CTA Intervenes to Join California in Defending Broad Attacks on Teachers
Lawsuit seeks to eradicate teacher’s due process rights and ability to obtain permanent status
- A group of wealthy corporate “reformers” filed a lawsuit May, 2012 in Los Angeles that seeks to invalidate longstanding and important due process protections for California’s educators.
- The lawsuit, Vergara v. State of California, alleges due process protections in the California Education Code governing teacher dismissals, attainment of permanent status, and layoffs are unconstitutional and should be eliminated.
- The case was brought by a group called Students Matter, founded by wealthy Silicon Valley businessman David Welch. The Advisory Committee for Students Matter includes organizations such as Michelle Rhee and her StudentsFirst organization as well as Parent Revolution.
- Students Matter asserts its purpose is to “dismantle” the permanent status, dismissal, and layoff statutes so that administrators will have much more “flexibility to take teacher effectiveness into account when making employment decisions about teachers.”
- The lawsuit names eight students as plaintiffs, including 13-year-old Beatriz Vergara, and is brought against the State of California.
- The lawsuit asks the court to declare due process protections and seniority provisions in the challenged statutes are unconstitutional, both on their face and as applied, because they allegedly force school districts to retain “grossly ineffective teachers” and thereby violate students’ rights to equal protection under the law. The lawsuit goes so far as to allege the permanent classification statute and other challenged statutes treat students differently based on their race and their parents’ wealth.
- As stated on the Students Matter website, “Students Matter is a national non-profit organization dedicated to sponsoring impact litigation to promote access to quality public education.” The name of their group is misleading by nature as it is more of an “ambulance-chaser” group seeking business on the backs of California’s teachers and students.
- CTA and CFT intervened to become defendants in the case because it is imperative to actively participate in the legal proceedings in support of students and the teaching profession.