Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should articulate that ineffective classroom performance is grounds for dismissal and ensure that the process for terminating ineffective teachers is expedient and fair to all parties. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Link to Ineffectiveness: Nevada requires all postprobationary teachers to return to probationary status if they receive two consecutive years of less-than-effective evaluations.
Due Process Distinction: Nevada allows a postprobationary teacher deemed to be probationary due to less-than-effective performance who faces dismissal to request an expedited hearing according to the procedures established by the American Arbitration Association.
Appeals Process: Nevada allows teachers to appeal one time for dismissal charges. Once notice is given, a teacher may request a hearing before a hearing officer within 15 days. Within 30 days of the selection of a hearing officer, the hearing must be held. A report must be then filed within 15 days. The decision of the State Board is final.
Nevada Revised Statutes 391.730, -820, -.330, -.322
As a result of Nevada's strong dismissal policies, no recommendations are provided.
Nevada was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state added that its appeals process outlined in the analysis is related to licensure suspension or revocation. The process for employment dismissal is negotiated via collective bargaining agreements between districts and employee associations pursuant to Chapter 288.
States need to be explicit that teacher ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal.
Most states have laws on their books that address teacher dismissal; however, until recently these laws were much more likely to consider criminal and moral violations than performance. While many states have amended their dismissal policy to be more explicit about classroom ineffectiveness, some still retain euphemistic terms such as "incompetency," "inefficiency," or "incapacity." These terms are ambiguous at best and may be interpreted as concerning dereliction of duty rather than ineffectiveness. Without laws that clearly state that teacher ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal, districts may feel they lack the legal basis for terminating consistently poor performers.
Due process must be efficient and expedited. Non-probationary teachers who are dismissed for any grounds, including ineffectiveness, are entitled to due process. However, due process rights that allow for multiple levels of appeal are not fair to teachers, districts and especially students. All parties have a right to have disputes settled quickly. Cases that drag on for years drain resources from school districts and create a disincentive for districts to attempt to terminate teachers for poor performance. Teachers are not well served by such processes either, as they are entitled to final resolution quickly.
Decisions about teachers should be made by those with educational expertise.
Multiple levels of appeal almost invariably involve courts or arbitrators who lack educational expertise. It is not in students' best interest to have the evidence of teachers' effectiveness evaluated by those who are not educators. A teacher's opportunity to appeal should occur at the district level and involve only those with educational expertise. This can be done in a manner that is fair to all parties by including retired teachers or other knowledgeable individuals who are not current district employees.