Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Jersey: A black elementary school teacher who retained his job despite being late to work 111 times in two years said that the most important meal of the day was to blame for his tardiness

"I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I lost track of time," 15-year veteran teacher Arnold Anderson said. In a decision filed August 19, 2015 an arbitrator in New Jersey rejected an attempt by the Roosevelt Elementary School in New Brunswick to fire Anderson from his $90,000-a-year job. The arbitrator did criticize Anderson's claim that the quality of his teaching outweighed his tardiness, but still ruled that he was entitled to progressive discipline. Anderson was late 46 times in the most recent school year through March 20, 2015 and 65 times in the previous school year, the arbitrator said. The arbitrator wrote Anderson relied on the "micro-quibbles of a few unpersuasive explanations, with a macro-default position that even when he is late he nevertheless delivers a superb educational experience to his grateful students". Anderson said that he was one to two minutes late to school "at the most" but was prepared and was never late for class. "I have to cut out eating breakfast at home," he said. Anderson remains suspended without pay until January 1, 2016. The arbitrator found that the district failed to provide Anderson with due process by not providing him with a formal notice of inefficiency. The district also failed to giver the veteran teacher 90 days to correct his failings before terminating his employment. Republican Governor Chris Christie referenced the case in a tweet. Christie wrote: "Think I'm too tough on the teachers union? This is what we're dealing with in NJ."

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