Credit: Alison Yin for EdSource Today

UPDATE:  Late Friday, Aug. 29,  California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a one page notice of appeal on behalf of Gov. Jerry Brown and the state indicating that the state will appeal the Vergara ruling. 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Friday asked the California attorney general to appeal the landmark court decision in Vergara vs. California, which in June struck down statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority.

The request comes two days after Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu affirmed his ruling in a final review Wednesday, triggering the 60-day window for filing appeals.

After a two-month trial last spring in Los Angeles, Treu ruled that teacher protection laws disproportionately deny poor and minority students access to a quality public education. The judge agreed with the claims from nine students in five districts that teacher tenure and dismissal laws result in “grossly ineffective teachers” being hired and retained and that these teachers are “disproportionately situated in schools serving predominantly low-income and minority students.”

In a statement,  Torlakson said that the ruling unfairly “lays the failings of our education system” at the feet of teachers. Teachers deserve “our admiration and support,” Torlakson said.

After a two-month trial last spring in Los Angeles, Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled that teacher protection laws disproportionately deny poor and minority students access to a quality public education.

“We do not fault doctors when emergency rooms are full,” Torlakson said. “We do not criticize the firefighters 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 court’s ruling “is not supported by the facts or the law,” Torlakson said, stating that he would ask Attorney General Kamala Harris to file an appeal.

The case was filed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch, who founded the group known Students Matter to pursue the case on behalf of the nine students, including Beatriz Vergara, a high school student in the Los Angeles Unified School District who is the first plaintiff named in the lawsuit. Students Matter hired New York and Washington, D.C.-based lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous to make the case.

Treu agreed with evidence that poor students were disproportionately subject to the worst teachers in the state and ruled this is a violation of equal protection laws under the California constitution. While other constitutional law cases have addressed racial segregation and the lack of equality of opportunity, Treu wrote, the court is applying these constitutional principles to the “quality of the educational experience.”

In a statement following Treu’s finalization of his ruling on Wednesday, Boutrous said, “Judge Treu’s inescapable findings – that California’s teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoff statutes are harming students, and that poor and minority students are bearing the brunt of the harm – are supported by an overwhelmingly compelling trial record.”

Jim Finberg, a San Francisco-based lawyer who is representing the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, said the unions would be filing an appeal; he calculated the end of the 60-day deadline for appeals as Monday, Oct. 27.

“We have good grounds on appeal that the California equal protection law does not require the invalidation of these provisions of the California Education Code,” Finberg said, referring to provisions relating to when teachers are offered tenure, how teacher layoffs are handled and other employment matters.

Teacher employment laws promote academic freedom by protecting them from being fired “at will” by school boards, Finberg said. Without tenure and other protections, teachers “may not teach topics such as Islam or global warming that might be considered controversial,” he said.

Treu agreed to an injunction of his ruling, allowing existing laws to remain in place during the appeals process.

 


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  1. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    One of the consistent charges against teachers' unions is that they only criticize "reform"[sic] proposals and never put reform ideas forward. This is yet another unfounded criticisms of the unions. Both national unions, and the two CA state unions, put forth ideas about reform; however, since they do not follow the outlines of the self-styled reformers, or the conventional media narrative, they don't typically get much press. This is not to suggest that the unions … Read More

    One of the consistent charges against teachers’ unions is that they only criticize “reform”[sic] proposals and never put reform ideas forward. This is yet another unfounded criticisms of the unions. Both national unions, and the two CA state unions, put forth ideas about reform; however, since they do not follow the outlines of the self-styled reformers, or the conventional media narrative, they don’t typically get much press.

    This is not to suggest that the unions should not be critiquing the ideas that have been put forth from the self-styled reformers for over a decade. The unions are the democratically elected “voice” of the classroom teachers. As the National Research Council asserts, these test score and “incentive” based systems (e.g., NCLB and RTTT) have been abject failures that have not only not resulted in improved student learning, they have demeaned education by narrowing the curriculum.

    There are successful and genuine reform efforts going on in many school districts and they are characterized by cooperation between teachers, their unions and the respective district managements. These reforms do not always close the “achievement gap,” but they do narrow it significantly.

    It might be suggested that the lack of conflict between unions and management undercuts the conventional–guys in white hats (reformers) and guys in black hats (intransigent, status quo protecting, union bosses)–narrative that the media likes best, and that sells papers and TV ad time, so the public rarely hears about these efforts. “If it bleeds it leads,” and so stories about healing are, by definition, lacking.

    And let us also be clear, the agenda to undermine teachers and demonize their unions and its consequences; mass firings of teachers, turning schools over to private sector charter management companies, closing neighborhood schools, evaluating teachers based on student test scores, narrowing the very meaning of education to what can be measured on a test, expending scarce education dollars on expensive and untried technology, etc., etc., has been going on for over a decade. This ill-founded “movement” is the status quo. To oppose it is to be a reformer.

    As mentioned there are reform efforts that have demonstrated they work. Unions are involved in these efforts and support them. For a brief overview of a few of these efforts I offer this article from the education blog-The Answer Sheet-from the Washington Post:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/05/school-reforms-that-actually-work/

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      Gary, the teacher unions have been in control of education for decades and you've had plenty of time to strengthen leadership, develop more community ties and increase PD - the kinds of incremental changes you speak of in the WSJ Answer Sheet. After all these years with so little change to the manner in which we deliver public education that public is clamoring for more substantial reforms - longer and more school days, … Read More

      Gary, the teacher unions have been in control of education for decades and you’ve had plenty of time to strengthen leadership, develop more community ties and increase PD – the kinds of incremental changes you speak of in the WSJ Answer Sheet. After all these years with so little change to the manner in which we deliver public education that public is clamoring for more substantial reforms – longer and more school days, greater alternative school choice and including curricular and pedagogical options and greater focus on teacher quality. The unions stand in the way of these reforms, fighting them at every turn to protect their members at the expense of change. They disregard the legitimate concerns of parents for the education of their children, the reason why we have public schools – not created to employ teachers but to educate students. We parents might not have democratically elected representatives who are beholden to ours and our children’s interests as your unions have already bought and paid for the majority of the elected officials as was apparent in yesterday’s debate, but we can vote with our feet. You may think that we are all just dupes of the privitazation crowd, but more and more of us are tired of the total lock unions have on structural change. They see the need for more than the tired old reforms you suggest in your article. Reform isn’t just doing over the same old things that have failed in the past.

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      I should also respond to your hyperbolic assertions about "mass firings of teachers, turning schools over to private sector charter management companies, closing neighborhood schools..." With the large exception of New Orleans where have mass firing of teachers occurred? As for turning schools over to charter management companies, about 4% of American public school attend charters and only a portion of those schools are run by management corporations.(Personally, I don't believe any charter should operate for-profit,but … Read More

      I should also respond to your hyperbolic assertions about “mass firings of teachers, turning schools over to private sector charter management companies, closing neighborhood schools…”

      With the large exception of New Orleans where have mass firing of teachers occurred? As for turning schools over to charter management companies, about 4% of American public school attend charters and only a portion of those schools are run by management corporations.(Personally, I don’t believe any charter should operate for-profit,but this is up to the authorizers or legislatures to decide.) And most charter schools are new schools, not former traditional schools. Regarding your implication that closing neighborhood schools is part and parcel of the reformist agenda, much of this happened subsequent to consent decree rulings as part of integration-oriented assignment policies and NCLB after that. Here in SFUSD many schools in Bayview Hunter’s Point closed down long before even NCLB in order to force children of color into other schools. Many of those families resented the closing of their neighborhood schools along with banks and supermarkets and they left an opening for charter schools to fill the void.

  2. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    There’s no question that the research on socioeconomic factors historically attributed more of the achievement gap (as measured by test scores) to out-of-school factors than to in-school factors. But in the same fashion that overly simplistic “fixes” like firing bad teachers can be used in ways that ignore the complex socioeconomic causes that undoubtedly influence underachievement, so can SES be used over-simplistically as a causative factor. The Asian phenomenon of poor over-performing students illustrates … Read More

    There’s no question that the research on socioeconomic factors historically attributed more of the achievement gap (as measured by test scores) to out-of-school factors than to in-school factors. But in the same fashion that overly simplistic “fixes” like firing bad teachers can be used in ways that ignore the complex socioeconomic causes that undoubtedly influence underachievement, so can SES be used over-simplistically as a causative factor. The Asian phenomenon of poor over-performing students illustrates that the sociological component of SES is significant, maybe more so than poverty itself. Maybe this is reflective of individual will not subsumed by a deterministic idea of the human condition so implicit in the poverty rationale. But SES is often lumped together as one as though these factors are part of a package.

    Moreover, many of the outside factors so often correlated with poverty such as single parent households, inadequate parenting, lack of positive role models, lack of medical care, etc., are not strictly out-of-school factors per se. Neighborhood or regional poverty often is reflected in schools, too, as lack of sufficient facilities and lack of sufficient and well-trained teachers on staff. In turn this causes larger class sizes and less effective instruction.

    Whatever the negative consequences of low SES, schools can only marginally affect the home life causes of underperformance. This must lend even greater emphasis on the in-school factors such as inadequate funding as well as inadequate instructional quality. We can’t be corralled into thinking that children can’t learn because they are poor. At the same time any reformers who promote dismissing teachers as some kind of educational panacea ought to be ridden out of town. But teacher quality is a major consideration in all classrooms and even more so where students have greater needs.

    Teachers in poor AA and Latino dominated classrooms face two major hurdles to effective instruction – large numbers of students who exhibit endemic misbehavior that stymies learning and large numbers of students who are often far below basic in reading. If you add to these factors underperforming and understaffed instruction you have a perfect storm of negative consequences for learning.

    The structural causes of low performance are not strictly consigned to the home or the neighborhood. This is why the community approach to schooling has been embraced far and wide and not because its proponents believe they cannot succeed until socioeconomic inequities are no more, but rather because they know to overcome poverty students must succeed in school. The unions can continue to blame poverty while enthusiastic, motivated, well staffed and well trained administrators and teachers do some amazing work with historically underperforming students. Entrenched poverty is the excuse of some who want to protect the rights of teachers as defined by the statutes. Others will seek out improvement.

  3. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    The public health study attributes this life-expectancy gap to: inequities in income, wealth, and employment; inequities in availability of decent affordable housing; inequities in availability of transportation; inequities in air quality ( living in the Oakland flats means close proximity to industry and freeways); inequities in access to quality food (food deserts) as well as over-exposure to liquor stores; inequities in educational funding, access to pre-school and recruiting, retaining and training teachers; inequities in … Read More

    The public health study attributes this life-expectancy gap to: inequities in income, wealth, and employment; inequities in availability of decent affordable housing; inequities in availability of transportation; inequities in air quality ( living in the Oakland flats means close proximity to industry and freeways); inequities in access to quality food (food deserts) as well as over-exposure to liquor stores; inequities in educational funding, access to pre-school and recruiting, retaining and training teachers; inequities in the application of the criminal justice system; and, inequities community relationships and capacity building. It is a near 150 page report, well footnoted.

    Regardless of the reasonable sounding justifications for the “life-span gap” put forward in the report, and applying the “rationale” of Vergara, it is obvious that Oakland’s flatlands are plagued with “bad” nurses and doctors. But wait, some will say that doctors and nurses didn’t create the litany of conditions established by the department of health study for the “life-span gap.” (Note: Pretty much the same litany of conditions cited by experts that create the “achievement-gap.”) Those worthy professionals only receive the unnaturally-unhealthy individuals who have been negatively impacted by social, economic, and environmental conditions and then do the best professional job they can to remedy the ailments of their patients. But! Is there a problem with labor and professional rights of health care professionals? Is this a case of “more excuses?” (Ask Michelle Rhee if anybody can find her nowadays.)

    The health professionals are unlike teachers who receive students living under those conditions because teachers’s due process rights and seniority rights do give them control over all of those social, economic, and environmental conditions. But, wait a minute, you might say. That doesn’t exactly follow logically or create a cause-and-effect relationship. How would labor rights statutes create all of the conditions related to kid’s severely shortened lifespans and low school achievement?

    Good question.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Gary, if you want to come up with macro arguments ad nauseum to defend the status quo, let's limit it to this. I support Vergara and changing LIFO because I personally saw terrible teachers protected for a lifetime, for decades. I know teachers I have heard from over 10 parents and over 10 kids that they are awful, with not a one strongly defending them, with all bad reviews online, who the union … Read More

      Gary, if you want to come up with macro arguments ad nauseum to defend the status quo, let’s limit it to this. I support Vergara and changing LIFO because I personally saw terrible teachers protected for a lifetime, for decades. I know teachers I have heard from over 10 parents and over 10 kids that they are awful, with not a one strongly defending them, with all bad reviews online, who the union defends like they were a noble cause like free speech or civil rights. I’ve personally had my son stuck with a series of subs because a teacher would not resign, and that teacher just got a new job at another school. I’ve seen the union aggressively defend Mark Berndt, fighting for him so he got 40k. I’ve seen good young teachers laid off so very mediocre teachers could be protected.

      Every time I say that I’m told it’s anecdotal, then I get a lecture on an anecdotal case of a teacher being fired for teaching global warming or islan which hasn’t even happened but which those who oppose Vergara fear might happen once somewhere someday.

      When you treat honest parents as delusional and tell them an element which is hurting their children doesn’t exist, you make enemies. I will always oppose LIFO because I have seen it damage children first hand. I’m not making it up, and I’m not delusional. Without LIFO, my children would have not been hurt in ways they were hurt.

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      Then you have articles such as today's in NY Times Magazine regarding Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy Charter Schools. Consistently stellar scores in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods, with one of her schools achieving 98% math proficiency where 95% of the students are Black or Latino. She wars with the NY teachers' union establishment and uses freedom in teacher selection and retention to achieve such results. It also sounds as though she … Read More

      Then you have articles such as today’s in NY Times Magazine regarding Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy Charter Schools. Consistently stellar scores in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods, with one of her schools achieving 98% math proficiency where 95% of the students are Black or Latino. She wars with the NY teachers’ union establishment and uses freedom in teacher selection and retention to achieve such results.

      It also sounds as though she may be a royal pain to work for and I’d want to hear privately from the teachers of such schools to see if what is going on is sustainable, and humane relative to the teachers.

      • el 2 years ago2 years ago

        In general, any time when you can have a small sample of the population, it's possible to get results well above the mean. The problem is those solutions don't scale because it's not possible for 100% of the kids to be above average. Fundamentally, individual teachers can't make a big difference for kids if the kids don't come to school 95% of the days and stay enrolled all year. Certain schools deal with that disproportionately... … Read More

        In general, any time when you can have a small sample of the population, it’s possible to get results well above the mean. The problem is those solutions don’t scale because it’s not possible for 100% of the kids to be above average.

        Fundamentally, individual teachers can’t make a big difference for kids if the kids don’t come to school 95% of the days and stay enrolled all year. Certain schools deal with that disproportionately… not so many transient students in La Cañada-Flintridge or even the Oakland Hills. It would be interesting to correlate school scores to the percentage of housing that is owned versus rentals.

        Any kind of charter school was a decision made by the parents to apply and to get their kids to that school, which is a leg up that some kids who attend public schools don’t have. That’s all aside from any other barriers that a particular school might create.

        I’m not against creaming out the most motivated kids into programs that concentrate them with motivated peers, as long as we all understand that that’s what we’re doing. Having observed my child and the kids of my friends, I think peers are very likely to be as important as teachers in a child’s successful education.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        You follow the NYT on the Iraq War issue? Even the editors admit they were gulled by the administration of that time along with a number of their reporters who took to publishing administration PR releases as "inside" information on WMDs and other fantasies. Newspapers go on crusades based on the premise that their editorial positions will sell papers, not that the positions are particularly on target or illuminating to the public. This of course can … Read More

        You follow the NYT on the Iraq War issue? Even the editors admit they were gulled by the administration of that time along with a number of their reporters who took to publishing administration PR releases as “inside” information on WMDs and other fantasies.

        Newspapers go on crusades based on the premise that their editorial positions will sell papers, not that the positions are particularly on target or illuminating to the public. This of course can be looked at as a “betrayal” of their protected 1st Amendment rights.

        The NY Times has been going down the path of Duncan/Rhee/Klein/Gates self-styled reform for a decade now. They are as on target with that as they were in their support for the Iraq War. And like the Iraq War, they will no doubt someday see the error of their ways and sing mea culpa, but a lot of damage will have been done by that time. Just like Iraq.

        It is interesting that some of the same people who espouse a disregard for the “liberal media” [sic] like to wave around exploitive editorials in the SF Chron or Sac Bee that allows the papers, like a number of politicians and oligarchs who pursue their own interests under the cover of “civil rights,” to assume the posture they support children’s interests while undermining the profession of people who have dedicated their professional lives to actually work with children day in and day out for substandard compensation in substandard working conditions. Ahh, the irony of the neo-liberals. The fact that newspapers are owned and controlled by huge corporate interests and then editorially parrot anti-union blather is mere coincidence.

        The subject of Eva Moscowicz and her charter school is a great one for people to research . See how this lady is raking in millions in tax payer dollars and betraying the interests of NY’s school children. The truth is out there. Folks just have to quit skimming the surface of complex issues and then jumping to conclusions.

  4. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    I have been looking at some new data to shed light on the justifications for, not just Vergara, but the whole self-styled education "reform" efforts currently afoot. After all, as the "reformers" assert, it is the teacher, singularly, who has the most impact on student achievement. We can disregard research done by CA's testing vendor, ETS, that only one third of test score variations in achievement are related to in-school factors and two thirds related to … Read More

    I have been looking at some new data to shed light on the justifications for, not just Vergara, but the whole self-styled education “reform” efforts currently afoot.

    After all, as the “reformers” assert, it is the teacher, singularly, who has the most impact on student achievement.

    We can disregard research done by CA’s testing vendor, ETS, that only one third of test score variations in achievement are related to in-school factors and two thirds related to home and community factors. That is obviously an “excuse,” because..well it is. In the same way Vergara established that poor teachers seem to drift to schools with disadvantaged students. There is no need to actually establish a causal explanation. This just …is.

    And a number of actual education experts, as differentiated from the self-styled “reformers,” have further quantified individual teacher inputs to achievement to be around 7% to 14%.

    Cynics will suggest that the concentration on teachers’ employment and due process rights are somehow a focus on the 7% to 14% “tail” to divert attention from the 93% to 86% “dog” of educational achievement; but, again, that is obviously “excuse making” because otherwise the public would consider student’s backgrounds, health, housing, social support systems, low school funding, and other conditions disadvantaged students deal with and that just can’t be allowed. Pay no attention to the vast majority of reasons for low achievement hiding behind the curtain. Looking behind inconvenient curtains could cause uncomfortable feelings of societal guilt and detract from easy “solutions” like scapegoating teachers and demonizing unions. Can’t have that!

    A concentration on a single district can clarify some of these issues. Examining the Oakland district offers a good opportunity here. There is a 200 point API difference between White students and disadvantaged minority students. Even more interesting is the high and low scores are “clustered,” with the majority of high scoring schools being in the Oakland hills and low scores in the “flats.” Interestingly the clustering is aligned with average income levels too. A coincidence no doubt. It’s almost as if segregation was in evidence. Or, is this related to what Vergara asserts, and somehow “bad” teachers have all “lemon danced” into the most difficult schools and the “best” teachers have all exercised their rights under state statutes and migrated to the “easier-to-teach-at” wealthy schools?

    A parallel study about conditions in Oakland was undertaken by the Alameda Department of Public Health in “Life and Death from Unnatural Causes.” Perhaps even more alarming than low API scores and delayed high school graduation rates were the findings that disadvantaged minority students living on the Oakland flats had a life expectancy that was 15 years less than kids living in the Oakland hills. (Yes, fifteen years!)

    (Continued)

  5. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    In the LA Times article on the appeal Joshua Pechthalt ,president of the California Federation of Teachers, says, “This ruling says that education reform should be driven by how we fire teachers.” This is entirely untrue. It was a ruling on the constitutionality of the challenged statutes. Whether Pechthalt intended to speak literally or not, this sort of hyperbole is the standard reaction by the incensed left. These statutes were always considered sacrosanct and … Read More

    In the LA Times article on the appeal Joshua Pechthalt ,president of the California Federation of Teachers, says, “This ruling says that education reform should be driven by how we fire teachers.”

    This is entirely untrue. It was a ruling on the constitutionality of the challenged statutes. Whether Pechthalt intended to speak literally or not, this sort of hyperbole is the standard reaction by the incensed left. These statutes were always considered sacrosanct and the union was blindsided by the ruling. So Brown and Torlakson rush to the aid of the unions, their biggest backers and so the game goes. The union flexes its muscle and with the aid of the taxpayer funded offices of the Governor and DA make their appeal while simultaneously criticizing the corporate moguls for funding the students who brought this suit on behalf of the children of California. Brown’s going to win anyway, but this could bring Torlakson down as sentiment runs pro Vergara. Are the strongly Democratic voters of California misinformed by the corporate reformers who promulgate their ideas in the left- leaning media outlets? What’s the deal? How could the blue state of California become the model for rescinding long held teacher protections?

    In the Ed source article Finberg says, ” “We have good grounds on appeal that the California equal protection law does not require the invalidation of these provisions of the California Education Code,” and “teachers “may not teach topics such as Islam or global warming that might be considered controversial”.

    So what are the grounds? The First Amendment? This case hinged on teacher quality and dismissal, not on the First Amendment which does not need the five California teacher employment statutes in the 21st Century. Should we be expected to keep thousands of incompetent teachers on staff so that they can teacher (or not) controversial subjects like global warming and Islam? I just laughed when I read that. I don’t like to give advice to the opposition, but the union ought to reconsider its representation next time around.

    An interesting dialectic has emerged with this case. The status quo forces in the form of teacher unions has not taken kindly to the reformists usurpers of education policy. This case has pushed the backers of the statutes further into an anti-reform stance and they are spending their money protecting an unpopular status quo, making ridiculous claims about the First Amendment, while offering the public school children nothing in terms of an alternative to the reforms they reject. This has polarized the sides and has energized the reformers who know that the public may not understand all the nuances of the many education issues, but do know they want to see change. One can be for common core as change or against it as Federal overreach, but support this statutory reform either way. The students have had their day in court and, to the trepidation of unions, the protective wall is coming down.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Which side looks closed minded? Be honest. Which side sounds paranoid? Be honest.

  6. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    Gary, Treu's references to Serrano v. Preist and Brown v. Board are not there as "justifications" for his ruling but to acknowledge legal precedents exist for a student's fundamental interest in equal educational opportunity and, that being so, to determine the legal test upon which to make a ruling - which in this case was determined to be strict scrutiny. By the way a "fundamental interest" as referred to here is the highest level of … Read More

    Gary, Treu’s references to Serrano v. Preist and Brown v. Board are not there as “justifications” for his ruling but to acknowledge legal precedents exist for a student’s fundamental interest in equal educational opportunity and, that being so, to determine the legal test upon which to make a ruling – which in this case was determined to be strict scrutiny. By the way a “fundamental interest” as referred to here is the highest level of constitutional protection. I’m not an attorney so this is my layman’s understanding of it. I glossed over this point initially when I referred to it as backdrop or context, but it is much more. This means in part that if the plaintiffs demonstrate the statutes stand harm a student’s fundamental interest to equal educational opportunity, the defense has the burden to demonstrate a compelling reason not to strike down the statute because California’s unique legal system has a high level of scrutiny.

    You consistently claim the plaintiffs didn’t make their case while failing to understand that the burden fell heavily, too, upon the defense to make one. Additionally it meant that the problem of correlating student outcome with quality was just as much a problem for the defense as it was for the plaintiffs.

    You have verged on defaming the judge by referring to his mention of these significant and historical cases as somehow inappropriate – as if he was trying to walk in the shoes of giants for no good reason – implied vanity or jealousy perhaps. It was entirely appropriate and necessary for Treu to establish the case law as part of substantiating his test of strict scrutiny. Those precedents dealt with racial opportunity and financial opportunity. In those cases, the plaintiffs had to demonstrate how students suffered from lack of equal opportunity and the test was to prove the measure “below prevailing state standards”. In Vergara, because it hinges partially on teacher quality which is hard to quantify and more subjective, (unlike racial demographics or money), the bar was lowered to “real and appreciable” impact. At least that’s my interpretation of it. Many progressives are hailing that particular aspect of the ruling because it opens the door for all sorts of equality challenges for various advocates of equal opportunity – a standard harder to attain before Vergara, though the same legal context in California that requires a robust defense of the statute does not automatically establish a precedent as paramount in future cases.

    Gary, I’m sure at the time and up until now you hailed those precedents as progressive and humane victories. But now you stand in the way of a modern progressive victory as champion of the vested interests and the status quo. How things have changed. Whether you have aligned your opinions with your ideology in this case is unclear as your ideology seems conflicted between your supposed interest in the welfare of students and the needs of teachers to have bulletproof job protections.

    Replies

    • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

      Don, you are correct with your point regarding the precedents--they are appropriate for Treu's ruling and one should expect to see them in there. But take a look at those precedents. They are long 40-80 pages and they cite plenty of specific testimony and findings of the court and have footnotes galore. Now take a look at Treu's 16-page final ruling. It is filled with assumptions and generalizations and it is scant of actual evidence. … Read More

      Don, you are correct with your point regarding the precedents–they are appropriate for Treu’s ruling and one should expect to see them in there. But take a look at those precedents. They are long 40-80 pages and they cite plenty of specific testimony and findings of the court and have footnotes galore. Now take a look at Treu’s 16-page final ruling. It is filled with assumptions and generalizations and it is scant of actual evidence. Was that intended so it wouldn’t pass the appeals process?

      And do the courts really want Treu’s “aggressive” decision to stand for future precedents regarding education equity?

      Lawyers use the term bullet-proof or secure to describe a ruling like the five other precedents Treu cited. From what I’ve read from the experts and from what my daughter has stated about it, Treu’s decision is extremely vulnerable. In addition, beyond the teacher issues, Treu’s decision creates a fairly low bar for determining equity issues regarding education in California. That might be a good thing with regard to getting adequate funding, but it also grossly opens the door to many other excessive equity issues that we probably do not want, too. Where would it stop? While the latter point is not one that the appeals process will explicitly address, it is one that will weigh heavy upon their minds.

      I say these things agreeing with you to a point that “uber” due process protections should be examined and possibly streamlined, if possible, and that we could (not necessarily should because it is a rare occurrence) add another qualifier to LIFO.

      • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

        The Chronicle caught this issue yesterday of people poring through decisions or ballot measures looking for dishonest arguments to nitpick about. Torlakson nitpicked that the judge failed to outline a corrective action. The Chronicle referred to his comments as "maddeningly amusing" and wonders, "does anyone doubt that his objections would be at least as strong if the judge tried to dictate the corrective action?" The fact is that for all the complaints, there is … Read More

        The Chronicle caught this issue yesterday of people poring through decisions or ballot measures looking for dishonest arguments to nitpick about. Torlakson nitpicked that the judge failed to outline a corrective action. The Chronicle referred to his comments as “maddeningly amusing” and wonders, “does anyone doubt that his objections would be at least as strong if the judge tried to dictate the corrective action?”

        The fact is that for all the complaints, there is no way, not a single one, True could have ruled for the plaintiffs without having a similar argument used against him. In fact if he had done so, we’d be hearing about how his proposal was wrong. Treu is in a Catch-22 situation.

        Why doesn’t anyone want to simply consider what will lead to the best education for children? I’m sure the answer is not firing at will, but I’m sure it also would not be the status quo. Can anyone say with a straight face they believe the current LIFO and Seniority system is best for children? I’d love to see Gary connected to a lie detector machine while he said this. I doubt he’d pass.

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          Flloyd, It really isn't nit-picking. Regardless for how Treu's decision went, for or against whatever, he simply did not support and pad the ruling to stand up against the appeals process, nor is it rigorous enough to be used as precedent for future cases. And secondly, does the court system really want to circumvent the legislature here and potentially create a low bar for all education equity issues? Consider this question fully. None of these … Read More

          Flloyd,

          It really isn’t nit-picking. Regardless for how Treu’s decision went, for or against whatever, he simply did not support and pad the ruling to stand up against the appeals process, nor is it rigorous enough to be used as precedent for future cases.

          And secondly, does the court system really want to circumvent the legislature here and potentially create a low bar for all education equity issues? Consider this question fully.

          None of these points have anything to do with public opinion, nor do they address what is “right” or what I think is “right” about the ruling, nor do they address the topics that the ruling falls under. They address the writing of the document itself. The appeals process will look at the court findings and pay close attention to the final ruling document itself. They will not call the judge up and ask him about his ruling. They will go by what was written. My guess is that they will see a lazy document. And so my question is this: What it deliberate?

      • el 2 years ago2 years ago

        I think EdSource could do a real service by talking with some administrators and others familiar with the due process dismissal process and starting a conversation about how the process really works now (both in large and small districts) and what areas are especially cumbersome and frustrating. First, because I think even among administrators, there are many who do not understand that it is possible to use the process effectively, and second, because I think … Read More

        I think EdSource could do a real service by talking with some administrators and others familiar with the due process dismissal process and starting a conversation about how the process really works now (both in large and small districts) and what areas are especially cumbersome and frustrating. First, because I think even among administrators, there are many who do not understand that it is possible to use the process effectively, and second, because I think there are some real improvements that could be made that would benefit everyone: administrators, teachers, students, and school boards alike. (I recall for example from a comment that an issue was getting a matching credential for the hearing for teachers in certain obscure areas, and a suggestion that that matching credential requirement could be relaxed.) But we need to be talking about the specifics and no one ever does.

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          I fully agree, El.

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        I don't know what background you have in law, but I believe you are making some fundamental errors in your reasoning for believing that Treu's ruling won't stand up to review. I have made some efforts to understand the appeals process in California and while this doesn't make me an expert by a long shot, the knowledge gleaned stands in stark contrast to your assertions about judicial review. The court's own explanation is … Read More

        I don’t know what background you have in law, but I believe you are making some fundamental errors in your reasoning for believing that Treu’s ruling won’t stand up to review. I have made some efforts to understand the appeals process in California and while this doesn’t make me an expert by a long shot, the knowledge gleaned stands in stark contrast to your assertions about judicial review. The court’s own explanation is one of the best and, ironically, one of the shortest I read. Sometimes brevity is good. I suggest you take a look here.

        http://www.courts.ca.gov/12431.htm

        The appeals court will render a decision based upon the evidence on record, not based upon the amount of citation of such evidence in the ruling.

        You will see the three common standards of review, the 2nd and 3rd being the most likely. The appellate court will look at the record and decide, based upon the evidence presented (and no new evidence can be presented) if the judge came to a reasonable conclusion. The judges may not even agree with the conclusion as long as the record provides evidence for the ruling.

        The fact that the judge did not present a long detailed explanation of the ruling is not the issue, even if you and others want to make it one. Treu sat in court and listened to the testimony. He can make a longer or shorter ruling. They will make their own appraisal of the findings. It isn’t as if they make their decision based upon what they read in the ruling.

        Also, though Gary and some others would like to portray Treu as biased and inept, do you really believe that the judge would damage his decision by failing to provide more lengthy analysis if the lack of a lengthy and reasoned analysis was grounds for striking down? This case is way too important for an amateur ruling. The judge had ample to rule and he heard the critics claims that the ruling cited to little evidence or legal doctrine and was too short. If those were authentic issues that would prejudice appellate review, the final ruling would have been quite different. I think we can assume that these people are not country bumpkins and they have a good idea of what they’re doing.

        That the judges decision was brief doesn’t imply that the evidence was. As pertains to the ruling itself this saying applies – “the absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence”.

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          I agree with you about no new evidence, Don. I've even stated that on this site before. If you thought I implied differently, it certainly was not my intention. You may also be right about the ruling. My own experience is vastly limited: I am a retired composition/rhetoric professor and a retired principal. The knowledge I have comes from my district attorney daughter and from two law profs at my old alma mater (certainly … Read More

          I agree with you about no new evidence, Don. I’ve even stated that on this site before. If you thought I implied differently, it certainly was not my intention.

          You may also be right about the ruling. My own experience is vastly limited: I am a retired composition/rhetoric professor and a retired principal. The knowledge I have comes from my district attorney daughter and from two law profs at my old alma mater (certainly second source material where the two may indeed be telling me what they think I want to hear and not what is actually there; friends and family members sometimes do that). I do have a strong eye for spotting assumptions and generalizations, though, so your reading is demonstratively different from my own.

          Perhaps, as you state, we are in a new era now, where brevity, persuasive appeal, and generalizations are the new and better norm and where footnoting and bulletproofing are unnecessary. Isocrates did it a long time ago with gusto, so it might be coming back as the new normal. I guess we will see what we see.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            To the "vengeful Celtic goddess:" For someone with actual legal expertise: "My impression as someone who has read more opinions in education rights cases than I care to remember is that, while this presentation of the supposed harmful impact and resulting unconstitutionality of the statutes checks all the appropriate boxes, the analysis is neither deep nor convincing." It was written by Kevin Welner, the director of the National Education Policy Center, is an attorney and a professor education … Read More

            To the “vengeful Celtic goddess:”

            For someone with actual legal expertise:

            “My impression as someone who has read more opinions in education rights cases than I care to remember is that, while this presentation of the supposed harmful impact and resulting unconstitutionality of the statutes checks all the appropriate boxes, the analysis is neither deep nor convincing.”

            It was written by Kevin Welner, the director of the National Education Policy Center, is an attorney and a professor education policy at the University of Colorado Boulder.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            SacBee Editorial: "Teacher protections that hurt students are indefensible – unless you’re state’s top education official" http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/04/6676665/editorial-teacher-protections.html Scathing article by the SacBee editorial board on Torlakson and Brown.Great read by reasonable people who understand how things work in the Sacramento. Or could they be just a bunch of ill-informed nitwits who don't know jack about politics, education, campaigns and news cycles, - you know, all the people who don't agree with the unions and their paid … Read More

            SacBee Editorial: “Teacher protections that hurt students are indefensible – unless you’re state’s top education official”

            http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/04/6676665/editorial-teacher-protections.html

            Scathing article by the SacBee editorial board on Torlakson and Brown.Great read by reasonable people who understand how things work in the Sacramento. Or could they be just a bunch of ill-informed nitwits who don’t know jack about politics, education, campaigns and news cycles, – you know, all the people who don’t agree with the unions and their paid off staff of government officials at the very top of government..

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            Since we are heading into these deep waters of implied ridicule, consider the following:

            Why is it when someone agrees with another, that person is “reasonable,” but when someone disagrees with another that person is an “ill-informed nit-wit”? Does it truly help to do anything other than confirm one’s bias?

  7. George Buzzetti 2 years ago2 years ago

    This case was never properly presented it looks to me like amateurs or bought and sold to mess it up with improper arguments. First, what right do administrators have to do this to teachers when they are allowed to break the law and mess up all the time and nothing happens to them. How about "Fair for One, Fair for All?" Administrators spend the money, determine curriculum and how it will be … Read More

    This case was never properly presented it looks to me like amateurs or bought and sold to mess it up with improper arguments. First, what right do administrators have to do this to teachers when they are allowed to break the law and mess up all the time and nothing happens to them. How about “Fair for One, Fair for All?” Administrators spend the money, determine curriculum and how it will be taught, assign teachers, like the ones in the suit just so they could have the suit. Administrators are never held accountable for their many times they have broken the child abuse laws. Why are they allowed to illegally falsely charge teachers with crimes like child abuse for no reason that is real? After all I had this audited by the California State Auditor in 1997, it is Oct. 1997, 96121. No one did anything when nothing changed. Stupid teachers and their union to me. Same with Schiff-Bustamente. It was my investigation of $2.5 billion over 10 years budgeted and not spend in textbooks and instructional materials and supplies that led to the L.A. Times article “In a Book Bind” and then Schiff and Bustamente put up the legislation. Teachers still give me hell because I helped them. That is messed up by them.

    I could argue this case and as usual wipe out the lawyers who do not do real work. Very hard to find a real lawyer. Example: I have many school districts in this state who have illegally bought electronic devices to replace textbooks with school construction bonds. This is illegal due to the argument in the Bill Lockyear 2004 A.G. Opinion backed up by two U.S. Supreme Court Decisions. The reason no lawyer will come forward and make maybe a billion dollars is they are afraid. Imagine that. I have seen this before when i was at a major lawyer training with major law professors from both sides and when I brought up Richard Fine and what they did to him you have never seen more so called big wigs need depends including the professors. When I said to them they did it to him and they can do it to you. They froze. We live in Nazi Fascist Amerika in reality. Want to try to argue the point. You lose as you are delusional to the facts on the ground.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      OK so they shouldn't have done the lawsuit at all to avoid your theoretical criticisms based on the worst possible scenario. You're so right, the right thing would have been to accept the status quo. The real problem in this state isn't that education has dropped from #1 to #48 in half a century, it's that fascist thugs want to fire teachers. Parents who claim teachers aren't doing well are delusional or … Read More

      OK so they shouldn’t have done the lawsuit at all to avoid your theoretical criticisms based on the worst possible scenario. You’re so right, the right thing would have been to accept the status quo. The real problem in this state isn’t that education has dropped from #1 to #48 in half a century, it’s that fascist thugs want to fire teachers. Parents who claim teachers aren’t doing well are delusional or making it up. Teachers with 20 straight bad reviews on ratemyteacher.com are noble liberal heroes fighting for children, and so are the 11% who called in sick the Tuesday before Thanksgiving simply because they could. Under 100 were fired in 10 years, but we should be more concerned with this than bad teachers keeping a job for decades.

      If we have to live up to your standards of perfect argument, we’d have to wait forever.

      By the way, the lawsuit won.

      Let me ask you this, when you read the lawsuit was there a 0.1% chance of you saying it was a good argument? Tell the truth! I bet you were already predisposed to nitpick and were going to criticize it no matter what. Be honest, was there a 1% chance you would read it and say, they have a point, some children are suffering due to the difficulty of firing bad teachers? No way, you made your mind up first. You are probably on the payroll. Your heart is definitely in the wrong place if you have this much passion for a theoretical person fired and no passion for the thousands of children suffering due to LIFO and perfectly healthy teachers calling in sick or absent just because they can.

  8. FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

    I would propose the following as an appeal. Brown, Harris, Torlakson and Finberg all connect to a lie detector test and respond as to whether or not they truly believe there is even a 1% chance of the following scenario happening: "Teacher employment laws promote academic freedom by protecting them from being fired “at will” by school boards, Finberg said. Without tenure and other protections, teachers “may not teach topics such as Islam or global … Read More

    I would propose the following as an appeal. Brown, Harris, Torlakson and Finberg all connect to a lie detector test and respond as to whether or not they truly believe there is even a 1% chance of the following scenario happening:

    “Teacher employment laws promote academic freedom by protecting them from being fired “at will” by school boards, Finberg said. Without tenure and other protections, teachers “may not teach topics such as Islam or global warming that might be considered controversial,” he said.

    They keep trotting out the worst case scenario possible to maintain a status quo of bad teachers staying on the job for decades.

  9. Mr. Ed 2 years ago2 years ago

    1. If this ruling were to stand it would do the opposite of what they were trying to do. With tenure gone, teachers would be free to switch districts and the best teachers would move to the safer, nicer neighborhoods. Poorer, inner city areas would still be only able to attract beginning teachers with no track record of success.

    2. Tenure protects teachers from dishonest citizens.

  10. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    It is not “the same old limp ruling” if you read both. The final ruling, while straightforward and concise, provides more specificity to the analysis for findings of unconstitutionality. Chetty’s study doesn’t even figure in any of the three findings and is only cited to demonstrate, in general, how the statutes could affect lifetime earnings. It is an entirely dispensable in regard to Treu’s findings of unconstitutionality and is only used as a backdrop … Read More

    It is not “the same old limp ruling” if you read both. The final ruling, while straightforward and concise, provides more specificity to the analysis for findings of unconstitutionality. Chetty’s study doesn’t even figure in any of the three findings and is only cited to demonstrate, in general, how the statutes could affect lifetime earnings. It is an entirely dispensable in regard to Treu’s findings of unconstitutionality and is only used as a backdrop and for context.
    The ruling on the Permanent Employment or Two-Year Statute is the most straightforward in that the timeline for tenure is nonsensical. Even Torlakson, who wants to appeal, wants more time to be able to make informed decisions on tenure. Treu lays out an inescapable case for the faulty timeline for tenure decisions imposed upon administrators . Even State’s defendants agreed. Treu points out that the rush to makes high stakes tenure decision is nonsensical and he goes step-by-step through the reasons why. It is an excellent analysis and will be well-received.
    The finding for the Dismissal Statute was no less compelling. One does not have more of a property right than another. If Skelly is constitutional and functions to provide classified employees their due process rights, their civil recourse notwithstanding, why should students suffer from ineffective teachers as a result of burdensome, time-consuming and costly mandated procedures to dismiss certificated staff? Again, Treu didn’t need to provide a long detailed argument against the defenses case because they provided so little in court to defend the Dismissal Statute.
    The LIFO Statute is the most egregious of the three because of the patently unethical nature of firing competent teachers and retaining incompetent ones as a matter of law.It makes of a mockery of a child’s education as secondary to the rights of adults. You might as well beat children over the head and walk away with impunity. This is the shortest of the findings, because both parties agreed there are incompetent teachers in the range of 1-3% and that incompetent teachers adversely affect student outcomes as good teachers positively affect outcomes. There is no question then that removing good teachers as a matter of course during layoffs is a loss to students as is retaining poor teachers.The statute is unconstitutional on its face as it is an abuse of equal educational opportunity.
    But, I know,it’s all about poverty and lack of funding – the same old tired excuses to rationalize doing nothing until California once again is the Golden State..

    Replies

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      "The LIFO Statute is the most egregious of the three because of the patently unethical nature of firing competent teachers and retaining incompetent ones as a matter of law." Exceptionally well put, Don. There is a doctrine of constitutional law that should apply directly to the unfairness of the LIFO statute, the Irrebuttable Presumption Doctrine, which may be stated as follows: "In simplest form, the doctrine of irrebuttable presumption provides that if a legislative … Read More

      “The LIFO Statute is the most egregious of the three because of the patently unethical nature of firing competent teachers and retaining incompetent ones as a matter of law.”

      Exceptionally well put, Don. There is a doctrine of constitutional law that should apply directly to the unfairness of the LIFO statute, the Irrebuttable Presumption Doctrine, which may be stated as follows:

      “In simplest form, the doctrine of irrebuttable presumption provides that if a legislative classification is imperfect in that it sweeps either too broadly or too narrowly, the classification violates due process unless the presumption created by the classification is rebuttable.”

      Those who argue so stridently for the “due process” rights of older tenured teachers with lots of seniority seem to have absolutely no concern for the important due process rights of the younger teachers arising from this constitutional principle under LIFO.

      The LIFO statute creates an “irrebuttable presumption” to the effect that every older teacher with lots of seniority is a better teacher and should be retained relative to any teacher with less seniority when layoffs are necessary. This violates the due process rights of the younger and less senior teachers who are laid off. Younger teachers are denied due process because no matter how much better the younger teacher is, and no matter how bad a senior teacher is, nobody involved is allowed to present proof or vary the outcome which requires the firing of the younger teacher and the retention of the senior teacher.

      In the world of teachers, some are much more equal than others. Some have due process rights; some have none. Some get paid twice as much as others in the same school, even though the one being paid less might be a better teacher than the one being paid twice as much. Even though both work the same hours and have the same class size and the same amount of ADA money is received by the district for each class.

      Laws like LIFO are archaic vestiges of unfairness from an era when unfairness was institutionalized, an era when women were paid less than men for the same work, when Blacks were segregated and subjected to official discrimination. LIFO makes assumptions about less senior teachers relative to more senior teachers. The more senior teachers are always better, more valuable, the less senior are always worse and are allowed no due process to show otherwise.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        The "LIFO" statutes never got even one new teacher laid off. The recent deluge of pink-slips was created by CA's chronic school underfunding compounded by the Wall Street created economic collapse. So all of the "accountability hounds" should be calling for the symbolic heads of various banks investment firms, rating agencies, hedge funds, etc., etc. that really created the problems. The issue of evaluating teacher effectiveness has been dealt with. To get to the point, CA … Read More

        The “LIFO” statutes never got even one new teacher laid off. The recent deluge of pink-slips was created by CA’s chronic school underfunding compounded by the Wall Street created economic collapse. So all of the “accountability hounds” should be calling for the symbolic heads of various banks investment firms, rating agencies, hedge funds, etc., etc. that really created the problems.

        The issue of evaluating teacher effectiveness has been dealt with. To get to the point, CA doesn’t have an evaluation system that does that. Putting one in place is going to be an expensive proposition that is unlikely to fly until progressive forces can change the state’s revenue stream to the point it is fair and adequately supports schools and other services. Prop 30 started that ball rolling, but there’s a long way to go. School management has a long history of arbitrary and capricious treatment of employees and it would be an abdication of the teachers’ unions fiduciary responsibilities to advocate for less than the most fair way to structure layoffs: by seniority. That being said, the law provides that school boards can protect what they deem to be critically important personnel by a simple procedure of identifying the qualifications of those people and they are “skipped” in layoffs regardless of seniority.

        The most reliable criteria for assessing teachers effectiveness is experience. And “effectiveness” extends beyond test scores on tests we are now abandoning because the are so ineffective at measuring student learning, let alone teacher effectiveness.

        In the mean time, CA continues to have two key problems: 1) relatively few people are entering credential programs because of fears generated by the states chronic funding issues and the consequential layoffs, and no doubt the hostile environment created by the Public School Criticism Industrial Complex (PSCIC) & Vergara; and, 2) the state continues to lose a high number of new teachers who leave voluntarily because of low compensation, poor leadership, lack of resources, they find themselves not well suited for the job, and “the hostile environment created by the Public School Criticism Industrial Complex & Vergara.” Re the latter: As a neighbor of mine (lived about a mile from my house) once known as “Deep Throat” once said, “Follow the money.” The folks behind the PSCIC/Vergara, and the funders are “interlocking,” are not well known for altruism and their deep concern for the poor and minority children.

        Opinions about the “age of official segregation” having ended will have to be argued with various authorities including the UCLA Civil Rights Center who find economic, and therefore geographic (as well as school), segregation to be as bad, if not worse, than the time prior to Brown v. Board.

        The real Vergara question is: Why are there so many districts in CA perfuming well hiring from the same teacher pool and operating under the same statutes? Same teachers, same laws, different student demographics.

        • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

          Lower the top of the teacher salary pay scale by $10,000. Raise the bottom by $10,000, so that new teachers can pay student loans, buy cars, have a shot at owning a house, get married, have kids, have lives, in an expensive state. I bet those actions alone will solve most problems with declining enrollment and lack of qualified candidates entering teacher prep programs. Other options to deal with a coming teacher … Read More

          Lower the top of the teacher salary pay scale by $10,000. Raise the bottom by $10,000, so that new teachers can pay student loans, buy cars, have a shot at owning a house, get married, have kids, have lives, in an expensive state. I bet those actions alone will solve most problems with declining enrollment and lack of qualified candidates entering teacher prep programs.

          Other options to deal with a coming teacher shortage include creating everyday working conditions (not just public perceptions), in the schools which are attractive to highly qualified teachers and conducive to retaining them.

          I think you and I know what is really going to happen, however, in face of a teacher/candidate shortage. An inexhaustible supply of “teachers” can be created by simply lowering the standards sufficiently. For-profit diploma mills will put up advertising billboards and get student loan apps signed and ultimately pass out teacher-lite credentials like popcorn to numerous very marginal candidates. Marginal out-of-state candidates will be scammed and recruited from places like Illinois where ten (often marginal) teachers are credentialed for every in-state job. Districts love an oversupply of credentialed teachers because oversupply makes it unnecessary to provide good working conditions and makes teachers cheap. Districts seem not to care much about quality, especially subject matter competence.

          Relatively incompetent teachers will get hired during the teacher shortage because districts can’t find good ones, and more will get hired as the system lowers standards and recruits marginal candidates. These incompetent and marginal teachers will get tenure in two years and we will be saddled with them for the next 30 years, since they will be all but impossible to fire even when good teachers again become (temporarily) available during the next glut cycle of teachers.

          Many of the worst teachers we have now came on board under conditions such as I describe above and they are entrenched for life, along with some really great teachers.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Obviously you have not been reading. Teachers salaries in CA, according to RAND, are already among the lowest of major industrialized states. And there are other studies showing the same thing. And that was before the recession and budget cuts, salary freezes, and furlough days (aka, salary cuts).You believe lowering salaries even further would create an incentive for teachers to pursue the classroom as a career? Interesting thought. It's tiresome, but I'll again repeat there are … Read More

            Obviously you have not been reading. Teachers salaries in CA, according to RAND, are already among the lowest of major industrialized states. And there are other studies showing the same thing. And that was before the recession and budget cuts, salary freezes, and furlough days (aka, salary cuts).You believe lowering salaries even further would create an incentive for teachers to pursue the classroom as a career? Interesting thought.

            It’s tiresome, but I’ll again repeat there are many successful districts in CA. Check any middle-class to wealthy area. Those districts draw teachers from the same pool and operate under all the same statutes. The kids are achieving, the districts are hiring and retaining successful teachers, and, in the rare circumstance it is necessary, they are dismissing teachers. We have another post on this site about a teacher who is being dismissed. It is not the impossible dream for a competent management.

            Since when, in America, is providing due process an “impossibility” or unconstitutional when it is embedded in the Constitution? The statutes require management to “show cause” and document it. and gives the teacher an opportunity to appeal. Impossible? Hardly!

            Again too, as I have stated the testimony given during discovery in Vergara demonstrated that even in LAUSD, dismissing teachers was a matter of months and tens of thousands of dollars not years and hundreds of thousands. That whole canard was an urban myth propagated by district management that doesn’t want to have to do anything to dismiss a teacher. It should just be a matter of their whim. Deasy was semi-comical as he switched between whining about how hard it was to dismiss teachers and then boasting what a great administrator he’d was because he had dismissed so many. Just one of the many contradictions of the plaintiffs witnesses in testimony.

            Your other crystal ball gazing about what districts might do in the face of a projected teacher shortage is best taken up with districts and school board officials. Another remedy you might consider is to donate to progressive political organizations aligned with the teacher unions to push politically for an increase in the state’s revenue stream so that salaries could be increased all around, class size could be reduced meaning more new teachers could be hired, and the general crisis in CA’s school funding could be corrected. And, no, I won’t hold my breath on that one.

          • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

            Gary, you don’t have to hold your breath waiting for me to support better funding for education. I supported and volunteered to help promote Prop 38 which would have improved funding for a long time and insured that the additional funds were not misappropriated. The CA democrats opposed it and the CTA did not support it.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          Seriously, Gary, you can't possibly claim that Wall Street is responsible for layoffs. We've had layoffs and bigger ones practically every 5 years with every recession. In any case, you forgot to blame the politicians who passed the CRA and the homeowners who greedily took out loans they couldn't afford. But that's beside the point and I'm not falling for this subterfuge. The idea that LIFO never got anyone laid off is so patently ridiculous … Read More

          Seriously, Gary, you can’t possibly claim that Wall Street is responsible for layoffs. We’ve had layoffs and bigger ones practically every 5 years with every recession. In any case, you forgot to blame the politicians who passed the CRA and the homeowners who greedily took out loans they couldn’t afford. But that’s beside the point and I’m not falling for this subterfuge. The idea that LIFO never got anyone laid off is so patently ridiculous it amazes me that you would try to float this idea on Ed Source. What do you take us for?

          You said in a comment above that the only fair way to do layoffs is by seniority. Fair to whom? Well, it is obvious that you mean fair to teachers. What about fairness for students? We know there are incompetent teachers. Why do you protect them? If keeping bad teachers on the job is your idea of a union’s fiduciary duty, I suggest you work with your union to come up with a better ethical foundation for the charter.

          Consider this:

          Donna Gordon Blankinship, Associated Press (Minnesota Public Radio), December 23, 2010 –

          SEATTLE (AP) – A study of Washington state teachers has found that deciding layoffs based solely on which teachers have the least seniority has a significant impact on students’ ability to learn, adding to a growing chorus calling for schools to take a hard look at union contracts dictating who gets to keep their jobs.

          The study comes as tens of thousands of teachers around the country stand to lose their jobs next year as federal stimulus money dries up. In most places, union contracts and other policies generally dictate that the least experienced teachers are the first to go.

          But that comes at a price, according to the study released exclusively to The Associated Press on Thursday.

          The Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington, which studies the relationships between education policies and student outcomes, looked at the 1,717 Washington state teachers who were given layoff notices in either of the past two school years.

          Most of those teachers were given notices because they had the least seniority; nearly all of them ultimately kept their jobs, but many face layoffs next year as federal stimulus money used to retain them dries up.

          Researchers compared the actual layoff notice list with a list of teachers who would have been laid off using a measurement of effectiveness known as “value-added,” in which teachers are judged by the improvement of their students on standardized tests.

          Continued

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Lacking seniority didn’t necessarily equate with doing poorly on the value-added measurement; about 275 teachers were on both lists. Using teachers’ past performance, the researchers predicted the performance of two hypothetical school systems: one in which the teachers receiving notices had actually lost their jobs, and one in which more than 1,300 of the lowest-performing teachers had been fired instead. Dan Goldhaber, lead author of the study and the center’s director, projected that student achievement after seniority-based … Read More

            Lacking seniority didn’t necessarily equate with doing poorly on the value-added measurement; about 275 teachers were on both lists.

            Using teachers’ past performance, the researchers predicted the performance of two hypothetical school systems: one in which the teachers receiving notices had actually lost their jobs, and one in which more than 1,300 of the lowest-performing teachers had been fired instead.

            Dan Goldhaber, lead author of the study and the center’s director, projected that student achievement after seniority-based layoffs would drop by an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 months of learning per student, when compared to laying off the least effective teachers.

            “If your bottom line is student achievement, then this is not the best system,” Goldhaber said.

            End

            But your bottom line isn’t student achievement. It’s teacher protection.

          • el 2 years ago2 years ago

            Here is another view: http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/notes-on-the-seniority-smokescreen/ In my mind, anyone who is taking a standardized test score differential and equating it to days or months of learning is on pretty shaky ground. If you really think about the raw data, that kind of information is really not in the exam. The difference between a third grader selecting choice B and choice C is really N days of learning? (One thing that would be interesting to note is that … Read More

            Here is another view:

            http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/notes-on-the-seniority-smokescreen/

            In my mind, anyone who is taking a standardized test score differential and equating it to days or months of learning is on pretty shaky ground. If you really think about the raw data, that kind of information is really not in the exam. The difference between a third grader selecting choice B and choice C is really N days of learning?

            (One thing that would be interesting to note is that just because there are 180 days of school doesn’t mean the student attended them all.)

            Further, not every teacher has students with any kind of VAM-able data. So you don’t lay off PE and kindergarten teachers, or you lay them all off? Maybe lay off all the PE teachers whose students score below a certain cutoff on the state physical fitness exam. Even those teachers that have scores, you don’t get refinement that lets you accurately stack-rank them to the individual placing. You get noisy data best case scenario.

            And finally, LIFO layoffs can and should be absolutely orthogonal to removal for cause. There’s nothing that says you can’t act to remove a teacher for cause if you are also doing layoffs. Or to decide that your french program is ineffective so you’re eliminating the french teacher.

      • el 2 years ago2 years ago

        Just as a practical question.

        Suppose you’re the Superintendent of a district where budget cuts require you to lay off 1,000 teachers by March 15. Let’s say today is February 1. How will you decide?

        And is it even possible to issue that many pink slips without damaging the education of kids in your district, assuming no drop in enrollment?

        • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

          It would indeed be hard for me, if a superintendent, to decide in six weeks which teachers to lay off out of the blue, if I administered a huge district with thousands of teachers and had to jettison 1,000. I might use a lot of LIFO. If I were principal of a modest sized school, I'd probably already have good idea who I'd prefer to lay off first, if allowed to choose. … Read More

          It would indeed be hard for me, if a superintendent, to decide in six weeks which teachers to lay off out of the blue, if I administered a huge district with thousands of teachers and had to jettison 1,000. I might use a lot of LIFO.

          If I were principal of a modest sized school, I’d probably already have good idea who I’d prefer to lay off first, if allowed to choose. I’d likely have been dreaming about such an opportunity. It would be the teacher who caused the other teachers to privately groan about having to pick up lots of educational slack in the grade level following that teacher. It would be the teacher that caused students and parents to jump ship and find refuge in charters. It would be the teacher, as in one case I know, who was so notorious and unpopular with mothers that they would break down and cry on learning that their young children were put in that classroom. It might be a teacher who obviously didn’t really know and master his or her subject matter.

          • el 2 years ago2 years ago

            If you were the principal of that modest sized school, I would hope you would be working to remove that teacher from classrooms whether layoffs and budget cuts were coming or not. It absolutely can be done.

  11. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    Obviously, most people would beg to differ. It is plain to see that underperforming and/or ill-equipped teachers have a deleterious effect on the education of their students and for this reason teachers and former teachers like Gary advocate for more professional development. In any case Chetty’s study wasn’t part of any of the three separate rulings as I mentioned before. Just out of curiosity we will see how the ruling fares in the eyes of … Read More

    Obviously, most people would beg to differ. It is plain to see that underperforming and/or ill-equipped teachers have a deleterious effect on the education of their students and for this reason teachers and former teachers like Gary advocate for more professional development. In any case Chetty’s study wasn’t part of any of the three separate rulings as I mentioned before.
    Just out of curiosity we will see how the ruling fares in the eyes of the public, but at present the unholy alliance on the left and the right have hailed the tentative decision and it is likely to strengthen with this concise, no nonsense finalization. I only hope that in the meantime before the final decision is made in the CA Supreme Court that my sons aren’t taught by the ineffective teacher that Gary gladly and proudly defends because of lack of scientific evidence or poverty or Prop 13 or any of the other boogeymen the union parades out to try and convince the public that incompetent teachers should remain in the classroom forever. In this way he and others do a great disservice to the real palpable injustice of underfunding. But that injustice and the injustice of retaining a bad teacher over a good are not the same. The judge was not convinced and neither will the public be.
    Now if you want to fault the judge for his oversight on wordprocessing his final decision over the tentative one.. well you have a point there.

  12. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    1. To address Gary’s first comment- The citations of previous case law are there to create the historical context and to demonstrate that courts have rendered decisions previously to ensure the constitutional rights of students. He doesn’t use those decisions as justifications for the decisions. I’m not clear why Gary feels the decision must be longer than sixteen pages. It could be 116 pages and it wouldn’t satisfy the critics. The logic for each case is … Read More

    1. To address Gary’s first comment-
    The citations of previous case law are there to create the historical context and to demonstrate that courts have rendered decisions previously to ensure the constitutional rights of students. He doesn’t use those decisions as justifications for the decisions.
    I’m not clear why Gary feels the decision must be longer than sixteen pages. It could be 116 pages and it wouldn’t satisfy the critics. The logic for each case is made plain and simple and that is a strength not a fault, though if there is a fault it is in the defense’s lack of substance at trial. Gary goes on to fault CA’s funding of education as if more money would make the statutes better. I suppose if we didn’t have layoffs the LIFO statute would be less of an issue, if no less unconstitutional.
    Gary said, ” The judge made no comment, nor does his ruling mention, this fundamental flaw [poor funding] and propose the legislature remedy the situation.” As a matter of fact, in the final paragraph the judge noted that the court does not render law and policy or advise the policymaking authorities, but rather simply interprets the law as is its constitutional mandate. Gary goes on to make the same assertion about segregation. Again he misses the point which is that this case is about the challenged statutes. If the judge ruled on the basis of Gary’s beliefs it would surely be struck down on appeal for sheet incompetence. Moreover, SCOTUS has ruled on segregation repeatedly and found, most lately in Seattle, that it is not the role of public education to remedy residential racial patterns.
    Gary said,” senior, more experienced, and highly qualified teachers bail from certain schools and districts as soon as they can because of severely low salaries, lack of resources to do the job, and the noted “ineffective..administrators” (likely ineffective for the same reasons teachers are). What? Senior teacher don’t make less at poorer schools. What is he talking about? Again, the case is not about the fairness or wisdom of California’s tax system and financing of education and for this reason, appropriately does not discuss it. He isn’t “leaving it out”. It’s immaterial to the trial of the challenged statutes.
    As far as the causal relationship issue raised by Gary, the unions have been floating this defense against teacher evaluations for some years. Gary has routinely railed against the data-driven approach to education and high stakes testing for some time, but now he wants to cite the lack of scientific consensus on any link between student outcome and teacher effectiveness as a defense for teachers against dismissing ineffective ones. That Gary already admitted in his comment that there are ineffective teachers doesn’t matter. Apparently Gary believes that it is OK to have ineffective teachers in the classroom because no one can scientifically prove their inadequacy. continued

  13. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    First of all it is not "the same old limp ruling" if you read both. The final ruling, while straightforward and concise, provides more specificity to the analysis for findings of unconstitutionality. Chetty's study doesn't even figure in any of the three findings and is only cited to demonstrate, in general, how the statutes could affect lifetime earnings. It is an entirely dispensable in regard to Treu's findings of unconstitutionality and is only … Read More

    First of all it is not “the same old limp ruling” if you read both. The final ruling, while straightforward and concise, provides more specificity to the analysis for findings of unconstitutionality. Chetty’s study doesn’t even figure in any of the three findings and is only cited to demonstrate, in general, how the statutes could affect lifetime earnings. It is an entirely dispensable in regard to Treu’s findings of unconstitutionality and is only used as a backdrop and for context.

    The ruling on the Permanent Employment or Two-Year Statute is the most straightforward in that the timeline for tenure is nonsensical. Even Torlakson, who wants to appeal, wants more time to be able to make informed decisions on tenure. Treu lays out an inescapable case for the faulty timeline for tenure decisions imposed upon administrators . Even State’s defendants agreed. Treu points out that the rush to makes high stakes tenure decision is nonsensical and he goes step-by-step through the reasons why. It is an excellent analysis and will be well-received.

    The finding for the Dismissal Statute was no less compelling. One does not have more of a property right than another. If Skelly is constitutional and functions to provide classified employees their due process rights, their civil recourse notwithstanding, why should students suffer from ineffective teachers as a result of burdensome, time-consuming and costly mandated procedures to dismiss certificated staff? Again, Treu didn’t need to provide a long detailed argument against the defenses case because they provided so little in court to defend the Dismissal Statute.

    The LIFO Statute is the most egregious of the three because of the patently unethical nature of firing competent teachers and retaining incompetent ones as a matter of law.It makes of a mockery of a child’s education as secondary to the rights of adults. You might as well beat children over the head and walk away with impunity. This is the shortest of the findings, because both parties agreed there are incompetent teachers in the range of 1-3% and that incompetent teachers adversely affect student outcomes as good teachers positively affect outcomes. There is no question then that removing good teachers as a matter of course during layoffs is a loss to students as is retaining poor teachers.The statute is unconstitutional on its face as it is an abuse of equal educational opportunity.

    But, I know,it’s all about poverty and lack of funding – the same old tired excuses to rationalize doing nothing until California once again is the Golden State..

  14. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    I should also thank SPI Tom Torlakson for his brave support of teachers. That supportwill be directly in the face of the Public School Criticism Industrial Complex, the self-appointed "reformers," and various techy oligarchs. Tom Torlakson understands, as a former teacher himself, just how disadvantaged the children, schools, and teachers of CA are because of chronic underfunding, and just how much legal assaults on the teaching profession, as represented by Vergara, et al, can make the … Read More

    I should also thank SPI Tom Torlakson for his brave support of teachers. That supportwill be directly in the face of the Public School Criticism Industrial Complex, the self-appointed “reformers,” and various techy oligarchs.

    Tom Torlakson understands, as a former teacher himself, just how disadvantaged the children, schools, and teachers of CA are because of chronic underfunding, and just how much legal assaults on the teaching profession, as represented by Vergara, et al, can make the situation worse for children and their educational prospects.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      What about the raise in pay for more junior teachers and possibility of merit and attendance bonuses? Torlakson is a coward. I hope Davis donates to his opponent and makes an issue of this so he loses. The one chance to improve teacher quality and he plays manana manana. Yeah I'm just holding my breath, I'm sure after having monopoly control for 40 years and turning California from #1 to … Read More

      What about the raise in pay for more junior teachers and possibility of merit and attendance bonuses? Torlakson is a coward. I hope Davis donates to his opponent and makes an issue of this so he loses. The one chance to improve teacher quality and he plays manana manana. Yeah I’m just holding my breath, I’m sure after having monopoly control for 40 years and turning California from #1 to #48 in test scores, you have some great idea to improve teacher quality and make administrators fire the bad ones and it’s just around the corner, I’m just holding my breath.

    • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

      Reading the arguments of Gary Ravani above, it is obvious the NRA is not the only lobby tuned in to rebut and distort any report in this journal that gores its ox. The California Teachers Association, the richest and most powerful lobby in Sacramento, is well-represented here. (See CTA contributions to the political campaigns of Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and termed-out legislator now Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.) I think it … Read More

      Reading the arguments of Gary Ravani above, it is obvious the NRA is not the only lobby tuned in to rebut and distort any report in this journal that gores its ox. The California Teachers Association, the richest and most powerful lobby in Sacramento, is well-represented here. (See CTA contributions to the political campaigns of Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and termed-out legislator now Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.)

      I think it is wrong to dismiss the Vergara case concerns of socio-economically poor families of color and their public school students. Do you imagine these folks are dupes of their corporate masters? Why don’t we just see how the matter plays out without denigrating the other side?

      If we can’t do that, then let’s at least acknowledge here that the time-honored California public school formula of lowest amount spent per child, largest class size and highest teacher salaries IN THE NATION is alive and well. This has been a constant — in spite of the fact that our state’s student population is now dramatically skewed to poor children of color and English Learners.

      • tom 2 years ago2 years ago

        Agree that at the per pupil spending is LOW and should be corrected particularly in the urban areas. Many of the schools are not producing adequately educated students that can then go out and get good jobs. Leads to urban decay and crime. Teacher accountability is part of this along with more funding. Governor Brown continues to demonstrate he has other priorities. There was piece in the WSJ on Friday … Read More

        Agree that at the per pupil spending is LOW and should be corrected particularly in the urban areas. Many of the schools are not producing adequately educated students that can then go out and get good jobs. Leads to urban decay and crime. Teacher accountability is part of this along with more funding. Governor Brown continues to demonstrate he has other priorities.

        There was piece in the WSJ on Friday that discussed a lawsuit in Texas that sought to force an increase in K-12 spending. Mentioned 10 other cases across the U.S. that sought the same. Maybe the CTA would apply their considerable funds to sponsor a similar effort. I know the PTA would get behind it.

        • el 2 years ago2 years ago

          CTA has repeatedly lobbied for higher per-pupil funding. Note Prop 30. I am very interested to see how the LCFF funding change rattles through schools and districts, and what effects we see of the higher funding for the disadvantaged schools. I think it's far more likely that this will make a positive difference than anything related to Vergara. (However, the biggest caveat for me with the LCFF is that the base per pupil amount is insufficient and … Read More

          CTA has repeatedly lobbied for higher per-pupil funding. Note Prop 30.

          I am very interested to see how the LCFF funding change rattles through schools and districts, and what effects we see of the higher funding for the disadvantaged schools. I think it’s far more likely that this will make a positive difference than anything related to Vergara.

          (However, the biggest caveat for me with the LCFF is that the base per pupil amount is insufficient and was arbitrarily chosen, and that we have not properly pulled out and fully funded special education.)

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          That's a great idea. That's really despicable that the state puts children second. How is it in the State's interest to keep the lemon status quo where bad teachers can never be fired and all pay is based on seniority? It hurts the State revenue of kids earn less money. We are a state reliant on smart people moving here and can't produce smart enough people to fill the jobs we … Read More

          That’s a great idea. That’s really despicable that the state puts children second. How is it in the State’s interest to keep the lemon status quo where bad teachers can never be fired and all pay is based on seniority? It hurts the State revenue of kids earn less money. We are a state reliant on smart people moving here and can’t produce smart enough people to fill the jobs we create. Let’s stay that way and sue to make sure we do. Idiotic.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Two things Francis: 1) I am not a member or officer of CTA. 2) The suit was not brought by "socio-economically poor students and their families." It was brought by a techy "corporate master" and also partially funded by yet another corporate billionaire who was implicated in bringing "dark money" into CA politics and fought against Prop 30, stopping further education cuts, and for the proposition trying to limit unions political activities (activities like Prop 30!). See … Read More

        Two things Francis:

        1) I am not a member or officer of CTA.

        2) The suit was not brought by “socio-economically poor students and their families.” It was brought by a techy “corporate master” and also partially funded by yet another corporate billionaire who was implicated in bringing “dark money” into CA politics and fought against Prop 30, stopping further education cuts, and for the proposition trying to limit unions political activities (activities like Prop 30!). See any connections there?

        • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 2 years ago2 years ago

          No one said you are an officer or member of CTA, Gary, just that you regularly and ably represent that lobby's point of view in your comments here. And now you really ARE saying that the Vergara case is just a front for corporate masters who want to destroy public education. I don't believe that for moment. Vergara is fallout from the scandalous status quo tolerated for years at huge, poor, multi-track Miramonte Elementary School … Read More

          No one said you are an officer or member of CTA, Gary, just that you regularly and ably represent that lobby’s point of view in your comments here. And now you really ARE saying that the Vergara case is just a front for corporate masters who want to destroy public education. I don’t believe that for moment.

          Vergara is fallout from the scandalous status quo tolerated for years at huge, poor, multi-track Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles that was revealed publicly in the Los Angeles Times, showing chronic abuse by some Miramonte teachers of children in their classrooms and chronic neglect over many years by school administrators to the complaints and concerns of the school’s Latino community about their children.

          Many important issues are involved in the Vergara case which is now being appealed. The lawsuit is funded by deep-pockets, as is every area of American political life these days. Do you think regular people can afford to bring lawsuits? Personally, as a former teacher and parent of public school students and a big-city school board member and as a present grandparent of four public school children, I hope permanent positive change — reform — will come from the Vergara case as it wends its way through the courts.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Frances, I agree. That's one thing I don't get. Opponents regularly seem to argue that the lawsuit would only be valid if it were funded by $50 donations from 100,000 parents. I'm sure if that happened they'd come up with something else, because they don't read the article open minded to see if it's valid, they start it out with the mindset that the status quo must be defended at all costs … Read More

            Frances, I agree. That’s one thing I don’t get. Opponents regularly seem to argue that the lawsuit would only be valid if it were funded by $50 donations from 100,000 parents. I’m sure if that happened they’d come up with something else, because they don’t read the article open minded to see if it’s valid, they start it out with the mindset that the status quo must be defended at all costs and nitpick at little things. Gary isn’t outraged that a billionaire funded it, he’s combing through it looking for anything to complain about, but it’s ridiculous, all lawsuits are funded by someone with deep pockets these days. So essentially what Gary is saying is that the lawsuit should never be able to happen, because if you say no lawsuit can be funded by a wealthy person, but a union can collect $50 or $100 per teacher to defend a lawsuit, you are saying the union will always win.

            Notice that the Garys of this site never suggest a ballot initiative or another way to decide this. They want to make a de facto rule that no one rich can help any cause, because they know that way the union will have a monopoly on power and decide everything. It’s Gary’s secret alterior motive.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            An interesting "reinterpretation" of your own words. There is considerable research now available that once people align their opinions with their ideologies it is almost impossible to change those opinions, even when you play the "fact card." As a teacher, though, I press ahead. As you said yourself, as little attention as you appear to pay to those words, "chronic neglect over many years by school administrators to the complaints and concerns of the school’s Latino community … Read More

            An interesting “reinterpretation” of your own words.

            There is considerable research now available that once people align their opinions with their ideologies it is almost impossible to change those opinions, even when you play the “fact card.” As a teacher, though, I press ahead.

            As you said yourself, as little attention as you appear to pay to those words, “chronic neglect over many years by school administrators to the complaints and concerns of the school’s Latino community about their children.”

            Based on that, it is your hope that eliminating statutes related to teachers is going to transform the “chronic neglect of management?” You venture into Judge Treu territory here by creating a non sequitur,”it does not follow.” Worse, it is magical thinking. Changing laws about teacher rights does nothing to correct problems created by management. The abusive teacher at the LAUSD school could have been removed from the classroom under the current laws at management’s discretion. Management didn’t do that, and the LA sheriff’s department dropped the ball on their initial investigation. All a part of a despicable tragedy that had no relation to the teacher statutes.

            And those teachers’ salaries. CA’s school funding isn’t really the lowest in the nation when you look at unadjusted dollars. It is only when you adjust the dollars for “regional-cost-of-living,” i.e., what the dollars can actually buy in a state with the 2nd highest cost of living and highest real estate prices in the nation, that the spending falls off a cliff to rank last in the country. Likewise, when you look at the “near” highest pay for teachers in the country, and you adjust for regional-cost-of-living, you find teachers’ pay isn’t the “highest” at all. It is below average. BTW RAND calls CA teachers’ pay the lowest of major industrialized states.

            So again, playing that nasty “fact card,” it is demonstrated that scapegoating teachers is bad business. You don’t help school kids by declaring war on their teachers. And that, in fact, is why the Governor, the State Attorney General, the State Superintendent of Schools, the teachers’ unions, anyone who actually researches the issues, and people who read the incoherent ruling by the judge want it appealed and overturned.

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            FYI, Gary does not dismiss the concerns brought forth by the case, but he does dismiss the judge’s ruling.

            They are slightly different topics and it is faulty reasoning to equate them.

          • el 2 years ago2 years ago

            It is hard for me to understand why some of the students in the Vergara</em lawsuit had teachers not covered by tenure, and why no evidence was presented that said that administrators had attempted to remove any of these teachers but were blocked from doing so by state law. I would give the case much more standing, personally, if the students had a teacher where an attempt had been made to remove that teacher and the … Read More

            It is hard for me to understand why some of the students in the Vergara</em lawsuit had teachers not covered by tenure, and why no evidence was presented that said that administrators had attempted to remove any of these teachers but were blocked from doing so by state law.

            I would give the case much more standing, personally, if the students had a teacher where an attempt had been made to remove that teacher and the administrators were unable to complete the process or get the outcome they needed. It wouldn't matter who funded it – it would have been a much better case.

            If this problem is as widespread as some here claim, you would think it would be easy to find those potential plaintiffs.

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            El,

            The judge dismissed districts and individuals early on in the pretrial brief for reasons that were not explained. One of Brown’s reasons for an appeal addresses the fact that the judge’s ruling only affects “parties that have no role or duties under the challenged lawsuits.” Because of this, no evidentiary causes were looked into regarding the students who signed on to the case. Weird? A little.

  15. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Those who follow the link to the judge's "final' decision above will note that it is the exact same limp ruling he made initially. In fact, if you look at the bottom of the cover sheet, you can still see the words "tentative decision" written at the bottom of the page with a different date. A clear indicator of the time and thought the judge put into this process. After months of testimony the public … Read More

    Those who follow the link to the judge’s “final’ decision above will note that it is the exact same limp ruling he made initially. In fact, if you look at the bottom of the cover sheet, you can still see the words “tentative decision” written at the bottom of the page with a different date. A clear indicator of the time and thought the judge put into this process. After months of testimony the public gets a 16 page, superficial, declaration that amounts to a faith based assertion.

    The cruel irony, for the children of the state, is that the judge consistently referenced Serrano v. Priest and Brown v. Board in court and uses them as “justifications” for his ruling. Serrano is a case that referenced inequitable funding in CA’s schools. Today, CA has the worst per student K-12 funding in the nation meaning every CA public school student is subject to inequitable school funding if nationally averaged funding levels are used for context. The judge made no comment, nor does his ruling mention, this fundamental flaw and propose the legislature remedy the situation. The stellar Brown decision declared segregated schools to be unconstitutional. The UCLA Civil Rights Project asserts CA schools are some of the most segregated in the nation. The judge made no comment, nor does his ruling mention, this fundamental flaw and propose the legislature remedy the situation.

    The judge actually quotes a CDE study that found that “high poverty…schools [have] a disproportionate number of under-qualified, inexperienced, out-of-field. and ineffective teachers and administrators .” What these schools have is newer, inexperienced, and under-qualified teachers. This is because senior, more experienced, and highly qualified teachers bail from certain schools and districts as soon as they can because of severely low salaries, lack of resources to do the job, and the noted “ineffective..administrators” (likely ineffective for the same reasons teachers are). The judge made no comment, nor does his ruling mention, this fundamental flaw and propose the legislature remedy the situation.

    The judge uses a study done by Raj Chetty to determine the “effectiveness” of teachers in a vague sort of way. Chetty uses “value added methodology” (VAM) that has been ripped by every legitimate educational research organization that has looked at it including the National Research Council who asserts we don’t have a research base to use VAM and if we did we still shouldn’t use it because it narrows curriculum and interferes with learning.

    For anyone trusting to the judge actually drawing any causal relationships between the statues he has ruled to be “unconstitutional” and actual educational impacts on disadvantaged students they will continue to be sorely disappointed. This is because there never was any causal relationship and, as can plainly be seen, the judge made no attempt to justify his “conclusions” except for some breathy quotations from the Federalist Papers.

    Replies

    • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

      I would like to add to Gary's point about Chetty: It should be known that none of Chetty's (et. al) studies address the casual effects of tenure nor LIFO. However, much of the judge's decision rests on Chetty's testimony. Additionally, the Chetty et. al study that was referenced throughout the trial looks at the impact "good" teachers make on their students over their lifetime. Moshie Adler points out that "[d]espite widespread references to this … Read More

      I would like to add to Gary’s point about Chetty:

      It should be known that none of Chetty’s (et. al) studies address the casual effects of tenure nor LIFO. However, much of the judge’s decision rests on Chetty’s testimony.

      Additionally, the Chetty et. al study that was referenced throughout the trial looks at the impact “good” teachers make on their students over their lifetime. Moshie Adler points out that “[d]espite widespread references to this study in policy circles, the shortcomings and shaky extrapolations make this report misleading and unreliable for determining educational policy” ( http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-measuring-impact-of-teachers).

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Good point. And yet another indicator of the judge's concentration [sic] on the very points he made re Chetty can be verified with a cheap calculator, assuming Chetty's study was worth the paper it's written on which many experts assert is not the case. The judge points to a $1.4 million "loss" in lifetime earnings for a classroom of CA students having an 'ineffective teacher" according to Chetty's "analysis:" Let's say, CA having the largest class sizes … Read More

        Good point. And yet another indicator of the judge’s concentration [sic] on the very points he made re Chetty can be verified with a cheap calculator, assuming Chetty’s study was worth the paper it’s written on which many experts assert is not the case.

        The judge points to a $1.4 million “loss” in lifetime earnings for a classroom of CA students having an ‘ineffective teacher” according to Chetty’s “analysis:”

        Let’s say, CA having the largest class sizes in the nation, that there are 35 kids in a classroom.

        So $1.4 million divided by 35 equals $40K per child. Still an impressive sounding number.

        Assume, after education, the “child” enters the workforce at 25 and works until 65 making a 40 year career.

        So that’s $1K per year.

        Assuming a 50 week a year work schedule (with 2 weeks vacation) that’s $20 per week.

        Assuming a 5 day work week that’s $4 a day = one medium latte w/no cookie.

        Oh, the humanity!

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          Are you saying it's not worth it to have every child earn $4 a day more because it only buys a latte? My $4 a day buys my daughter who is adopted and born with drugs in her system an hour with a college student tutor a week, or 1.4 hours a week. My $1000 a year buys my children 100-150 good books, or 20-30 each per year. I buy a mocha … Read More

          Are you saying it’s not worth it to have every child earn $4 a day more because it only buys a latte? My $4 a day buys my daughter who is adopted and born with drugs in her system an hour with a college student tutor a week, or 1.4 hours a week. My $1000 a year buys my children 100-150 good books, or 20-30 each per year. I buy a mocha a week, not a day, but I do that with my own money. The extra money I make due to not having a bad teacher, I spend on important things. It may also buy a weekend family trip a year to the Monterrey Bay Acquarium.

          Gary, seriously, you can’t possibly argue that every child in California should make $4 a working day less so that bad teachers can have a guaranteed job for life and all pay, promotion, recognition, etc. based on blind LIFO seniority? I guess you can. It shows where your priorities lie. You actually feel every child should give up $4 a day for life so you don’t have to be judged by a boss like almost all Californians are. That’s insanity. As a father of 5 public school children, I am deeply offended by this post.

          • tom 2 years ago2 years ago

            Good for you Floyd pointing out the shallowness of Gary’s comments. Also commend you for the adoption. I too have an adopted daughter who was free of drugs, but only because her mother was incarcerated at the time. This daughter has a heart of gold and her mom, sisters, and I are very happy to have her.

        • el 2 years ago2 years ago

          Not to mention that the study only covered income through age 28. Woe betide the teacher whose students all went to graduate school. What a loser she must be.

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