Latest ruling again rejects school district’s ‘arbitrary and capricious’ criteria for denying tenure

By John Mooney

What it is: State arbitrator Tia Schneider Denenberg on March 30 overturned the Newark public schools’ tenure charges against Thirteenth Avenue School teacher Rinita Williams based on “inefficiency,” the legal term for ineffective teaching.

What it means: The decision continues Newark’s dismal record in cases heard under the state’s new teacher tenure law, known as TEACHNJ.

Under state-appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson, the Newark school district has been by far the state’s most aggressive in filing tenure charges – but it has won just one of 13 tenure cases involving allegedly ineffective teachers.

What’s different this time: Up to now, most of the decisions against Newark have hinged on the district’s claims that it could legally use teacher evaluations from 2012-13, before TEACHNJ went into full effect, in its tenure charges.

But the latest tenure case went beyond such a claim. In this instance, Denenberg also rejected Newark’s cases on the grounds that the district did not properly evaluate Williams and did not give her required support.


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