Kentucky school leaders say review process for teacher discipline is erratic and unpredictable

A group of Kentucky education organizations testified before the Kentucky Legislature’s Interim Joint Education Committee on November 14, 2011 that the tribunal process to review disciplinary actions against Kentucky teachers and other certified school staff “doesn’t seem to work well.”

KERA created the tribunal system, which allows any teacher who is disciplined to request a formal review by this process.

Unfortunately, data assembled by the Kentucky School Boards Association, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators and the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents indicate that the tribunal process too often overturns the actions taken by local school superintendents.

According to a Kentucky School Boards Association news release:

“Less than 50 percent of the superintendents’ original rulings were upheld. In the 29 cases that involved termination, almost 75 percent resulted in some change in the superintendent’s original” ruling.

One example cited by the KSBA was an “elementary teacher who had a history of work-related problems, which ended with his firing after he grabbed a student, pulled her to the front of the room and belittled her in front of her classmates. Davis fired the teacher, but a tribunal reversed his decision, leading to the teacher being reassigned as a highly paid substitute at a high school in the district.”

Draw your own conclusions about how well this spends your hard-earned tax dollars.

The school agencies will propose better rules for the next legislative session. It’s about time.