Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

Controversies

Calif. Gov. Brown appeals judge's ruling that struck down teacher tenure

tenure_suit.jpg

FILE: Jan. 27, 2014: California public school students suing the state to abolish its teacher tenure laws, at a press conference in Los Angeles. (AP)

California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is appealing a recent state judge’s ruling that ends tenure and other union protections for public school teachers.

The appeal was filed late Friday and argues that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rulf Treu’s final ruling lacks detail and fails to provide the legal basis for his decision.  

Treu issued the final ruling Thursday, after tentatively ruling in June that tenure protections for California teachers violate the state constitution, depriving some of the state's 6.2 million students of a quality education, specifically minorities and those from low-income families.

The lawsuit, Vergara v. California, was brought by Beatriz Vergara and eight other students who said they were saddled with teachers who let classrooms get out of control, came to school unprepared and in some cases told them they'd never make anything of themselves.

Teachers and their lawyers argue the laws protect teachers from getting fired on a whim. They also argue the system preserved academic freedom and helps attract talented teachers to a profession that doesn't pay well.

Brown’s appeal states that school districts were for "unclear and unexplained" reasons dismissed from the lawsuit, which means the court's decision "applies only to parties that have no role or duties under the challenged lawsuits."

The appeal also criticizes Treu for simply making his tentative decision final, instead of elaborating and expanding on the tentative ruling in June.

California's Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who was among those named in a lawsuit, asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris to file the appeal because he lacked the legal authority.

The state's two biggest teacher unions are also expected to file an appeal, according to The Los Angeles Times. 

The trial represented the latest battle in a nationwide movement to toughen the standards for granting teachers permanent employment protection and seniority-based preferences during layoffs.

Students in New York recently filed a high-profile suit similar to the one in California.

And dozens of states, including Louisiana and New Jersey, have moved in recent years to get rid of such protections or raise the standards for obtaining them.

Judge Treu has declined to tell the state Legislature exactly how to change the system, but he has expressed confidence it will do so in a way that passes constitutional muster.

Torlakson also says the ruling isn't supported by facts or law and is too vague to guide state lawmakers in making alterations.

Torlakson, who has union backing as he seeks reelection this fall, said teachers were being blamed unfairly for failings in the educational system.

"We do not fault doctors when the emergency room is full,” he said. We do not criticize the firefighter whose supply of water runs dry. Yet while we crowd our classrooms and fail to properly equip them with adequate resources, those who filed and support this case shamelessly seek to blame teachers who step forward every day to make a difference for our children."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.