Jun 13 2014
A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge this week struck down California’s teacher tenure and job security laws calling them unconstitutional. The landmark ruling could potentially affect the State’s 6 million public school students and over 300,000 teachers, as well as have a ripple effect throughout the nation.
The lawsuit, Vergara v. California was funded by multi-millionaire charter school advocate David Welch whose non-profit group Students Matter supported the case started by 13 year old Beatriz Vergara and 8 other students.
Framing the decision as a civil rights issue, the Judge drew parallels to Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which ended school segregation, claiming that teacher tenure laws disproportionately affect minority and low income students who are more likely to suffer under substandard teachers. California is among 37 other states which grant tenure after 18 months of teaching.
Teachers’ unions have vowed to appeal the ruling. California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt called the suit “fundamentally anti-public education, scapegoating teachers for problems originating in underfunding, poverty and economic inequality.” However, Education Secretary Arne Duncan lauded the decision calling it an opportunity to build “a new framework for the teaching profession”.
GUEST: Diane Ravitch, Education Historian and author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, and her latest best-seller, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools
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