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.
New legislation in Oklahoma ensures that teacher ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal. Teachers rated as "ineffective" for two consecutive years, "needs improvement" for three years or who do not average at least an "effective" rating over a five-year period on the Oklahoma Teachers and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation System "shall be dismissed or not reemployed."
Although the state 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. They include: "repeated negligence in performance of duty, willful neglect of duty, incompetency, instructional ineffectiveness or unsatisfactory teaching performance."
In Oklahoma, tenured teachers who are terminated have one opportunity to appeal. After receiving written notice of dismissal, the teacher may request a hearing, which must occur 20 to 60 days after notice. "The decision of the board regarding a teacher shall be final and nonrepealable."
Distinguish the process and accompanying due process rights between dismissal for classroom ineffectiveness and dismissal for morality violations, felonies or dereliction of duty.
Oklahoma is commended for streamlining its dismissal process and for ensuring that ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal. In the future, the state could look to differentiate due process rights between loss of employment and issues with far-reaching consequences—such as felonies—that could permanently impact a teacher's right to practice.
Oklahoma recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.