Saturday, October 10, 2015
Can A Developing Rating Terminate A Teacher? Yes, If You Are Not Tenured!
In a previous post a commenter asked if a developing rating can resulted in 3020-a charges for incompetence. Of course the answer is no. However, when it comes to teachers who are not tenured the answer is very different. Teachers who have not gained tenure are considered "at will" employees and have very limited "due process" rights. They can be fired for any or no reason at all, including getting a "developing" rating. While the discontinued teacher can request a hearing with the Superintendent, usually 6 months to a year after the discontinuance, very few, if any are reversed. The Superintendent simply rubber stamps the Principal's recommendation. No investigation of the discontinuance is required. Remember this outrageous case? Unfortunately, a developing rating can result in a teacher who is not tenured to be discontinued from employment as a teacher in the DOE.
Theoretically, the discontinued teacher can reapply to another school district in the City schools or in another license. However, the teacher's file will have a flag on it (a scarlet letter) showing the discontinuance and few principals will be willing to fight through the bureaucratic red tape to hire a discontinued teacher when there are other applicants available for the position.
The end result is that once a teacher is discontinued, their career as a New York City public school teacher is effectively over. It only takes one Principal who does not like you to ruin your career and in far too many cases potentially great teachers saw their dreams and aspirations of making a difference terminated by the whims of a Principal who has discontinued the teacher based upon personal differences, unfair observations, or prejudice.
While the attack on teacher tenure continues throughout the country the unfair and discriminatory actions against teachers who have not attain tenure in the New York City public schools, simply based upon a Principal's like or dislike of that teacher is really a moral crime.