Under New Jersey employment law, a school board must bring tenure charges when it wants to discipline a tenured teacher. The teacher can then appeal the tenure charges to the New Jersey Commissioner of Education. The Department of Education then refers the case to an arbitrator for determination of whether or not the charges should be sustained. New Jersey’s Appellate Division recently examined the procedures for appealing such a tenure arbitration decision in the case of Ragland v. Board of Education of the City of Newark.
Larhonda Ragland was a tenured teacher in the Newark Public School System. She received consecutive summative evaluations of “ineffective” or “partially ineffective” based on poor student achievement and classroom observations. The Board therefore served her with tenure charges of inefficiency. She challenged the Board’s evaluation process, and the Department of Education the referred the charges to an arbitrator.