A tentative ruling Thursday by a Los Angeles County judge helped clear the path for to trial for a statewide lawsuit that seeks to undo major protections for California’s 270,000 teachers, claiming they harm students.
Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled that Vergara vs. State of California should be argued in court. The lawsuit claims protections - such as permanent status for teachers after a year and a half, teacher job protections greater than other public employees, and last one hired-first one fired rules - are depriving students of a constitutionally guaranteed adequate education.
These protections, the lawsuit claims, allow ineffective teachers to remain on the job and hurt low-income schools during layoffs because there are a lot of new teachers in those schools.
The non-profit Students Matter helped file the lawsuit a year and a half ago. The group was founded by wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch, who has also supported a statewide charter school start-up group.
The main defendants are the State of California and its education officials. In September, their lawyers asked Treu to dismiss the case.
The California Teachers Association was allowed to intervene for the defendants. In response to the lawsuit, the union’s president said there are very few ineffective teachers in the state.
In his tentative ruling, the judge declined to decide the case on paper, saying critical issues in the lawsuit need to be argued in court. That trial is set for next month.