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Matthew Hedger
06/10/2014 2:57 PM

An L.A. judge has declared some key California teacher employment rules regarding tenure unconstitutional.

The decision by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu is a serious blow to teachers unions. Referencing landmark education equity cases like Serrano v Priest and Brown v Board of Education, Treu wrote that evidence of ineffective teachers running classrooms "shocks the conscience."

"All sides to this litigation agree that competent teachers are a critical, if not the most important, component of success of a child's in-school educational experience," Treu wrote.

Students Matter, he organization that brought the case, said it did so to because California students should have a fundamental right to a quality public education. Their attorneys argued that rules that keep ineffective teachers in the classroom deprive many of their constitutional right to a quality education.

National Education Association affiliates, the California Teachers Association, and the California Federation of Teachers, intervened in the case in what they say was an attempt to ensure schools can continue to attract and retain quality teachers in our classrooms and to give voice to systems that research and experience show are key factors in effective teaching.

“Just like the meritless lawsuit of Vergara v. State of California, the ruling by Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu is deeply flawed," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

"Today’s ruling would make it harder to attract and retain quality teachers in our classrooms and ignores all research that shows experience is a key factor in effective teaching. The National Education Association supports the California Teachers Association in its appeal of today’s decision.

“Let’s be clear: This lawsuit was never about helping students, but is yet another attempt by millionaires and corporate special interests to undermine the teaching profession and push their own ideological agenda on public schools and students while working to privatize public education. Research shows experience enhances teacher effectiveness and increases student productivity at all grade levels, and that ultimately contributes to better outcomes for students. Yet, today’s ruling hurts students and serves only to undermine the ability of school districts to recruit and retain high quality teachers," added Van Roekel.

“NEA will continue to stand up for students and focus on the ingredients that are proven to help students the most—like supporting new teachers, providing ongoing training, paying teachers a decent salary, and developing reliable evaluation systems to measure teacher effectiveness.”

The Amador Ledger Dispatch is seeking a local response to today's ruling.

Read the full story in the Friday, June 13, 2014 print edition of the Amador Ledger Dispatch, and online at ledger-dispatch.com

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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