Gwen, a Special Education teacher at Peach Middle School, has been seeking a promotion to Special Education Lead Teacher for three years. Each time she has applied, she has reached the interview phase, however she has never been selected for the role.
After the last round of interviews, Gwen calls the principal. As the principal and head of the interview committee, she would like some feedback on why she has not been given the opportunity to advance. The principal is very open with her in sharing that her current performance as a teacher, has raised some concerns regarding her readiness to advance. She is frequently late with submitting required paperwork and needs a lot of support to complete routine special education tasks. There is also concern regarding her knowledge of compliance, which is imperative to be a leader in this area. Upon receiving this feedback, Gwen becomes very defensive. She wants to know specific paperwork that was not submitted on time and when this occurred. She also wants to know why her “asking questions” is being used against her. Finally she wants to know who feels she is not well versed in compliance.
The principal moves to end the conversation, as she does not feel it is productive. Gwen then states, “I feel like I am being discriminated against. Only certain people get hired”. This causes the principal immediate concern. Gwen is African-American, female, and over 40 years old. While the last three teachers hired to serve in the Lead Teacher role have been females, all have been Caucasian and all have been young.
Do you feel it was appropriate for the principal in this scenario to provide Gwen with such open feedback? Why or why not? How might this feedback be used against her?
If Gwen were to file a formal claim, would it have any merit? Why? Why not?
As a school leader, what ways could/ should the principal have protected herself and the school district as you worked with Gwen?
Do you feel the laws related to employment discrimination, as discussed in the text, are applicable to our contemporary schools/ school districts? Why? Why not?
Do you feel the laws related to employment discrimination, as discussed in the text, hinder employers? Why? Why not?
What (if any) changes would you recommend to these laws to address contemporary issues? Why would you recommend these changes?
Cite evidence for the course readings or other scholarly sources to support your statements. Use APA formatted citations and include an APA formatted reference section.Teachers have often employed the courts to remedy treatment by school authorities with whom they
disagreed. In many instances, personnel practices that had become institutionalized through custom have
been challenged as being discriminatory, violative of statutory or constitutional provisions, or unfair.
Although teachers have not always been successful in actions brought before the judiciary, their
willingness to employ the courts for a redress of grievances has produced a climate in which public school
administrators are sensitive to the necessity of treating teachers in a legally defensible manner.
This chapter focuses on law relating to nonrenewal and dismissal of teachers; teachers’
freedom of expression; academic freedom; drug testing; standards of dress; the teacher as exemplar;
employment discrimination; collective bargaining; and the political rights of teachers.
I. NON RENEWAL AND DISMISSAL
The development of state statutory provisions and the existence of a sizable body of case law have
provided teachers with safeguards against arbitrary dismissal. School administrators have the primary task
of evaluating teachers and determining their fitness; however, this task must be done in accordance with
state statutory provisions and in the light of constitutional protections.
According to a United States Supreme Court decision, Board of Regents of State Colleges v.
Roth, a nontenured teacher need not be given reasons for nonrenewal unless the nonrenewal deprived the
teacher of a “liberty” interest or if there was a “property” interest in continued employment. Any
statement regarding the reason for the nonrenewal could result in the teacher’s requesting a due process
Depending on a state’s statutory provisions, dismissal of a tenured teacher or one under a
continuing contract must be in conformance with the state law. State provisions usually contain grounds
for dismissal such as nonperformance of duty, incompetency, insubordination, conviction of crimes
involving moral turpitude, failure to comply with reasonable orders, violation of contract provisions or
local rules or regulations, persistent failure or refusal to maintain orderly discipline of students, and
revocation of the teaching certificate. Additionally, all the procedural aspects of the hearing process
provided by state statute must be afforded the teacher. These often
include the following requirements: proper notice, containing charges and the names and nature of the
testimony of witnesses and stating the time and place of the hearing; compulsory process or subpoena
requiring the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant papers and documents; a fair hearing;
and an opportunity for appeal.
This relationship between public-school teachers and their employers is significantly different
from that which operates in the private sector. Although workers in the private sector may have protection
under contract law, union agreements, or governmental antid
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