Judge strikes at heart of teachers’ union powers with anti-tenure ruling

A California judge’s ruling that strikes down union-guaranteed job security for even the lamest teachers could mean a new beginning for public schools in the Golden State and around the country.

Photo: Thefederalistpapers.org

The case, Vergara v.  California, was brought by nine students who argued that work rules and tenure negotiated by teachers unions that required districts to follow a seniority system rather than effectiveness when making layoff decisions amounted to discrimination against students in poor, predominantly minority classrooms, according to the Los Angeles Times.

They were saddled with incompetent or burned-out teachers with no recourse, thanks to the powerful teachers unions.

The lawsuit itself was a beautiful thing, really.

The traditional Democrat constituency of poor minorities goes to war with the Democrat powerhouse of organized labor in so-called education and wins on the grounds of discrimination. Even better — irony of ironies – one of the law firms involved in defeating the teaching behemoth helped overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage.

The ruling is almost certain to be appealed, but as  Tim Cavanaugh, National Review Online news editor noted,   if it’s upheld it could set a new standard throughout California – and possibly the rest of the country.

According to Judge Rolf M. Treu, it wasn’t even c lose.

Even witnesses who defended the seniority system actually damned it, according to the Times report.

One estimated that no more than 1 to 3 percent of LA teachers are “grossly ineffective.” Doesn’t sound too bad until those numbers pan out to  between 2,750 and 8,250 individual teachers who are screwing up God knows how many kids’ lives for God knows how many years of tenured security.

And that’s their defense!

Such a system imposes “a real and appreciable impact on students’ fundamental right to equality of education,” Treu wrote. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

It doesn’t shock the conscience of a teachers’ union.

Treu “fell victim to the anti-union, anti-teacher rhetoric of one of America’s best corporate law firms,” California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthal told the Times. “What this continues to do is promote an anti-teacher narrative.”

If it promotes an anti-teacher narrative that considers teachers unions the basest of the self-serving interest groups that make up the Democrat base, we’re off to a good start. Let’s face it, compared to teachers unions, trial lawyers look noble.

If the ruling survives the forthcoming appeals and forces public education to become more than a vehicle for secure retirements for teachers and secure offices for the Democrats they elect, it could be a new beginning indeed.


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