Monday, March 21, 2011

"The editorial told only half of the story, and got that part wrong"

Today in the Star Tribune lawyer Marshall Tanick has some harsh words for an an editorial that ran last week titled "A hitch in the Teacher Tenure Act," that argued against a specific feature of teacher tenure. As Tanick points out, the editorial writer obviously doesn't understand the tenure law or this particular case:
The editorial told only half of the story, and got that part wrong. As the attorney for the prevailing principal, I feel obliged to correct those mistaken impressions...

...The court ruled against the superintendent because she consciously and deliberately bypassed the notice and hearing requirement for no apparent reason, stripping Murphy of significant job responsibilities that she carried out well for many years...

The editorial opined, as did the school district in the lawsuit, that the reassignment was a mere trifle because Murphy retained her same salary....[but] The law currently defines a "demotion," which triggers a right for a notice and hearing, to consist of a "reduction in rank," defined as a diminution of duties or a decrease in compensation. Both occurred in this particular case.

The principal's duties were changed from overseeing a facility and its staff to more menial duties, including lunchroom supervision. The offense in this case was not merely a matter of modifying a "title," as the editorial suggested, but a major reduction of the educator's role that could affect her if seeking a job elsewhere as well as promotional opportunities internally.
It's Pravda on Portland Avenue all over again. Even by today's low standards the Strib editorial page's utter disregard for honesty is startling.

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