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After court arguments, judge puts off decision in teacher tenure case

It’s now a waiting game for those fighting and observing the legal challenge to teacher job protections in New York.

After nearly two hours of oral arguments on Wednesday, Judge Philip G. Minardo offered no decision on whether to dismiss or continue Davids v. New York, the case aimed at the state’s teacher tenure, seniority, and discipline laws. Minardo gave no indication as to when he will issue a decision.

In a packed Staten Island courtroom, Minardo listened to lawyers for both sides, asked repeated questions of the attorneys and complimented both sides for making strong arguments. In an indication of how many entities are involved in the lawsuit, attorneys representing the state, the city and state teachers unions, and the city divided the 50 minutes given the defendants into 10-minute blocks.

The day held few surprises, with each side repeating the arguments they have made in legal briefs exchanged in the last several months.

The plaintiffs, who have the support of television journalist-turned education activist Campbell Brown, claimed that the workplace protections have allowed ineffective teachers to remain in the workplace and denied children a “sound basic education.”

Sam Pirozzolo, named plaintiff in the case and vice president of the New York City Parents Union, said he felt “elated and confident” about Wednesday’s court proceedings.

“I really feel we stand an excellent shot,” he said.

The defendants argued that the plaintiffs have failed to show that the courts are the appropriate venue for challenging the law. Any changes to the workplace protections should be pursued through legislative action, they argued.

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