Breaking: Court rules that repeal of teacher tenure, 25% contracts are both unconstitutional

Superior Court Judge Robert H. Hobgood ruled this morning that the state’s repeal of teacher tenure, also known as “career status,” and the 25 percent contract system that would award temporary employment contracts to those who relinquish their tenure, are both unconstitutional. Hobgood issued a permanent injunction.

“It’s a great day for teachers in North Carolina,” said Rodney Ellis, President of the North Carolina Association of Educators, following Hobgood’s ruling.chalk25

Last summer, lawmakers moved to phase teacher tenure out completely by 2018, on the basis that the law makes it too difficult to get rid of bad teachers. The legislature also mandated local school boards to offer temporary 4-year employment contracts beginning this fall worth $500 annually to the top performing 25 percent of teachers in the state. Teachers who accept the contracts would be required to relinquish their tenure early.

Tenure, or career status, offers a teacher due process rights in the event of a dismissal or demotion. Its repeal, said Hobgood, is an unconstitutional taking of teachers’ property rights.

Hobgood’s order also lets local school boards off the hook from being required to offer the 25 percent contracts to teachers. Hobgood characterized the 25 percent contract system as having no standards to guide school districts in how they would award them, further adding that temporary contracts for career status teachers are not reasonable or necessary for public purpose.

A significant percentage of the state’s 115 school districts have passed resolutions indicating their discontent with the contract system and asking the legislature to repeal the law. Guilford and Durham counties just won their own court ruling that granted them relief from having to award the contracts.

While the next step is to celebrate with teachers across the state, NCAE president Ellis added that he does anticipate an appeal to come from the state.

17 Comments

  1. Jim Wiseman

    May 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Tenure is a “property right?” Unbelievable!

  2. Howard Shepherd

    May 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Actually, Jim Wiseman, it is the contract that establishes the property right. The General Assembly’s law required school districts to abrogate contracts–that is the reason that the law is unconstitutional.

  3. love my state

    May 16, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Jim, do you actually know what tenure means??

  4. RidiculousRuling

    May 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    And Hobgood’s NCAE endorsement coming in 3…2…1…

  5. Lynn

    May 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    When I signed my contract, tenure was in it. How dare the legislature violate the contract and take away my tenure all because of politics! As far as Phil Berger’s comment today, he only wants the constitution defended when it suits him and his Republican cronies.

  6. Jim Wiseman

    May 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I know it’s not “property.” If anything, it’s a privilege.

  7. Chris Weaver

    May 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you to the plaintiffs and to everyone who worked hard on this case! This is an important victory that honors our public schools and will benefit the students and families in our state. Onward.

  8. Gene Hoglan

    May 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Looks like we know who’s gonna get a million dollar campaign to unseat him in 2018.

  9. enccitizen

    May 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Career status allows teachers to act in the best interests of their students without fear of career-ending retribution from unreasonable administration. Getting rid of it just makes it easier to eliminate teacher autonomy, reduce learning to standardized test prep, make it appear that public schools are awful, and promote privatization. It’s intent was not to strengthen public schools, no matter what propents of the current plan say.

  10. enccitizen

    May 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Career status allows teachers to act in the best interests of their students without fear of career-ending retribution from unreasonable administration. Getting rid of it just makes it easier to eliminate teacher autonomy, reduce learning to standardized test prep, make it appear that public schools are awful, and promote privatization. It’s intent was not to strengthen public schools, no matter what propents of the current plan say.

  11. enccitizen

    May 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Career status allows teachers to act in the best interests of their students without fear of career-ending retribution from unreasonable administration. Getting rid of it just makes it easier to eliminate teacher autonomy, reduce learning to standardized test prep, make it appear that public schools are awful, and promote privatization. It’s intent was not to strengthen public schools, no matter what propents of the current plan say. ^o^

  12. Rickd

    May 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Is there any other profession that offers Tenure? Teaching should be like any other profession. You perform and and acceptable rate or loose your job. No wonder the public school system is consistently out performed by private schools.

  13. John Twinam

    May 18, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Unbelievable. The party supposedly all about sanctity of property and the inviolability of contracts is all about shredding contracts it doesn’t like and stripping its enemies of the rewards of their work. First they demonized the unemployed, next the working poor, and now the lower middle-class. Who will Republicans teach you to hate next???

  14. What tenure does

    May 18, 2014 at 10:39 am

    For those of you that don’t understand, tenure does not protect a bad teacher from getting fired. All it does is that it means that the board of education actually has to have a real reason for wanting to fire a teacher. If the teacher is performing their job poorly, does not work well with staff or students,does something inappropriate (even in private sometimes), or even the school just having to downsize because of funding decreases. There are other justifiable reasons as well. What this does not allow them to do is fire you based on trivial details such as not giving the boards kid an A or not starting a particular kid on varsity, sad to say but also being the wrong gender, age or race. The board of education for each school is responsible for all hiring and firing, these are elected boards that have new members each year. If you have upset 1 board member for whatever reason, valid or trivial then if they can convince at least a majority of the board you will lose your job. If you do not have tenure that is the end of it go find another job. If you do have tenure than you are allowed to have hearing to actual state your side of the story, they can still fire you for a valid reason but if it is trivial then they are violating your rights. Without tenure there is no way our basic employment rights are protected because they don’t even have to state why you were fired.

  15. LayintheSmakDown

    May 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    On our way to the NCSC…you know what that means. Overturn baby!

  16. Alan

    May 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    LSD, only if you’ve successfully bought the courts. Now, that wouldn’t happen here, would it?

    I see some fine retribution on the horizon for the state GOP…

  17. Alan

    May 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    “Teaching should be like any other profession. You perform and and acceptable rate or loose your job”

    Then why not pay teachers like any other profession?