How Teachers Can Challenge Denied Tenure
Many teachers are in search of “tenure,” but what exactly does this mean? Tenure basically gives a teacher a permanent position at a school, college or university. A tenured professor can only be let go in extreme circumstances, such as serious misconduct.
The requirements of obtaining tenure vary from one school to another. As such, tenure is not transferable. It is essentially a years-long probationary period to prove yourself. You will be assessed by tenured peers during this time.
Schools tend to use three criteria to determine tenure: scholarship, teaching and service. This often involves many years of teaching, as well as publication in journals. If these criteria are not met, a person on the tenure track can be denied tenure. Some people, however, believe that they are denied tenure because they are being discriminated against.
What if you truly feel you have faced teacher tenure discrimination? What options do you have?
Tenure Denial: The Next Steps
It can be a shock to hear that you were denied tenure, mainly because it also means you lose your job. Therefore, before you simply shrug your shoulders and move on, you should get some answers first. Consult with your department chair and ask why you were denied tenure.
Do you get the impression that the chair’s evaluation of your work was biased for some reason? Many people face discrimination during the tenure process. Women, those of a different race and those who are homosexual, or transgender are often denied tenure.
An institution should have clear tenure criteria. Did you meet all the criteria? Or was the criteria unclear, giving the school wiggle room to deny a person for a vague reason?
If you are not satisfied with the answers you received from the department chair, consider an appeal. All schools have processes in place for internal appeals, so now’s the time to read the rules and protocols so you know what to do next. How many votes were against you? One or two, or almost all? The fewer votes against you, the better your chances of winning an appeal.
If you lose an appeal, you have the option of filing a lawsuit. You could sue the school for wrongdoing, but you will need sufficient proof. In these types of cases, the school prevails almost every time, although there are some exceptions.
Think before you file. A lawsuit could take years to settle. This is time you could have spent on another teaching job. If you lose, you’ve wasted all that time. If you do win, you could get that tenured job after all, but at what price? You will be looked at negatively by the school’s staff, which will ruin your reputation.
Work with an Experienced Education Attorney
Most teachers are dedicated to their professions, and being denied tenure can be devastating. You don’t have to give up with a fight, though. There are ways to appeal the decision and even sue if you believe that discrimination was at play.
If you are facing teacher tenure discrimination, the experienced New York City education attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help you. To schedule a consultation, contact our firm today at (347) 464-8694.