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Teacher tenure still under attack

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A Los Angeles Superior Court judge, Rolf Treu, issued a tentative decision in a lawsuit known as Vergara vs. California, regarding tenure rules in California. In his tentative decision, Treu found in favor of Vergara.

Headlines in several newspapers read 'Tenure Rules Unconstitutional in California" or some variation of that. It is important to note that the 9 students who are involved in the lawsuit didn't actually sue California out of the blue. It seems to be the result of a lawsuit looking for someone to front it.

The lawsuit challenged how teachers achieve tenure, how they may be terminated, and seniority rules.

It doesn't take a genius to know that getting rid of a teacher for cause is a long and expensive process in this state. It is because of a simple thing called "due process". Can it be streamlined? Undoubtedly. Should it be? Again, undoubtedly. No one wants ineffective teachers in the classroom. That is a given.

Teachers in this state gain tenure, which is not a guarantee of lifetime of employment, as much as those who want to privatize the California school system want you to believe, after two years in the classroom. It simply means that to be fired, there has to be a legal reason to do so. It is in place to protect teachers from the whims and capricious actions that used to plague the public school system.

It wasn't that long ago that married women, and certainly pregnant women, weren't allowed to teach in public schools. Any teacher not towing the correct political line, or refusing to do any number of not so good things for those in power, were very likely to be fired. Yes, it is true.

The third issue in the suit is one of how teachers are pink slipped: newbies and rookies are let go before senior teachers are.

Who is actually behind this lawsuit? David Welch. He founded StudentsMatter, whose only goal seems to have been to find a school district and school children who could front the lawsuit that, it must be said, he filed.

This is a very involved story, one that will be followed here. It involves an enormous amount of money. Where do nine California public school students get $4 million+ to launch this type of lawsuit? From David Welch, who invented and funds StudentsMatter.

Capitall and Main has a very good article regarding Welch and the lawsuit. So does Southern California Public Radio , the Daily Kos, ValleyWag and many others. Oddly enough, their take on it is a bit different from what's presented on StudentsMatter.

It is suspicious, always, when very wealthy individuals, who have little or no connection to education, or to the communities they are "helping", pour vast amounts of money into altering the public school system. The system is always in need of improvement. People like David Welch don't do these things out of pure kindness. Follow the money. Always.

Do your own reading about this case. It isn't over yet, not by a long shot. Appeals will be filed. The preliminary ruling by Treu doesn't mean much right now. The true impact of his ruling won't be known for a long time.

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