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NEA on Minnesota Lawsuit Challenging Due-Process Laws for Teachers

Lily Eskelsen García: Lawsuit is another divisive distraction from real work that’s needed

WASHINGTON - April 14, 2016 -

A lawsuit was filed today in Minnesota challenging the constitutionality of the state’s due-process laws for teachers.

The following can be attributed to National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García.

“This lawsuit is yet another example of using our court system for political goals. Ensuring that every student gets a good education is a critical goal but one that can’t be solved with stripping our teachers of their rights.

“What’s most troubling is that this lawsuit, and others like it, does absolutely nothing to help students. It’s another in a long list of divisive distractions that take the focus away from the real work needed to improve student success.

“Due process policies such as tenure don’t prevent bad teachers from being fired; they prevent good teachers from being fired for bad reasons. Time and again, we have seen how due process policies have helped protect students. In Wyoming, a guidance counselor without due process was fired for spending too much time alerting authorities that some of her students were suffering sexual abuse. In New Jersey, due process saved the job of a math teacher who blew the whistle on a surveillance system that tracked staff and students.

“Striking down teachers’ due process rights will not help our most at-risk students. High-poverty districts do not suffer from too few teachers being removed; they suffer from too much teacher turnover. Every student deserves a highly effective teacher in his or her classroom and we must do what we can to attract and retain the best.

“The protections provided allow teachers to advocate for their children without fear they will be punished for doing so. They help to attract and retain quality teachers in every classroom, protect effective teachers from arbitrary discrimination, and promote teachers’ professional judgements and academic freedom—all of which contribute to student success.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser
(202) 822-7823,