Contacts - For CTA: Claudia Briggs - 916-296-4087; For CFT: Fred Glass - 510-579-3343
LOS ANGELES — The final decision rendered by Los Angeles Superior Court judge Rolf Treu today in the Vergara v. California case offered no new reasoning or information as to how stripping teachers of their workplace professional rights will help students gain a better education. In rolling back the protections that allow teachers to educate their students and advocate for them without fear of arbitrary and capricious retaliation, the judge has set back a century of well-reasoned law.
“This decision fails to recognize the benefits to students and society provided by the challenged statutes, including the ability to recruit and retain educators and promoting teaching as a life-long career,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “These statues provide educators with basic due process rights that allow teachers to speak up on behalf of their students and provide transparency in district employment and layoff decisions.”
Evidence during the trial showed no link between the statutes and the retention of ineffective teachers or in the assignment of teachers to particular schools. On the contrary, the evidence showed that school districts have tremendous latitude in hiring, in assignment and in dismissal. In fact, according to testimony by several districts, underperforming teachers are remediated or removed from their positions frequently using the existing statutes.
“In ignoring all the real problems of public education, this is simply an anti-union attack masquerading as a civil rights issue,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “The central problems we face each day in the classroom are inadequate funding, poverty, lack of decent jobs in the communities surrounding our schools, and high turnover among younger teachers due to the pressures of those problems—none of which is addressed by the ruling in this case. This decision will only reinforce the perception among idealistic young people that well-funded enemies of public education are undermining respect and support for teachers. This will make it harder to attract and retain young teachers.”
The California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association were interveners in the case and plan to appeal the decision on behalf of students and educators. 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.