Sept. 2014 Advocate – Decision in Vergara case overturns teacher rights

Decision in Vergara case overturns teacher rights; is being appealed

On June 10 of this year, an L.A. Superior court Judge in Vergara v. State of California declared five Education code protections unconstitutional, striking down California’s tenure, layoff, due process and seniority laws for K-12 teachers. It is a product of right-wing ideology, rather than Constitutional law and reasoning. The decision ignores the facts proved in the case, and disregards governing law. In rolling back the protections that allow teachers to educate their students and advocate for them without fear of arbitrary and capricious retaliation, the judge has set back a century of well-reasoned law.    
    The case was initiated last year by a group calling itself “Students Matter,” funded by David Welch, a conservative Silicon Valley millionaire. The lawsuit, hiding behind a group of students, alleges that teacher workplace rights– tenure, due process rights, and seniority rights during layoffs– infringe on the constitutional right of students to an equal education.
    The case is limited to K-12 public schools. Both the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and the California Teachers Association (CTA) intervened in the case, and were active participants in a joint effort with the Governor and Attorney General. The court’s injunction, holding these important and long-standing State laws unconstitutional, has been stayed pending appeal. The CFT and CTA have filed an appeal.
    A state Superior court decision has no precedential value and thus should not impact the community colleges. In addition, the tenure and due process laws for community colleges are significantly different than the K-12 statutes.