California Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional


Goober
#1
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/11/us...l.html?hp&_r=0

LOS ANGELES — A California judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprive students of their right to an education under the state Constitution. The decision hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case, one that could radically alter how California teachers are hired and fired and prompt challenges to tenure laws in other states.

“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles Superior Court wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

The ruling, which was enthusiastically endorsed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, brings to a close the first chapter of the case, Vergara v. California, in which a group of student plaintiffs argued that state tenure laws had deprived them of a decent education by leaving bad teachers in place.

The teachers’ unions said Tuesday that they planned to appeal. A spokesman for the state’s attorney general, Kamala D. Harris, said she was reviewing the ruling with Gov. Jerry Brown and state education officials before making a decision on any plans for an appeal.

“We believe the judge fell victim to the anti-union, anti-teacher rhetoric and one of American’s finest corporate law firms that set out to scapegoat teachers for the real problems that exist in public education,” said Joshua Pechthalt, the president of the California Federation of Teachers. “There are real problems in our schools, but this decision in no way helps us move the ball forward.”

In the ruling, Judge Treu agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that California’s current laws make it impossible to get rid of the system’s numerous low-performing and incompetent teachers; that seniority rules requiring the newest teachers to be laid off first were harmful; and that granting tenure to teachers after only two years on the job was farcical, offering far too little time for a fair assessment of their skills.

Further, Judge Treu said, the least effective teachers are disproportionately assigned to schools filled with low-income and minority students. The situation violates those students’ constitutional right to an equal education, he determined.


“All sides to this litigation agree that competent teachers are a critical, if not the most important, component of success of a child’s in-school educational experience,” Judge Treu wrote in his ruling. “There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.”

With his ruling, Judge Treu added his voice to the political debate that has divided educators for years. School superintendents in large cities across the country — including Los Angeles, New York and Washington — have railed against laws that essentially grant teachers permanent employment status. They say such job protections are harmful to students and are merely an anachronism. Three states and the District of Columbia have eliminated tenure, but similar efforts have repeatedly failed elsewhere, including California.

Under state law here, teachers are eligible for tenure after 18 months, and layoffs must be determined by seniority — a process known as “last in, first out.” Administrators seeking to dismiss a teacher they deem incompetent must follow a complicated procedure that typically drags on for months, if not years.

Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist, testified in the trial that California students who miss out on a good education lose millions of dollars in potential earnings over the course of their lives. But lawyers for the state and unions dismissed the argument, saying that the problems in the state’s public schools had little or nothing to do with teacher rules.
 
BaalsTears
#2
Latinos and public school teachers are part of the same political coalition. However, there is a conflict of interest between poor Latinos and the California Teacher's Association. It will be interesting to see whether Latino political activists will side with poor Latinos or their coalition partners in the teachers union.
 
Spade
#3
Why the interest in California? Emigrating, Goober?
 
taxslave
#4
Hoping some of this will work its way north. BC has more than our fair share of poor quality teachers.
 
Goober
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by SpadeView Post

Why the interest in California? Emigrating, Goober?

Nope.
Interesting that after approx 18- 24 months a person has tenure.
I have a number of friends that are - were school teachers.

You would be familiar with the teacher from Moncton?
And how many teachers defended him?

Malcolm Ross (school teacher) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/en/timePorta...es/138mile.asp
 
Spade
#6
There is no "tenure" for grade-school teachers in Canada.
 
Goober
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by SpadeView Post

There is no "tenure" for grade-school teachers in Canada.

Nope. Universities which offer free education at the U, for children of the professor.
Sounds like a great deal to me.
But as noted in the OP teachers, the not so good ones sent to low income schools. And the results are clear.
 
taxslave
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by SpadeView Post

There is no "tenure" for grade-school teachers in Canada.

Union senority is the same thing.
 
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