Skip to comments.California Students File Constitutional Challenge to Teacher Firing Practices
Posted on 01/31/2014 5:10:31 PM PST by Kaslin
Three cheers for a group of nine California students who are fed up with tenure rules that protect not only incompetent teachers, but also sexual predators.
Reuters reports California students challenge teacher employment rules in lawsuit.
A group of nine California students will challenge employment rules they complain force public schools in the most populous U.S. state to retain low performing teachers, as opening arguments kick off on Monday in a lawsuit over education policy.
The lawsuit seeks to overturn five California statutes that set guidelines for permanent employment, firing and layoff practices for K-12 public school teachers, saying the rules violate the constitutional rights of students by denying them effective teachers.
Among the rules targeted by the lawsuit is one that requires school administrators to either grant or deny tenure status to teachers after the first 18 months of their employment, which they complain causes administrators to hastily give permanent employment to potentially problematic teachers.
"The system is dysfunctional and arbitrary due to these outdated laws that handcuff school administrators from operating in a fashion that protects children and their right to quality education," attorney Theodore Boutrous of the education advocacy group Students Matter said in a media call.
The plaintiffs are also challenging three laws they say make it difficult to fire low-performing tenured teachers by requiring years of documentation, dozens of procedural steps and hundreds of thousands in public funds before a dismissal.
Lastly, the plaintiffs want to abolish the so-called "last-in first-out" statute, which requires administrators to lay off teachers based on reverse seniority.
The group says that the layoff policy disproportionately affects minority and low-income students, who are more likely to have entry-level teachers and poor quality senior teachers assigned to their district.
"When the layoffs come, the more junior teachers are laid off first, which ends up leaving a higher proportion what we call the grossly ineffective' teachers," Boutrous said. "It's really a vicious cycle."
Teachers' Union Response
"We don't think stripping teachers of their workplace professional rights will help students," said California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt."
Mish Translation of Teachers' Union Response
Testimony Started Monday
The lawsuit was filed by the nonprofit advocacy group Students Matter, which contends education laws are a violation of the Constitution's equal protection guarantee because they do not ensure all students have access to an adequate education.
The LA Times reports Testimony begins in trial over California teachers' job protections.
Arguments begin Monday in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of laws that govern Californias teacher tenure rules, seniority policies and the dismissal process -- an overhaul of which could upend controversial job security for instructors.
The lawsuit, filed by the nonprofit advocacy group Students Matter, contends these education laws are a violation of the Constitution's equal protection guarantee because they do not ensure all students have access to an adequate education.
Vergara vs. California, filed on behalf of nine students and their families in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks to revamp a dismissal process the plaintiffs say is too costly and time consuming, lengthen the time period for instructors to gain tenure and dismantle the "last hired, first fired" policies that fail to consider teacher effectiveness.
The lawsuit aims to protect the rights of students, teachers and school districts against a "gross disparity" in educational opportunity, lawyers for the plaintiffs said.
Many students overwhelmingly those who are minority and low-income are destined to suffer from ineffective and unequal instruction because administrators are unable to remove ineffective teachers from schools, attorneys said.
Students Matter was founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David F. Welch, a research scientist who went on to co-found Infinera, a manufacturer of optical telecommunications systems based in Sunnyvale, Calif. The group is partly funded by organizations known for battling teachers unions. The foundation of Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad, which has backed numerous education initiatives, also supports it.
Gross Lie of the Day
In the gross lie of the day category, "The California Department of Education contends districts have the opportunity and discretion to remove ineffective teachers from classrooms and decide whether to grant tenure."
In contrast, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, is a supporter of the effort to repeal the statutes. He declined to comment because he is a witness in the case.
Lay it on them John!
Unions are the Child Molester's Best Friend
I am quite sure Deasy can testify how hard it is to get rid of incompetent teachers, even child molesters.
If you think I am making this up, sadly, I am not.
I highly recommend reading the LA Times report: Failure Gets a Pass L.A. Unified Pays Teachers Not to Teach.
You can find similar articles about New York, in fact, anywhere unions rule.
Every time I write something like this I get a ton of emails from teachers. Surprisingly, about a third of them are in support of what I say.
In Praise of Teachers
I have said this before and I say it again: I have nothing against teachers. Most of them are dedicated, hard-working professionals.
I do have everything against public unions whose sole mission is to collect dues and coerce legislators into laws written for the union at the expense of the kids.
Wishing those 9, and their Legal Team success.
Unions are the Company Store of Education: buy our overpriced crap or else.
I’ve heard it is more dire there than in any of the other 49 states. Basically, standards are non-existent and if you have a working pulse, you can teach in Cali.
I taught fourth and fifth grade in California for one year at an elementary school next to the Round Valley Indian Reservation in Mendocino County. One of my students, Cody, couldn’t read, so I asked him to stay after school in order to make him literate. About 4:15 p.m., the union guy walks into my room.
“What are you doing here?” he asks. “The contract says you get off at four.”
“I’m teaching Cody to read.”
The union guy stares at me for a second, and repeats, “The contract says you leave at four.”
I was in my third year as a teacher, so I guess I looked a little shocked, and I stammered out, “But he needs to learn how to read.”
The union guy said, “Don’t cause trouble around here.” He turned and walked out the door.
That was one of many reasons I left the place. The union doesn’t represent me. Given a choice, I’d do away with tenure in a cold minute, and I agree with Friedman that we need vouchers. I’d do well, and the slackers would return to delivering pizzas.
And here, I’d disagree w/ Friedman and yourself...NO vouchers. It should be handled the same way as college; pay as you go.
Get rid the ‘guild’ (teaching ‘certification’) and infinite property taxes (for those OUT of K-12, or those w/out children) and direct pay. Let teachers vie for students as any other profession...you do well, word of mouth/etc.; otherwise, you’re not long for the ‘profession’.
They also need to go after incompetent administration who tell the teachers how to teach, what to teach, etc.
“You can find similar articles about New York, in fact, anywhere unions rule.”
I know this is sarcastic, but just where to you find a place in this country where the “education system” isn’t run by a RAT Teacher’s Union?
When one of our children was singled out for outrageous abuse because the we had some differences with her, the best that we could do (at the suggestion of the principal) was to take a pair of scissors and cut out everything this cretin had written in our son’s permanent record. It took the principal two more years to get rid of this teacher, and “getting rid of” consisted of getting her transferred to another school.
“They also need to go after incompetent administration who tell the teachers how to teach, what to teach, etc.”
I have said it here before, but it bears repeating. School Superintendents are the nation’s highest paid migrant workers. They move from district to district earning early dismissals from their gold plated contracts, take a chunk of money, and move to the next district to do the same thing all over again. Some even get to be Superintendent of the Year like that black woman in Atlanta before the rubes find out that she’s been cooking the test scores and she has to take of with $900k in “reparations.”
>>>>And here, Id disagree w/ Friedman and yourself...NO vouchers. It should be handled the same way as college; pay as you go.
Get rid the guild (teaching certification) and infinite property taxes (for those OUT of K-12, or those w/out children) and direct pay. Let teachers vie for students as any other profession...you do well, word of mouth/etc.; otherwise, youre not long for the profession.<<<<<
Man, I would LOVE that. Come into town, hang up shingle, live and die according to my competence and how I teach. You know, I was thinking that - I stopped for a few moments and considered writing “get rid of public education” - but I went all wobbly in the knees and leaned back on more mundane ideas. Nice to see folks like you are out there... and you might be surprised at the number of teachers who would consider your scenario to be a great alternative to the current system.
You probably have an inkling of what it is like in a government school. Even the best is fraught with bureaucratic sloth. My frustration with the system is balanced by the fact that I worked in the private sector until I was 42 years old, so I know how to run a business, pay an employee, and work with the public. My colleagues are mostly retired military, and believe me when I say the discipline problems in their classes are minimal. We’re all merrily subverting the system in the most Gramsciesque manner, teaching what some would call “conservative” and “traditional” values by taking the long march through the liberal institutions. (My students, for instance, read a lot of Orwell and Solzhenitsyn, some of which is inoculation for college indoctrination.)
Be well out there.
There's a problem right there!
Those are not teachers RIGHTS; but mere a PRIVLEDGE the law has given them.
With this data; they now know who you are.
(Unless there has been a LOT of Codys in the 4th and 5th grades over the years.)
Sound's like this child's parents lacked, shall we say, imagination.
Unions are blunt objects in a refined world. # ‘em.
I seems we poster’s think it’s time - nay - PAST time, for the pendulum to swing back!
Now or later with far less mercy.
Well, Elsie, I just knew somehow you’d be here to comment. But I am amazed that you somehow haven’t woven your hatred for Mormonism into your commentary.