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.
In Rhode Island, tenured teachers who are terminated have multiple opportunities to appeal. After receiving written notice of dismissal, the teacher may—within 15 days—request a hearing. The state does not articulate a time frame for this hearing. This decision may then be appealed to both the department of elementary and secondary education and to the superior court.
Rhode Island explicitly makes teacher ineffectiveness grounds for dismissal by requiring districts to dismiss "all educators who are rated ineffective for two consecutive years." In fact, Rhode Island does not articulate specific grounds for termination of teachers' contracts other than ineffectiveness.
Rhode Island General Law 16-13-4 Rhode Island Educator Evaluation System Standards Rubric http://www.ride.ri.gov/EducatorQuality/EducatorEvaluation/Docs/Educator%20Evaluation%20Rubric%2007%2011%2010.pdf
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.
While nonprobationary teachers should have due process for any termination, it is important to differentiate between loss of employment and issues with far-reaching consequences that could permanently impact a teacher's right to practice. In addition, the state should ensure that the opportunity to appeal occurs only once and only at the district level. The decision should be made only by those with educational expertise.
Rhode Island recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.