Share This Page

Calif. teacher tenure ruling spurs other states to sue

| Friday, July 11, 2014, 7:48 p.m.

NEW YORK — A month after a California judge ruled that job protections for teachers violated children's constitutional rights, one lawsuit making the same claim has been filed in New York, another has been announced and critics of teacher tenure in other states say they are preparing litigation as well.

The June ruling in California has been stayed pending appeal and may never take effect, but critics of teacher unions are seizing on the idea of using the courts to weaken union power and thus try to improve schools.

Mona Davids, president of the parent group that filed the New York lawsuit targeting teacher tenure last week, called educational inequity “a crisis of epic proportions.” She said New York City neighborhoods that are mostly black and Latino have the schools with the highest concentration of teachers rated unsatisfactory.

“Yet,” Davids said, “every attempt to hold teachers accountable for educating our children is blocked.”

The California ruling struck down state laws dictating how long it takes for a teacher to earn tenure as well as rules that protect senior teachers during layoffs. The plaintiffs argued that such job protections mean that poor and minority schools are staffed disproportionately by bad teachers, which violates students' rights.

Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president, said the lawsuits “mean a continuation of the artificial division that in order for students to win, teachers must lose.”

Another group, the Partnership for Educational Justice, founded by former CNN newswoman Campbell Brown, says it soon will file an anti-tenure lawsuit in New York.

And parent activists in Connecticut and Pennsylvania say they are in the early stages of preparing similar lawsuits.

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.