The Blog

Write the Chronicle to Let Readers Know Why Entrepreneur Tuck, the Would-be Superintendent, is Wrong

Marshall Tuck, the entrepreneur who would like to be the state’s education chief, has fired off another attack on our basic rights, rights hit by a recent flawed ruling by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. The ruling, in Vergara v. State of California, attacks teachers’ job protections, due process, and seniority rights.

 

In an opinion piece that is an insult to all of our highly dedicated colleagues, Tuck praises the bad ruling.

 

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Guest Blogger: Corey Penrose reflects on anti-union Supreme Court decision

The news finally pushed to my phone on the bus to the airport. News I was dreading. The Harris v. Quinn decision, the potential destruction of advocacy, one more cut into the flesh of a proud and noble profession.

In my imagination I wondered: What would the RA look like if, as politico.com predicted, the Supreme Court would use the nuclear option and decimate the funding of CTA?

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Vergara Verdict Flawed, Like Lawsuit Itself

Like the Vergara lawsuit itself, today’s ruling is deeply flawed. CTA, CFT and the state of California will appeal. We will appeal on behalf of students and educators. Circumventing the legislative process to strip teachers of their professional rights hurts our students and our schools. 

During the nearly two-month trial, numerous defense witnesses, including superintendents, principals, teachers, and nationally-recognized education policy experts testified that these laws work well and benefit students in well-run school districts all over the state. The plaintiffs put on administrators from poorly-managed school districts like Oakland, who attempted to blame the challenged statutes for their district’s problems, rather than poor management and an incredibly high teacher and administrator turnover rates.

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Vergara Trial Nears End

Vergara Trial testimony wraps up this week with closing arguments scheduled for March 27. Lawyers (bankrolled by billionaire David Welch and other corporate “reformers”) representing nine student plaintiffs have charged that California statutes dealing with layoffs, dismissal, and granting permanent status after two years are all unconstitutional and inflict disproportionate harm on poor and minority students. The State of California and intervening parties CTA and CFT have responded that these statutes work well in school districts all over the state, that they help school districts attract and retain quality teachers, and in fact have nothing to say about which teachers are assigned to which schools or to which students.

While the legal arguments are firmly on our side, and hopefully the judge will agree, a quick look back at the testimony over the past two months should lead anyone with common sense—without requiring a law degree—to conclude that the plaintiffs in this case have no case. 

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Write the Bee to Let Readers Know Rep. Miller is Wrong on Vergara Case

Undeterred by the facts, U.S. Congressman George Miller and an educator coauthor have authored a Sacramento Bee Op-Ed that slams teachers for having due process rights.

The retiring congressman and one Los Angeles Unified School District educator have teamed up to declare that the Vergara v. State of California assault on teachers’ due-process protections is a good thing.

Unlike the congressman, teachers know that these procedures have for more than 80 years protected academic freedom and helped attract and keep highly qualified teachers for our students.

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Parents, Students, CTA and Allies Prepare to Launch Defense against Meritless "Vergara" Attack

(Photo above) Joined by parents, students, teachers, and other members and allies, CTA President Dean Vogel stresses that the Vergara v. State of California suit is an outright attack on teachers’ rights in the form of a meritless lawsuit. (Photo by Mike Myslinski)

CTA and its allies held a news conference this morning near the Los Angeles Superior Court where anti-union attorneys have tried to make a case that the professional and due process rights that have been in place for teachers for more than 80 years harm California’s students.

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Close up: Wealthy Technology Czar Bankrolls Attack on Due-process Rights

A new article from the Huffington Post helps bring out of the shadows the Silicon Valley millionaire who is behind the latest legal assault on the time-tested processes that protect students and public schools from nepotism, favoritism, and cronyism.

The Post focuses on David Welch, the Silicon Valley electrical engineer who founded Infinera, a company working in fiber optics. It is Welch who hired top-dollar legal and public relations talent to help him win the notorious Vergara v. State of California lawsuit.

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Trial Underway for Meritless Lawsuit Targeting Teachers' Rights

The Vergara trial attacking due process for teachers facing dismissal, seniority/experience-factored layoffs, and the two-year probationary period began in Los Angeles this morning. After plaintiff attorneys opened by previewing a case they claim will show these teacher rights are unconstitutional, attorneys for the State of California, as well as attorneys for intervening parties CTA and CFT laid out strong arguments for why their case would show that the plaintiffs claims are completely without merit, and that these laws actually provide students with a quality, stable teaching force.

Students Matter, the shadowy organization behind this lawsuit, did not let a weak case stop them from pulling out all the stops for a huge noon press conference. Silicon Valley billionaire David Welch and lead attorneys and case plaintiffs all addressed the media, trying to make a case, where, frankly, there is none. Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin was on hand to lend support, showing the connection between some of the same groups of anti-union corporate education "reformers" and this case. Fortunately CFT President Josh Pechthalt and CTA Board members Leslie Littman and Toby Boyd were there to give educators a voice and to tell our side of this story.

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CTA/CFT to Intervene in Baseless, Meritless Lawsuit by Corporate Special Interests Attacking Teacher Professional Rights

The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers have filed a motion to intervene in litigation known as Vergara v. State of California — a lawsuit aiming to overturn due process protections for teachers. If upheld, this lawsuit will make it harder to attract and retain quality teachers in California’s schools. The lawsuit, filed by “Students Matter,” alleges that California Education Code provisions governing teacher dismissals, due process rights and layoffs are unconstitutional and should be eliminated.

“This lawsuit is baseless and meritless, and hurts student learning,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “It is the latest attempt by corporate special interests and billionaires to push their education agenda on California public schools. This time, in an effort to keep parents and educators out of education policy decisions, they are doing it through the courts. This lawsuit is trying to legislate from the bench and exclude meaningful input from parents, educators and lawmakers.”

The issues surrounding layoffs do not originate in Education Code provisions or local collective bargaining agreements, but in lack of funding. The real issues facing California’s students today are the lack of adequate resources, smaller class sizes, parental involvement and quality teacher training.

Hiding their agenda behind kids, “Students Matter” named eight kids in their lawsuit including 13-year-old Beatriz Vergara.

“The people who agreed to lend their names to this wrong-headed lawsuit are attempting to crowd out the voices of all other parents in California.  We should be working to bring students, parents and teachers together — not driving them apart. Legislation, informed by the experience and testimony of all members of the education community, is the best process for improving public education,” said CFT President Josh Pechthalt, parent of an eighth-grade student in the Los Angeles Unified School District. “The real agenda of this suit is to attack and weaken teachers and their unions in order to privatize public schools and turn them into profit centers for the corporate sponsors behind the lawsuit.”

The backers of this lawsuit include a “who’s who” of the billionaire boys club and their front groups.  Their goals have nothing to do width protecting students, but are really about undermining public schools.

If there are legitimate problems width education laws, they should be addressed through the legislative process where parents, educators and all community members can be heard, rather than through filing costly lawsuits.

CTA and CFT seek to ensure all stakeholders have input in education policy decisions and to protect the rights of educators. After all, the students are the ones most affected by any of these decisions and their voices must be heard.

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