Brown v. South Carolina State Board of Education

391 S.E.2d 866 (1990)

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Brown v. South Carolina State Board of Education

South Carolina Supreme Court
391 S.E.2d 866 (1990)

EL

Facts

Mary Alice Brown (plaintiff), an elementary school teacher, took the National Teacher’s Examination (NTE). The entity responsible for the NTE, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), reported Brown’s passing NTE score to the state department of education. The state department of education then granted Brown’s teaching license. Brown then received an offer to work as a second-grade teacher. Halfway through the school year, the ETS canceled Brown’s NTE scores without revealing the reason for the cancellation. South Carolina statutes required that if a testing company invalidated an NTE score, any teaching certificate based on that score would be immediately invalidated. Following this statute, the state department of education advised Brown that she no longer held a valid license. Brown challenged the department of education’s withdrawal of her license. A committee of the state board of education (defendant) held a hearing on Brown’s challenge to the withdrawal of her license. At the board of education committee hearing, the board committee affirmed the decision to cancel Brown’s teaching license. Brown did not learn why her scores were canceled. Brown appealed the decision of the state board of education to the state trial court, arguing that the state board of education had violated her due-process rights by invalidating her license. The board argued that Brown should not be able to raise a successful due-process claim because Brown had failed to follow the proper procedure to contest ETS’s decision to cancel her NTE scores. Brown argued that even if she had followed the proper procedure to contest ETS’s score cancellation, her due-process rights would still have been violated because the procedure did not provide a hearing before the ETS that would allow her to confront her accusers. The lower court found in favor of the state board of education. Brown appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gregory, J.)

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