is how many cases are settled quickly, with little cost to districts, often before charges are even filed.
In 2007, more statewide minimum standards for tenure were enacted for teachers hired on or after July 1, 2008. And, under a new teacher/principal evaluation law approved last year, the tenure process will improve because it will be based on more objective information.
The new law, scheduled to be phased in beginning in the next school year, calls for a new, expedited process if a teacher receives two consecutive annual evaluations of "ineffective."