Dismissal for Poor Performance: Nevada

Exiting Ineffective Teachers Policy

Goal

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.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Dismissal for Poor Performance: Nevada results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NV-Dismissal-for-Poor-Performance-10

Analysis of Nevada's policies

New legislation in Nevada ensures that all post-probationary teachers will return to probationary status if they receive two consecutive years of unsatisfactory evaluations (see Goal 3-D). 

Although the state has attempted to address issues of due process and dismissal by reverting ineffective teachers to nonprobationary status, the state also retains other policy that does not distinguish the due process rights of teachers dismissed for ineffective performance from those facing other charges commonly associated with license revocation, such as a felony and/or morality violations. The process is the same regardless of the grounds for cancellation, which include inefficiency; immorality, unprofessional conduct; insubordination; neglect of duty; physical or mental incapacity; conviction of a felony or of a crime involving moral turpitude; inadequate performance; failure to show normal improvement and evidence of professional training and growth; advocating overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of Nevada by force, violence or other unlawful means, or the advocating or teaching of communism with the intent to indoctrinate pupils to subscribe to communistic philosophy; any cause which constitutes grounds for the revocation of a teacher's license; and dishonesty.

In addition, a post-probationary teacher deemed to be probationary due to unsatisfactory performance who faces dismissal may request an expedited hearing according to the procedures established by the American Arbitration Association.   

Citation

Recommendations for Nevada

Align dismissal law to support evaluation law.
In order to clearly articulate that ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal in Nevada, the state should reconcile its new legislation—which suggests that unsatisfactory evaluations would be grounds for dismissal—with the state's older dismissal policy—which alludes to "inadequate performance" as grounds for dismissal. In doing so, the state should make it clear that classroom ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal for any teacher, regardless of tenure status.

Ensure that the appeal process occurs within a reasonable time frame and that due process rights are distinguished between dismissal for classroom ineffectiveness and dismissal for morality violations, felonies, or dereliction of duty.
Nevada has taken commendable steps to expedite the dismissal process for teachers deemed to be ineffective. However, it remains unclear as to how the appeal process will work for teachers involved in expedited hearings and whether the state has set a reasonable time frame for this process. In addition, the state could do more to distinguish due process rights for teachers dismissed for ineffective performance from those facing license revocation for dereliction of duty or felony and/or morality violations.

State response to our analysis

Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

One of the greatest shortcomings of teacher performance appraisals has been school systems' unwillingness and inability to differentiate instructional competency. The New Teacher Project, 2009, "The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness" at http://widgeteffect.org/

See NCTQ, State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies (2011) as well as studies by The New Teacher Project of human resource and dismissal policies in various districts at: http://www.tntp.org/.

For information on the high cost of teacher dismissals, see Steve Brill, "The Rubber Room," New Yorker, August 31, 2009 at: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/31/090831fa_fact_brill.
 
Also, see Scott Reeder, "The Hidden Costs of Tenure: Why are Failing Teachers Getting a Passing Grade?" Small Newspaper Group, 2005 at:http://www.nctq.org/nctq/research/1135269736359.pdf.