Here is the text of the Vergara decision, ruling the laws governing tenure and seniority unconstitutional.
Somehow the words, “hoist with their own petard”, come to mind.
Is this the same judge who made this decision?
And the unintended consequences should be devastating to the very students the judge claims to want to help.
Judge is a complete idiot and probably on the take.
I suppose “seniority” in the private sector is also “unconstitutional.” What a doofus.
There is no such thing as “tenure” in K-12 regardless of what a state calls the right to a sham hearing which few teachers take.
If “tenure” is nothing more than the right to a “sham hearing,” then this wouldn’t be such an important decision. All the decision would mean is that California teachers lost their right to a sham hearing. But teachers lost much more than that. In fact, the right to a sham hearing is the only thing they *didn’t* lose in this case.
If the decision is affirmed on appeal, *then* it will be true that California teachers’ due process protections consist solely of a right to a sham hearing, otherwise known as “Skelly rights.”
It just shows you that people who haven’t been targeted by insane or stupid principals are ignorant of just how bad the workplace is for teachers and how much power–unilateral power backed by taxpayer money–principals have over their careers. This stupid decision, designed to screw teachers out of pensions or full pensions, just gives these same idiot or insane principals MORE power.
The purpose of “due process” is to avoid favoritism. Same with seniority.
What a moron.
One day people will look back and say, “Look what we’ve done to the teaching profession and all of the wonderful, dedicated people we used to have. What a shame.”
And when their kids still are failing tests and aren’t learning anything who will they turn around and blame? They won’t be able to blame the teachers.
Two of my own kids want to enter education. I told them forget it. There are better careers particularly since they are decent students and enjoy math and science. Teaching is no longer valued in America.
Well, I should say they will still blame the teachers but they won’t be tenured or unionized teachers – they’ll be the Teach for America robots shuffled in and out every two-three years. Then we’ll hear everyone wonder why people don’t want to teach anymore.
Good advice MathVale!
First, the analysis section of this ruling relies upon (1) that a growing body of evidence confirms that it is the quality of teaching is what matters most for the student’s development and learning in schools and that (2) 1-3% of teachers in California are grossly ineffective.
(1) what is this growing body of evidence (besides the Chetty study) that pinpoints teacher effectiveness as the causal effect on student learning outcomes?
Who are rating these teachers? Who are rating those rating these teachers? Who is rating the community environment’s effect on student outcomes? Who is rating home environment on student outcomes? Need I go on?
(2) what are the whys and wherefores of using the term grossly ineffective teachers?
Why use the word grossly? What does the word ineffective mean? Who is certifying the use of such prejudicial adverbs such as grossly? Need I go on?
Frankly, I conclude that this judge’s opinion is a hatchet job. The corporate edu-reform crowd could not have scripted it any better themselves–maybe they did!
And of course, the USDOE came out in favor of this ruling thereby adding supposed credibility. Wow, and I voted for these guys twice…I am the moron….
The estimate of 1% to 3% of teachers in California being grossly ineffective was made by the expert witness called by the defense. Here is his vita: http://insidetheacademy.asu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Berliner_Vita1.pdf
Making decisions for the vast majority based on alleged outliers is fraught with many intended, and unintended, consequences.
And when the outliers are mathematical mirages…
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts—for support rather than for illumination.” [Andrew Lang]
There’s outliers …
And then there’s out ‘n’ out liars …
The challenged statutes were all declared unconstitutional. No recommendations are made for the revision or excision of those statutes. I believe I already heard rumbles about an appeal. Almost seems as though now is when it gets really interesting. What will California do if the appeals court agrees with the lower court? Imagine the money that will pour into addressing the challenged statutes. Fascinating. Scary, but fascinating.
The most important words in this document, and ones that many of us would agree with, are these: Education is a “right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”
Has anyone noticed the difference in the education of a typical child in the Los Angeles Unified School District and one who lives in nearby Palos Verdes? The privileged child in PV is likely to be in a beautiful school with an experienced teacher and several parent volunteers in his classroom. This child comes to school well-fed and has excellent health care and home support. His teachers are hired early in the spring so the district will have the opportunity to hire the best qualified. There are no TFA’s or people with waivers. The superintendent is an educated man (earned degrees) and the community raises over 2 million dollars (over and above taxes) per year to pay for enriching activities (art, music, field trips, etc.) for the students. These children often have outstanding out-of-school educational experiences provided by their parents. Each classroom is lavishly equipped with books, equipment and materials generously donated by parents and other members of this affluent community. Their teachers, carefully hired and mentored, are treated with respect and gratitude by the school administration and the community (no “bad” teachers there). Most children get a spectacular education (superior to the private schools) and are accepted into the best universities in the country. Most graduates are ready for college work. Not only is this education excellent, but it compares well with the best systems in the developed world.
The typical Los Angeles Unified student might have a TFA for a teacher, or someone hired in August or even September. Schools might have no libraries and classrooms are dependent on the generosity of the teacher. The superintendent of the district, a man who did not value education enough to earn a legitimate doctorate, expresses disdain for teachers and even insults them in front of students. The children in this district may or may not have their basic needs met at home. At school they might get enough food but health care is inadequate or non-existent. These children have few, if any, field trips and might not have art or music instruction. If they are troubled, they are not likely to be seen by a school psychologist or social worker. Outside activities might be restricted to TV and video games. Some have never been outside their immediate neighborhoods. Many of these students do not graduate from high school and those who do are frequently not prepared for college work.
It’s time for teachers and parents to go on the offensive. As the primary advocates of children, they must go to court to demand an equal education for all children in California. These children have a constitutional right to an equal education. Specifically in the Los Angeles Unified School District student advocates should demand:
The same amount of money (for each student) that privileged children get, including “development funds” contributed by parents ;
Fully qualified teachers (No TFA’s or teachers on “waivers”). If teachers don’t want to work in LAUSD, the district should be required to pay whatever it takes to get fully-qualified teachers. (By “fully-qualified” I mean as defined by law in CA.);
As many adults in a classroom as the privileged children have (e.g.If parents can’t volunteer, aides should be hired);
A superintendent with a strong academic background and a respect for teachers. Leadership counts.
Support services for children. Every child in CA should have access to a school nurse, psychologist, social worker and librarian. There should be a fully equipped library in each school.
The people who put students first are custodial parents and schoolteachers. It’s time for these individuals to demand equal educational opportunities for all CA students. Let’s put an end to the shameful practice of a two-tiered educational system.
Thanks Linda for describing the stark reality of inequality as it exists. When the judge orders the national guard to bring 500 students from East LA over to Palos Verdes, then he can crow about Brown, and we can start to make the bronze memorial.
I want to clarify that I made the previous comment as a person who doesn’t believe “teacher quality” has anything to do with the issues we’re debating. I’m more concerned about teaching methods, long-standing and new, that are forced on teachers. So I’m uncomfortable with the judge’s ruling, even if he’s right about how tenure works to deny equal protection. Does that make sense? Probably not.
I agree that what Linda Johnson describes, that a high quality education is imperative and is a legal right for all children, is the point. I think the judge wants that too.
I think what you describe is essentially what the judge is doing. From my perspective, he is ordering the Palos Verdes teachers over to East LA. Unless I misunderstand his point, he finds that the unequal distribution of good teachers violates children’s right to equal protection.
Well said. We live in a nation of savage inequalities among our children, and these idiots want to blame the problems that poor kids face on a tiny number of poor teachers. Completely idiotic.
Well, let’s see. This kid grew up with a crack-addicted unemployed teenage single mother in a succession of flophouses and trailers, and she walked past a dead body on her way to school at the age of seven and watched the gangbanging of her sister at the age of nine and didn’t have food in her belly or warm clothes in the winter or eye exams or trips to the park or the zoo or the library or the amusement park or the children’s museum, and she went to a school with plaster falling from the ceiling and toilets that didn’t work and no library and no nurse and the only people she ever knew, growing up, who had any money were the teenage drug dealers in her neighborhood. But the real problem in her life is that Mr. Crenshaw, her third-grade teacher, was only rated satisfactory instead of highly effective.
You are the person I come to this site to read. Your insights about education, in all its dimensions, have expanded my vision. But this response, I feel, is ranting in a negative way toward low income children and their families. Most American families have been recently, are now, or will be at some point in the future, low-income enough to qualify for the free lunch program. Most are working, many if not most are single parent families (the fastest way to become low income in America is to divorce,) most have books in their homes, many have computers and internet access, are involved with their churches, have multi-generational family presence in their neighborhoods. Most low income children have hard-working parents who do all they can to prepare their children for school. The stereotype of the extreme conditions you describe undermines the effort to provide equal protection. It implies that no one, under any circumstance, can solve such problems within the school setting. I agree. But I believe all children have a right to equal conditions in school, and I feel that such a stereotype takes our eyes off that prize.
But I agree. I also had students with poor parents who were very hard working and invested. All kinds.
This is why I very much believe in government provision of wrap-around services, including safe places for kids to go after school to be fed and nurtured. Many of my students did not have a safe place to go to. This was an everyday horror to me.
Yes, you are right, Linda. I apologize for all those stereotypes. But they were drawn from life–very like a school that I taught in in my first year as a teacher. I had 6 remedial preps, and many of my students were from situations very like the one that I described.
My question is how did they find that the plaintiffs met their burden of proof? How?
They said they claim “…the challenged statuses result in grossly ineffective teachers obtaining and retaining permanent employment and that these teachers are disproportionately situated in schools serving predominately low-income and minority students.”
How could they have met that burden of proof- One way it seems: VAM and the acceptance of VAM as an appropriate metric for teacher performance. That’s ridiculous!
This is ignorant, a willful kind of ignorant. I would expect more of the judges that were entrusted to sort through this sham.
Another question: Were they paid for their verdict? Were the judges entrusted to find a fair verdict given money to find an outcome clearly outside the playing field of reason? As I ask this I would like to testify that I am not a member of the tea party or any other kind of conspiracy oriented group. But this seems so far away from rationale, that I can’t help wondering.
“You can’t wake someone who is pretending to be asleep.” -Navaho proverb
Reading through the decision, logic appears tortured with factual “evidence” or support contrived, and definitely contested by many experts. The language appears straight out The Billionaire Boys Club “reforminess” handbook. Hopefully, on the appeal, the next decider/s will operate with a modicum of intellect and fairness. This judge did not even fake it. It would also be nice if factors outside of school control are taken into account.
Sorry… Please replace “rationale,” in the entry above with, “rational.”
Reblogged this on ohyesjulesdid.
As a lifelong Democrat and a teacher of 4 decades, I am appalled by Arne Duncan’s lack of support for quality education and teachers.
Tenure laws and due process guarantees are indeed fair.
Which Democratic educational initiatives have improved the “inequities in education–including school funding, access to quality early childhood programs and school discipline?” Certainly not Mr. Duncan’s support for charter schools, high stakes testing and destruction of teachers’ rights.
Isn’t it time for AFT and NEA to call for a March on Mr. Duncan’s office in Washington, DC so that he can explain how his policies will move education forward for students.
So what is the likely end result of all this? I didn’t scrutinize the document but it looked like in part the decision was that 2 years wasn’t enough time to recognize whether or not a teacher should have tenure (due process).
What are the four states that lack tenure, and how are things for teachers there? I’m going to guess that one of them is North Carolina?
What, no compensatory damages? The kids at least deserve T-shirts that say, ” I went to 8th grade in LA public schools, and all I got was this lousy teacher.
Well, I’ve read the decision, the post-trial briefs, the main summary judgment briefs, and some other stuff. If anyone here is looking for comfort, I would say the following.
First, this is a complex case, with legal issues bursting out of almost every seam and a thick record, and a LOT of potential bases for reversal.
Second, this is *not* a robust opinion, and the judge made very little effort to “bullet-proof” his opinion by stuffing it full of paragraphs designed to show that he wasn’t ignoring any arguments or evidence.
Third, there are a lot of appellate court judges who love to shoot down an opinion like this. If the panel that hears the appeal has some of those judges, points 1 and 2 above make this case tailor-made for a reversal.
It’s comforting to hear this from a lawyer. Thanks, Flerp!
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