Fishman Haygood serves as lead counsel in constitutional challenge to teacher tenure and dismissal laws
May 5, 2016
On April 13, 2016, Fishman Haygood attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of four Minnesota mothers alleging that the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal, and “last-in-first-out” layoff laws violate their children’s fundamental right to an adequate education. The complaint asserts that despite universal recognition that effective teaching is the most important in-school factor to student advancement, laws that provide lock-tight job security to ineffective teachers deprive students of a uniform and thorough education, and further result in a far disproportionate share of ineffective teachers being assigned to already low-performing schools. This lawsuit is the third of its kind across the country, and builds on similar challenges in New York and California. The State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the individual school districts attended by the plaintiffs’ children are the defendants in the case.
Fishman Haygood’s involvement in education issues and litigation is well-established. The firm’s attorneys successfully defended the Orleans Parish School Board against a lawsuit by former New Orleans public school employees claiming that they were wrongfully terminated following Hurricane Katrina; contributed legal counsel to the lawsuit that stopped Governor Bobby Jindal from terminating the State of Louisiana’s Common Core testing contract; and, most recently, are defending the Orleans Parish School Board in a lawsuit alleging that the State of Louisiana’s efforts to equitably distribute public school funds to students requiring costly special education services impairs its contractual relationships with charter schools that serve few students requiring such services. Additionally, the firm’s managing partner, Jim Swanson, is chair of the Choice Foundation, the operator of three open-enrollment public schools in New Orleans, including the largest elementary school in the city.
Fishman Haygood attorneys Jim Swanson, Alysson Mills, and Jesse Stewart serve as lead counsel in Forslund v. Minnesota; Minnesota-based Bassford Remele, PA, and Nekima Levy-Pounds of the University of St. Thomas School of Law serve as co-counsel.