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.