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Parents Continue Legal Fight To Blame Unions For Bad Teachers

A group of Minnesota parents continued their fight to blame unions for bad teachers, asking an appeals court panel to to overturn a lower court’s decision to dismiss the case.

The lawsuit, originally filed in April 2016, asked the court to rule the state’s tenure and dismissal laws ruled unconstitutional, according to the Star Tribune. The four parents argued that the laws violated the state constitution’s guarantee to a “thorough and efficient” education.

Roxanne Draughn and three other parents claim that the teacher tenure and other union rules protect bad teachers which in turn widens the academic achievement gap among children. The appeal was filed Wednesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

A Minnesota judge dismissed their lawsuit in the fall, ruling that the plaintiffs did not show a connection between teachers union rules and the achievement gap. The judge also said that the issue should be addressed by the state legislature, not in the courts.

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Minnesota school teachers are eligible for tenure after three years in a school district, according to state law. The suit claims that the state provides little guidance on the criteria for giving a teacher tenure with little input from the school district.

In a March appeal, the parents argued that state standards, which require students to have an effective educator, allows the court to determine if teacher union rules hurt students right to a quality education.

The lawsuit is supported by the Partnership for Educational Justice and the Minnesota chapter of Students for Education Reform. Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, St. Paul schools and three other Minnesota school districts are listed as defendants.

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