Will the Court uphold a U-rating even though no formal observations were in the file and no opportunity for a pre-observation conference was ever offered?

Yes. Mitchell Cohn appealed from the denial of his U-rating appeal on the basis that the 3 U rated lessons were insufficient to support the unsatisfactory rating. Cohn argued that the observations were not formal and were in effect unannounced walk-throughs for which he was never offered a chance for a pre-observation conference, something he alleged was guaranteed to him under both the UFT contract and the Ratings Manual for Pedagogues.

The Supreme Court disagreed. Justice Alice Schlesinger ruled that the technical violation did not support the Court’s involvement in reversing a matter better left to the discretion of the Department of Education. The Appellate Division affirmed the decision and wrote, “While petitioner complains that he did not receive pre-observation conferences prior to every classroom observation, he has not demonstrated that the U-rating was made in violation of lawful procedure or any substantial right.”

Matter of Cohn v Board of Educ. of the City Sch. Dist. of the City of N.Y. 2013 NY Slip Op 00418 Decided on January 29, 2013 Appellate Division, First Department.

MITCHELL COHN, Petitioner, Index No. 110409/10 -against- BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK; and District of the City of New York, JOEL I, KLEIN as Chancellor of the City School, Respondents,

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