Can a New York City Teaching Fellow be terminated solely for failure to complete a pre-service training period?

Yes. Steve Loren was accepted into the Teaching Fellows program in April 2012 and was terminated just two weeks prior to his obtaining his transitional B Certificate on July 31, 2012. The Teaching Fellows program provides an alternative path to a teaching credential and Loren, based on the program literature, believed he could only be terminated for attendance or some egregious conduct while training. He maintained that unsatisfactory field performance was an insufficient ground for his termination.

The DOE countered that Loren was involved in a questionable activity of video-taping a class he was teaching with his cellphone and besides as long as the DOE was not arbitrary it could dismiss a pre-service Teaching Fellow in the same way it could remove a probationer. The DOE claimed that its reasons for Lorens’ termination were not arbitrary and moved to dismiss Lorens’ petition.

Justice Joan B Lobis agreed with the DOE. The Court ruled that the NYCTF Field Guide and other manuals did not creat a contractual right and did not establish that the DOE’s determination was made in bad faith.

In the Matter of the Application of STEVE LOREN, Petitioner, For a Judgment  Pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules, -againstTHE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, and DENNIS WALCOTT, As CHANCELLOR OF THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Respondents. Index No. 401945/12 SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK COUNTY, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5936; 2012 NY Slip Op 33093U, December 20, 2012, Decided