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Arbitration can be key to ensuring fair, timely dismissals

NEA’s Van Roekel: “Our membership has never tolerated teacher misconduct.”

WASHINGTON - January 20, 2011 -

The American Federation of Teachers recently commissioned expert litigator Kenneth R. Feinberg to propose a plan to expedite the dismissal cases of teachers charged with inappropriate, discriminatory and criminal misconduct.  The following statement can be attributed to National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel:

“NEA’s goal is to ensure that every student in America has access to a great public school—and that means having great teachers in our classrooms.  Our membership has never tolerated teacher misconduct, and our local associations work closely with administrators and school systems to ensure that teachers who don’t belong in the classroom are removed.

“This week, our colleagues at the American Federation of Teachers released a proposal to make the teacher dismissal process more fair and efficient.  This proposal, developed by a litigation expert, is similar to practices that NEA affiliates have already negotiated and put into place.  Since 2003, for example, Clark County, Nevada, has operated under a joint agreement that has reduced the average time for a dismissal proceeding by 75 percent.  A similar solution that would replace administrative hearings with binding arbitration under tight timelines  has been proposed by the New Jersey Education Association.  

“We share AFT’s desire to keep effective teachers in the classroom, and agree that arbitration is often the best solution to remove poor teachers from the classroom, while also ensuring fairness and due process.  The AFT proposal is a step in the right direction.  We look forward to greater collaboration on this issue, because when we get it right, everyone is better off—especially our students.” 

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

CONTACT: Laila Hirschfeld  (202) 822-7823,