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Breaking: California Judge Strikes Down LIFO, Tenure Protections
posted by: Alix | June 10, 2014, 07:36 PM   

In a victory for education reform in California, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled today that state laws governing teacher tenure protections are unconstitutional.

Gaining national media attention for months, Vergara v. California is considered a groundbreaking statewide education equality lawsuit sponsored by the California-based national nonprofit organization, Students Matter.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, nine California public school students, claimed the current teacher retention and dismissal system entrenches a small number of grossly ineffective teachers in the system and pushes out high-performing but less senior teachers, lowering the overall quality of the teacher workforce and denying students their right to equal access to quality education.

Judge Rolf Treu agreed with the lawsuit's claim that the laws disproportionately hurt poor and minority students. He struck down all five tenure laws as unconstitutional, leaving it to the state legislature to come up with alternatives. He also agreed to an injunction, keeping the laws in place during the appeals.

This decision is a step in the right direction for commonsense reform. While AAE doesn't support the outright elimination of tenure, members are embracing accountability measures like never before. Our members are in agreement that the current tenure system is not working and teachers should not be fired solely based on seniority. For example:

  • 81% of AAE teacher survey respondents do not believe tenure is necessary to perform their job effectively.
  • 80% of respondents disagree that achieving tenure indicates an effective teacher.
  • 77% of teachers do not support lay-offs solely based on seniority (Last in, First Out LIFO).

This decision is a chance for the state to pass tenure reforms that balance the needs of students with teachers' due process rights. Moving forward, AAE is happy to support a new system that properly honors teachers as professionals.

What do you think of this decision?
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