AirTalk for June 10, 2014

Court decides vital Vergara v. California education case

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Teacher Denise Severing congratulates a child during a math lesson at the federally-funded Head Start school on September 20, 2012 in Woodbourne, New York. A California judge has struck down teacher tenure protection, seniority-based job protection and existing disciplinary policy in a groundbreaking case for education equality.

California Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu issued a decision this morning striking down teacher tenure protection, seniority-based job protection and existing disciplinary policy in a groundbreaking case for education equality.

RELATED: Vergara trial: Calif. judge says state teacher protections unconstitutional (updated)

The case considered policies that plaintiffs argue “handcuff the public education system” in the state. During two months of trial, Treu heard testimony from students who said the laws that make it difficult to fire tenured teachers deprived them of a good education.

The lawsuit also attacked seniority-based protection known as “last in, first out,” teacher discipline and other benefits. The decision could have a broad impact in California public schools and beyond.

Lawyers for the California Teachers Association say that changes to the system will have a negative impact on students and staff, allowing the firing of teachers on a whim and deincentivizing the public school system for talented teachers.

How will this ruling change public education in California? Could changing teacher tenure improve education, or will it prevent good teachers from working in public schools?

Guests:

Evelyn Larrubia, Education Editor, KPCC

Gary Ravani, Vice President, California Federation of Teachers; Intervenors in Vergara v. California

Joshua Lipshutz, plaintiff’s counsel in Vergara v. California, part of the legal team for Students Matter


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