2011 Exiting Ineffective 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.
Wyoming makes teacher ineffectiveness grounds for dismissal. Teachers can be dismissed for "inadequate performance" as determined by annual performance evaluations.
However, 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, which include incompetency, neglect of duty, immorality, insubordination, physical incapacity to perform job duties, failure to perform job duties in a satisfactory manner, inadequate performance as determined through annual performance evaluation tied to student academic growth and other good and just cause relating to the educational process.
In Wyoming, tenured teachers who are terminated have multiple opportunities to appeal. After receiving written notice of dismissal, the teacher may—within seven days—request a hearing, which must occur within 45 days, and a decision must be rendered within 20 days of the hearing's conclusion. The board reviews the findings and issues its order within another 20 days. The aggrieved teacher may then file an additional appeal with the district court. The state does not specify the time frame for this appeal.
Wyoming Statutes 21-7-110 SF 0146
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, the state must ensure that the opportunity to appeal occurs only once. 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. Wyoming should ensure that appeals related to classroom effectiveness are only decided by those with educational expertise.
Wyoming recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.