NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A judge ruled Thursday that two lawsuits targeting New York state’s teacher tenure provisions can go forward.
Judge Philip Minardo of Staten Island state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the plaintiffs, who include public school students, should be allowed to assert their claims as students “who have been deprived of their right to a sound, basic education.”
“We look forward to having our day in court,” said lead plaintiff Mona Davids, who has two children who attend public schools.
The United Federation of Teachers, which intervened as a defendant and sought to have the lawsuits dismissed, said it would appeal the ruling.
Davids’ lawsuit was filed in Staten Island, while a second one was filed in Albany by a group headed by former TV personality Campbell Brown. The cases were consolidated in September.
Campbell and the plaintiffs from her group’s lawsuit planned a news conference to discuss the ruling on Friday.
The plaintiffs argue that teacher tenure and layoffs by seniority deprive students of the sound, basic education they are guaranteed under the state constitution. They also contend the hearing process for dismissing a teacher is so cumbersome it’s almost impossible to fire an ineffective teacher.
The defendants include New York state and the New York City Department of Education as well as teachers’ unions.
“The reason for this case is trying to remove ineffective teachers who feel that sitting in a classroom is just a path to getting their pension,” said lawyer Sam Pizzarolo.
A spokesman for the state Education Department said the department had no comment on Thursday’s ruling.
A spokesman for the city Law Department said the city is reviewing the decision and weighing its options.
The lawsuits were inspired by a California judge’s ruling in June striking down that state’s teacher tenure laws. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has appealed that ruling.
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