AFT Media Affairs
WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew's motion to intervene in the New York case on due process and tenure:
"All around this country, there are real challenges to getting kids, particularly historically disenfranchised students, the educational opportunity, equity, supports and services they need. At the same time, those of us working overtime to make sure all kids have the opportunities they deserve and the educators they need are facing unrelenting attacks from some who scapegoat teachers to advance their agenda while remaining stunningly silent about the root causes of inequity in our schools.
"The United Federation of Teachers has a long history of advocating for and intervening on behalf of children and their parents to ensure that all of New York's children have a high-quality public education—from the More Effective Schools Program through the Chancellor's District and the new contract the UFT recently negotiated with the city of New York. Through collective bargaining contracts and legal action, the UFT has addressed issues of equity, due process, class size and provision of services and supports—things we know make a difference in student achievement.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's education commission, in its recent review of educational policies, recognized that tenure is about giving teachers due process protection against groundless termination and that it does not provide a guaranteed job. New York has a baseline three-year probationary period. And New York lawmakers, in cooperation with education unions, have repeatedly made changes to the due process laws to address issues raised in the California Vergara lawsuit, such as aligning the due process and evaluation procedures and expediting the process for dealing with teacher evaluations and disciplinary hearings.
"The American Federation of Teachers supports the UFT's request to intervene in the legal case on due process and tenure, and we cheer its decision to keep the union's focus on attracting, retaining and supporting well-prepared and qualified teachers for all our students, and on developing safe, welcoming, collaborative school environments where educators have the resources, support and time to help their students learn and apply a wide range of knowledge."