Quantcast

RALEIGH: Teachers group sues over tenure law changes - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

NC teachers group sues over tenure law changes

Posted: Updated:
Educators and administrators attend a Moral Monday demonstration at the General Assembly. (Jeff Reeves, WNCN) Educators and administrators attend a Moral Monday demonstration at the General Assembly. (Jeff Reeves, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Public school teachers on Tuesday challenged a North Carolina law that eliminates more than 40 years of job protections in favor of employment contracts that supporters say will promote sharper classroom performance.

The North Carolina Association of Educators and six veteran teachers filed a lawsuit that contends the law passed this summer takes away requirements that school administrators follow a defined process when firing a teacher. The law starts a five-year process moving all teachers into employment contracts that make it easier to dismiss educators.

One plaintiff, Rhonda Holmes said teaching "was a sure field, it was a career that I could be proud of, that I knew that I was going to be secure, and at this time, that's being questioned."

Since August, teachers who haven't worked the four years in a school district needed to qualify for career status are being offered one-year contracts, the lawsuit said. Veteran teachers lose their tenure protections in 2018. The law also directs school districts to pick the best 25 percent of teachers in classrooms next year and offer them four-year contracts with pay raises totaling $5,000 in exchange for giving up tenure rights.

East Chapel Hill High School teacher Brian Link said he is participating in the lawsuit because the law cuts off the job security that led him to move to North Carolina instead of Florida.

"I believed this state respected and valued its teachers," Link said in a statement. "Now, three years into my career, I will have none of those basic employment rights that first made me want to come here."

A series of legislative changes this year have led teachers to sign petitions, plan walk-outs and prepare lawsuits. Public school advocates last week sued the state to try to block a law that would let taxpayer money be used by low-income students wishing to attend private or religious schools.

The state's top two lawmakers said they were not concerned with the NCAE filing "another frivolous lawsuit."

"While union leaders are focused on succeeding in the courtroom, we'll remain focused on our children succeeding in the classroom," Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said in a written statement.

NCAE lobbies for teachers at the General Assembly, but it is not able to negotiate labor contracts like a union because state law prohibits collective bargaining by public employees.

Berger has said previously that the Obama Administration has pushed states to develop teacher evaluation systems with teeth, merit pay for teachers, and holding teachers and schools more accountable for how much students learn.

North Carolina law for more than 40 years has said veteran teachers can't be fired or demoted except for a series of listed reasons that include poor performance, immorality and insubordination. Career teachers also have the right to a hearing where they can challenge the reasons offered for their firing or demotion.

Seventeen of the state's 95,000 teachers were fired for cause last year, the same as the previous year and down from 52 in 2009-10, according to an annual report released earlier this month.

Ann McColl, the NCAE's top attorney, said a case decided by the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday points out why that's important to teachers. "Without these protections all sorts of arbitrary actions can occur without any recourse," McCroll said.

A three-judge appeals court panel ruled unanimously that the Perquimans County school board fired teacher Vanessa Joyner without clear cause. The teacher had earlier reported school board member Ralph Hollowell's wife, who taught at the same school, for mistakes in administering a writing test, judges wrote in their ruling. Though the school district's superintendent and her building's principal recommended Joyner, Hollowell said he observed Joyner at work and had never-specified concerns about how she did her job, judges said.

Hollowell's claims that Joyner performed poorly was "essentially unsupported, undocumented hearsay presented by one biased member" and "was neither competent nor substantial," a lower court judge ruled in ordering Joyner get back her job. The state appeals court agreed.

RELATED STORIES

  • EducationMore>>

  • Twitter pages show NC college binge drinkers passed out

    Twitter pages show NC college binge drinkers passed out

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:03:40 GMT
    Binge drinking is not a new problem on college campuses but there is a new way people are seeing its impact.Twitter pages are popping up at college campus around the country for the sole purpose of showing students passed out from drinking too much.
    Binge drinking is not a new problem on college campuses but there is a new way people are seeing its impact.Twitter pages are popping up at college campus around the country for the sole purpose of showing students passed out from drinking too much.
  • School systems anxious for new budget as school year begins

    School systems anxious for new budget as school year begins

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:18 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:18:50 GMT
    Wake County School Board Chairwoman Christine KushnerWake County School Board Chairwoman Christine Kushner
    Three weeks into the new fiscal year, there is still no new state budget and Wake County school board members are anxiously watching for a new plan for teacher raises.
    Three weeks into the new fiscal year, there is still no new state budget and Wake County school board members are anxiously watching for a new plan for teacher raises.
  • Houston school district holds 2nd job fair in Raleigh

    Houston school district holds 2nd job fair in Raleigh

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:42:44 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    A Texas school district once again held a job fair in Raleigh looking for teachers who are fed-up with stale salaries in North Carolina.
    A Texas school district once again held a job fair in Raleigh looking for teachers who are fed-up with stale salaries in North Carolina.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:53 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:53:18 GMT
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
  • Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:14:57 GMT
    Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.