The state of education: A necessary slap
A ruling that teacher tenure and layoffs by seniority violate the California Constitution deals a sharp, much-needed blow to laws and practices that put the interests of teachers before those of students.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu compared Vergara v. California to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education racial-segregation case. He wrote that Brown was about the right of students “to equality of the educational experience” and Vergara is about their right to “quality of the educational experience.”
He ruled that California violates public school students' constitutional right to equal education by granting teachers tenure — after just two years — that makes firing even the worst practically impossible; by disregarding effectiveness with “last in, first out” teacher layoffs; and by disproportionately assigning ineffective teachers to predominantly minority and low-income schools. He said the “compelling” evidence “shocks the conscience” — but self-interested teachers unions quickly vowed they'd appeal anyway.
Their appeal deserves to do what too many students trapped in classrooms with bad teachers do: fail. That would encourage similar challenges elsewhere — Pennsylvania grants teachers lifelong tenure after three years — by Student Matters, the group funded by a Silicon Valley millionaire that backed Vergara's nine student plaintiffs. Judge Treu's ruling gives hope to parents, students and taxpayers nationwide who rightly believe their interests outweigh those of teachers unions.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.