Contacts: CFT: Fred Glass, 510-579-3343; CTA: Frank Wells, 562-708-5425
Star Educators Undercut Plaintiffs' Testimony
LOS ANGELES — The first two witnesses called by the Intervening California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers Wednesday in the Vergara v. California suit challenging due process for teachers, strongly proves that existing statutes work to provide quality instruction to California students.
Dr. Robert Fraisse, Distinguished Educator in Residence at California Lutheran University, who served as superintendent in three Southern California school districts, provided testimony that showed the value of current laws regarding teacher employment for a properly run public education system. Fraisse said:
•The current probationary period is ample time for school administrators to determine if a teacher should be recommended for ongoing employment and no administrator should make that recommendation for anyone for whom he or she has doubts.
• Moving from the current weighted layoff system to one based on student standardized test scores (which don’t exist for most subject areas) would have a negative impact, undermining teacher collaboration and teamwork.
•The current layoff system valuing experience is the only rational, objective and fair way for school districts to deal with the need to reduce staff quickly due to budget cuts.
• Well-run school districts can eliminate or minimize the need for layoffs in the first place through responsible staffing and budgeting practices.
• The challenged statutes serve an important role in helping schools retain effective instructors, and work well in well-managed districts.
The second witness called was 2013 Pasadena Teacher of the Year Christine McLaughlin, named by one of the nine Vergara student plaintiffs as a “bad teacher.” Over numerous objections by plaintiffs’ lawyers, McLaughlin offered testimony and supporting documentation that effectively countered her former student’s claims of not being assigned classwork, reading assignments, or homework in her English class. A video produced by the Pasadena Unified School District praising McLaughlin’s effectiveness can be viewed here.
Dr. Jesse Rothstein, an economist from the University of California at Berkeley, will discuss his extensive research into the serious problems with using “value added” models to make decisions about teacher performance. More information on the case as well as background can be found here and here.
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. The California Federation of Teachers is the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, and represents faculty and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education.