12. Strenghtening the Grievance Procedure

GAE sponsored the legislation in 1992 that provided a grievance procedure for every professional educator in Georgia to be protected from unfair and arbitrary employment actions. Since that time, GAE has worked to strengthen the law and to include the annual evaluation as an item that could be grieved.

Educators are professionals and should have the opportunity to grieve, without fear of reprisal, actions that do not adhere to legally required regulations like class size limits, student discipline guidelines and unfair and inequitable evaluations. Most states have a uniform system of evaluations for an educator that is not arbitrary and is actually intended to measure the effectiveness of the teacher in the classroom. Georgia has long relied on an educational system that has top down management where teachers are discouraged from showing individual creativity or having input into the profession. This type of atmosphere is exacerbated by the inequalities of the evaluation system Georgia has instituted. There is no real standard for what is a satisfactory or unsatisfactory evaluation, and the ultimate decision rests in the hands of the school principal. Without the ability to grieve an unfair evaluation, a teacher’s entire career can be affected by just one administrator. This system therefore stifles the ability of teachers to be innovative, creative, or to even disagree with their administrator. GAE will continue to advocate for a stronger grievance procedure that provides a fair system for educators to protect themselves, their academic freedom, and their profession.