When I do an incompetency case, I bring it up when I know that my client has terrific student data. Why? Because if an educator is alleged to be totally a failure at teaching, and his/her students have high scores on tests, grades, etc., I believe that the educator cannot be proven to be a failure at teaching. The data is one more item added to the list as part of the defense.
If an educator does not have good scores on tests, then this data is not brought in because there are too many intervening factors to have this data prove that the person is truly incompetent. Thus if the Respondent teacher is appointed to a CTT class or self-contained class, the student data does not reflect the progress or learning of the students, necessarily, as these students may not have been given their services, extended time, and other accommodations.
The data should never be used alone, of course. This is part of an entire defense, planned and implemented by the legal team. Added to the mix are: hostile work environment, hatred/revenge/wrongdoing by the administrators or other people in the building, lies and misinformation. Winning a 3020-a is both time-consuming and work intensive, but worth every minute. The DOE Attorneys have a very heavy burden most of the time. They get half the story - most of which may not be true - and have to argue for termination or resignation, not something in between. How does a late student assessment prove incompetency? How does a lesson plan that does not have a formula in it prove that a teacher cannot teach math? I don't know.
The DOE attorneys argue that the student data is not "relevant". This is also the ruling of one of the most biased against teachers, Arbitrator Haydee Rosario who, in
|Haydee Rosario, Esq.|
2006, was an attorney for the NYC DOE and prosecuted educators brought to 3020-a.She believes that all student data for a teacher charged with incompetency is not relevant to the charges. Ridiculous. If students have great standardized test scores, certainly a part of the result is due to the teaching that went on in that class that year. At least that's what I think.
In fact teacher data reports include the vague "student progress" in test scores, ruled by New York State Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Kern, with teacher's names. Now THAT's unfair. Scores and student data are part of a package of facts, and should not be used without all the other elements of bad faith in public policy, the improper determination of probable cause, hostility by a person in the building, grievances filed by the Respondent, facts which can bring charges against an employee and which do not prove by a preponderance of evidence that the teacher is incompetent..