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Vergara v. State of California

June 16th, 2014

This is the case regarding the challenge to the teacher tenure statutes in the California. Several students (funded by outside interests) claim that they are deprived of their right to equal protection in public education because tenure laws caused them to receive an inferior education. I had a chance to read the trial court’s ruling this morning. The finding of the court was that 1-4% of state public school teachers are “grossly ineffective.” The trial court judge also found that the removal process for teachers was complex and cumbersome. Applying the constitutional protections of Brown v. Bd. of Ed. and the California Serrano cases, the judge found that the teacher removal process in the statute was unconstitutional, because it is almost impossible to remove a grossly ineffective teacher. He also found that the seniority statute was unconstitutional, which seems to have no relationship at all to the issue at hand. IMHO, this is a poorly reasoned and written decision and there is a good change that it will not be adopted in its current form on appeal. I agree that the funding and motivation for the case came from anti-union, ultraconservative interests. There is a legitimate concern in those rare cases when a student is stuck in a class with a “grossly ineffective” teacher, but here the remedy goes way beyond what is needed to address this concern.

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