In a sharply worded decision Justice Marcy Friedman of the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that a Bronx Regional High School tenured teacher did not deserve the "U" rating her principal had given her because the principal failed to follow formal observation procedures.
The teacher, a 42 year veteran of the system had been "U" rated for the 2006 to 2007 school year for the first time in her career. During the next school year she was observed three times; twice without a pre-observation conference and once with a pre-observation conference. The observation she had with a pre-observation conference was rated satisfactorily and the others were "U" rated. She was given a second "U" rated annual performance review.
After the teacher appealed the second rating and lost she hired private counsel and brought the matter to the Manhattan Supreme Court. Justice Friedman found that the contract required that "U" rated teachers be evaluated only by formal observations which require pre and post observation conferences. Since the only one that followed this procedure was "S" rated it was irrational to "U" rate the teacher for the full year and ordered the Board to reverse the rating.
Justice Friedman also noted the need to file grievances where procedural safeguards are not followed. She noted that the Bronx Regional High School teacher could have grieved the observations held without pre and post observation conferences but her failure to do did not waive her right to contest the "U" rating based on these observations.
A copy of the decision can downloaded here.