Well, the ruling is in and it’s a victory for the 9 public schools students, all students in California, and hopefully, public students across the nation.
From Students Matter:
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the California Superior Court for the County
of Los Angeles issued an historic decision in Vergara v. California, striking
down five harmful provisions of the California Education Code as
unconstitutional. According to the Court, the laws in question—laws that
govern teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoffs—impose substantial harm on
California’s students by forcing administrators to push passionate, inspiring
teachers out of the school system and keep grossly ineffective teachers in
front of students year after year.
During the trial, the Plaintiffs presented overwhelming evidence that California’s statutes dealing with teacher dismissal and permanent employment impose a real harm on students and their fundamental right to equality in education. The evidence demonstrated that:
- permanent employment is granted in far too little time, resulting in grossly ineffective teachers attaining lifetime job protections;
- the dismissal statutes are far too costly and time consuming, forcing districts to remain stuck with grossly ineffective teachers; and
- the quality-blind layoffs resulting from the “Last-in, First-out” (LIFO) statute force districts to fire top teachers and retain ineffective ones.
The fact: These statutes harm both students and teachers, and that they serve no necessary purpose.
In his16-page ruling, the Honorable Judge Rolf M. Treu found:
- Plaintiffs have met their burden of proof on all issues presented….
- The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience… There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teacher currently active in California classrooms….
- This court finds that both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily, and for no legally cognizable reason (let alone a compelling one), disadvantaged by the current Permanent Employment Statute….
- All Challenged Statues are found unconstitutional.
The Court ordered a stay on the decision, pending appeal.
Of the decision, the Plaintiff’s lead co-counsel, Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., noted:
This is a monumental day for California’s public education system. By
striking down these irrational laws, the Court has recognized that all students
deserve a quality education. Today’s ruling is a victory not only for our nine
Plaintiffs; it is a victory for students, parents, and teachers across California.
After more than two years of litigation, including multiple attempts by Defendants--including the state of California and two of the state’s largest teacher’s unions--to see the case dismissed, the Court disagreed. Opponents also attempted to moot the case via incremental legislative changes to the law through the failed bill, AB 375.
Responding to the decision, the founder of Students Matter, Dave Welch, said:
I believe in public education. I believe in – and have experienced – the
power of a great teacher. And I believe in the children of our state. But I
also believe our public education system is failing our children because
it has stopped putting their needs and their success above all else. This
case was designed to change that – to ask, how do the rules that govern
our education system advance the best interests of California’s children?
Today we have our answer – and we’ve been challenged to do better.
While the nation’s attention is fixed on California’s education system, I
challenge our opponents to join together with all stakeholders to offer real
solutions for our education system. Do away with the playbook of delay and
stop proposing ideas that fall short of what we heard at trial is needed, and
let’s do what’s right for our kids.
Also Commenting on the decision, the Vice Dean and Professor of Law of Villanova University School of Law, Michael P. Moreland, wrote:
Judge Treu’s decision sets the stage for more challenges across the
country to teacher union demands that are at odds with the requirement
of equal educational opportunity. Forcing districts to go through tremendous
hassle and expense to remove incompetent teachers deprives students of
a basic education, most especially poor and minority students. The strength
of Judge Treu’s opinion combined with California’s decades of expansive
equal protection jurisprudence give the plaintiffs here a decent chance of
winning in the California Supreme Court.
The Motley Monk offers kudos to the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles (CA) for withstanding the power of the public education monopoly and Students Matter for persisting in seeking relief from the injustice they were suffering at the hands of the public education monopoly.
This decision may indeed portend the beginning of the end of public school teachers’ unions as they currently exist.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the the Superior Court’s decision, click no the following link: