Okla. Teachers Fight for Right to Appeal Terminations

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 01:00 PM

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About 1,000 members of Oklahoma’s largest teachers unions protested Tuesday at the state Capitol, decrying measures moving through the Legislature that would make it easier to fire them. Two bills moving quickly through the state House and Senate would do away with the ability of teachers to appeal a local school board’s decision to terminate them, a move known as “trial de novo,” The Oklahoman reported Wednesday.

State Sen. Patrick Anderson, a Republican from Enid, listened to the concerns of the protesters from his district. They did not move him.

“I support the end of trial de novo,” Anderson said in an interview with the newspaper after union members had left. “I think it's important for school boards to have the ability to fire ineffective teachers.”

Teachers raised concerns about growing class sizes, which they blamed on staffing reductions at cash-strapped schools and a jump in population. They told lawmakers they feel overworked and underpaid, all while there’s a move afoot to weaken law protecting tenured teachers.

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