Phil Matier: Will Republicans Capitalize on California’s Teacher Tenure Ruling?
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A ruling against teacher tenure brought by students who contend they have a right to quality teachers could transform how Sacramento approaches K-12 education.
The lawsuit— Vergara v. California had nine plaintiffs, three of whom are from the Bay Area that claimed they were saddled with teachers who let their classrooms get out of control, came to school unprepared and in some cases, told them they’d never make anything of themselves.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled California’s tenure protections were unconstitutional based on arguments and that all students are entitled to equal education opportunities.
The whole issue of tenure is the bedrock of any union. It’s actually less than two years when a teacher’s tenure is granted. It actually comes in at about 18 months. Under California rules sometimes teachers are granted tenure before they’re even certified as qualified teachers.
Republican candidate for California Governor Neel Kashkari has already come out and sided with this decision while the governor himself, Jerry Brown has pretty much kept silent on the issue.
In California education is one of the more popular issues at the polls. There have been pressures on charter schools and public schools and a lot of it has hinged on the quality of the teachers. Of course everyone wants good teachers for kids.
Even the witnesses in this trial said the number of “grossly ineffective” teachers in the state ranges from 2,700 to about 8,200. If you’re backing the teachers and their tenure, that’s not a number that you want floating out there.
With the upcoming elections the Republicans are going to latch on to this and the Democrats are going to try to stay in the woodwork because the whole case brings up issues about our legislation and the lawmakers behind it.
It should be interesting to see what state Attorney General Kamala Harris does because she’s getting major backing from the California Teachers Association. Will she file an appeal to the judge’s ruling claiming that it’s invalid?
The teachers’ union is very powerful in Sacramento and they’ve donated millions of dollars to candidates. They’ve even backed Tom Torlakson as the State Superintendant of Public Instruction in last week’s primary election.
The unions will probably want this to stay in the courts and go on to appeal saying the ruling is not good for students or teachers. One thing is for sure that the case is bringing up some very important issues in California’s education system. The judge has found that a disproportionate number of inexperienced teachers are at the low-performing schools. That’s why many are calling this a game changer; for once we’re seeing arguments being the deciding factor rather than money.