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School Business Affairs


Teacher tenure is a controversial topic that continues to generate litigation. Parents and advocates of educational reform have filed claims alleging, in part, that school officials violate the rights of students who are not achieving academically largely because of the ineffective instruction the students receive from teachers.

Typically, these suits also claim that conditions in districts where students perform poorly on academic measures are exacerbated by the protection that state tenure laws—in conjunction with union efforts—afford ineffective teachers, thereby making it difficult to dismiss the teachers for incompetence.

In North Carolina Association of Educators v. State (2016), a North Carolina superior court held that a state law that would have stripped tenured teachers of their tenure rights violated the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution. A day earlier, in a case that has already been appealed to the California Supreme Court (Resmovits 2016), an intermediate appellate panel reached the same outcome in Vergara v. State (2016). Let’s take a closer look at the cases in North Carolina and California.

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This article originally appeared in the November 2016 School Business Affairs magazine and is reprinted with permission of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The text herein does not necessarily represent the views or policies of ASBO International, and use of this imprint does not imply any endorsement or recognition by ASBO International and its officers or affiliates. Any additional re-purposing or reprint of this article in this or any other medium is restricted without prior written consent.

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Reston, VA