Educators statewide stand to benefit from a summary judgment recently issued by the Chancery Court of Maury County reinforcing teachers’ rights under the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act.
The Tennessee Education Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Maury County Education Association after a series of unlawful acts by district leadership, including interfering with professional employees in the exercise of their right to choose representatives for collaborative conferencing, failing to engage in good faith collaborative conferencing, refusing to vote on an MOU that had been agreed to by the collaborative conferencing teams, and unilaterally implementing changes to the terms and conditions of professional employees’ employment.
“The actions detailed in this lawsuit demonstrate a clear violation of the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act,” said Steve McCloud, TEA assistant executive director of legal advocacy. “The judge’s ruling reinforces the strength of the PECCA law and acknowledges that there is a requirement of good faith implicit in the law.”
The summary judgement issued by the Maury County Chancery Court concludes five key things: the local association will not be required to repeat the “show of interest” process; a new poll must be provided with proper controls in place to ensure only Maury County teachers are able to vote and each person is only able to vote once; the Maury County Board of Education must vote on the MOU that is presented to them; collaborative conferencing may not be circumvented by an appointed “Teachers Council” created by the district; and that there is a requirement of good faith implicit in the PECCA law.
“MCEA membership has grown in recent years because teachers know that we’re doing the hard work to ensure their rights are upheld,” said Maury County Education Association President David Huebner. “In the end, it’s all about the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. This is a victory for Maury County Public Schools employees. We believe this ruling will help Maury County educators, and educators statewide engaging in collaborative conferencing, move forward in a way that allows teachers to have a strong voice in their working conditions.”