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 South Carolina, 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, which must occur within 15 days, and a decision must be rendered within 10 days of the hearing's conclusion. The teacher may then file an additional appeal with the county court of common pleas. The state does not specify the time frame for this appeal.
South Carolina does not explicitly make teacher ineffectiveness grounds for dismissal, nor does the state 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 "persistent neglect of duty, willful violation of rules and regulations of district board of trustees, drunkenness, conviction of a violation of the law of this State or the United States, gross immorality, dishonesty, illegal use, sale or possession of drugs or narcotics."
South Carolina Code of Laws 59-25-430, -470, -480
Specify that classroom ineffectiveness is grounds for dismissal.
South Carolina should explicitly make teacher ineffectiveness grounds for dismissal so that districts do not feel they lack the legal basis for terminating consistently poor performers.
Ensure that teachers terminated for poor performance have the opportunity to appeal within a reasonable time frame.
Nonprobationary teachers who are dismissed for any grounds, including ineffectiveness, are entitled to due process. However, cases that drag on for years drain resources from school districts and create a disincentive for districts to attempt to terminate poor performers. Therefore, South Carolina must ensure that the opportunity to appeal occurs only once and only at the district level. It is in the best interest of both the teacher and the district that a conclusion be reached within a reasonable time frame.
Distinguish the process and accompanying due process rights 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. South Carolina should ensure that appeals related to classroom effectiveness are only decided by those with educational expertise.
South Carolina asserted that the process used for terminating ineffective teachers is fair to all parties.