By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/12/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
In a landmark decision, a California judge struck down teacher tenure and other forms of job protection for California public school teachers, arguing that such laws harm students by making it almost impossible to fire bad teachers.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a case, which could influence the growing national debate of tenure, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu, cited the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling which made it a fundamental right of students to have equal education.
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Treu sided with the nine students who brought the lawsuit by ruling that California's laws on hiring and firing in schools have caused "a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms."
The ruling could affect over six-million students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
"It's powerful," said Theodore Boutrous Jr., the student's attorney. "It's a landmark decision that can change the face of education in California and nationally."
This lawsuit was backed by the nonprofit group Students Matter, and hired a powerful legal team, including Boutrous (who had overturned California's gay marriage ban). Students Matter is run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch, who says he's tried to talk with the unions in the past.
"Inherently it is not a battle with the teachers union. It's a battle with the education system," he said. "Unfortunately, the teachers union has decided that the rights of the children are not their priority.
California's Attorney General's office said it is considering all legal options, but California's biggest teachers union, the California Teachers Association, has vowed that it will appeal.
The lawsuit contended that the process required to fire incompetent teachers are so complex, expensive, and time consuming, that these bad teachers are usually dumped into low-income area schools. In his decision, Treu said he had compelling evidence of the harm that poor teachers can inflict on students.
Teachers in California receive tenure after just two years, quicker than in any other state. If the teacher is fired but puts up a fight, it triggers a long process including trial hearings and appeals.
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