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Unions File Their Appeal of Vergara Ruling

May 7, 2015

On May 1, the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) filed opening briefs in their appeal of Judge Rolf Treu’s June 2014 decision in Vergara v. California, which they termed “a baseless lawsuit brought by corporate privatizers seeking to strike down statutes protecting teachers from arbitrary firings, providing transparency in layoff decisions, and supporting due process rights, all of which contribute to student success.” The State of California also filed a separate appeal.

“This suit was never about helping students,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “As educators we believe every student has the right to a caring, qualified and committed teacher and that is why we are appealing the judge’s misguided decision. He completely ignored all evidence demonstrating the laws challenged in this case help ensure students have quality and caring teachers in their classrooms, and did not consider the impact of a severe lack of funding and growth in poverty which are some of the most important factors impacting student achievement. Instead, he based his decision on unfounded arguments made by corporate reformers seeking to impose their political agendas on students and educators. Where are these people when it’s time to support adequate funding for our students, peer assistance and review programs for struggling teachers, and lower class sizes that ensure our students get the one-on-one attention they need to succeed? That’s what truly helps our students.”

CFT President Joshua Pechthalt said, “Wealthy anti-union advocates like David Welch, the funder of this suit, are obscuring the real problems of public education, which are best addressed by restoring funding to programs that ensure student success. It is not coincidental that the law firm he retained is one of corporate America’s leading anti-worker, anti-union firms. Public education has a crisis of retention for experienced and new teachers alike. We already lose fifty percent of new teachers before their fifth year. This is due to the difficulties of teaching in a severely underfunded system, and to the systematic attacks on teachers resulting in fewer young people enrolling in teacher education programs. These tough challenges are only compounded by this lawsuit. We need to support new teachers, help them to improve, and retain them. We need well-funded mentoring and teacher evaluation programs that help improve teacher practice and assist teachers that are struggling. It’s a mistake to drive a reform agenda based on how educators are going to be fired. We can’t fire our way to excellence. We are confident that when a fair and conscientious judge takes into account the evidence that Judge Treu paid no attention to, we will prevail in this appeal.”

CFT and CTA were interveners in the case; the State of California is filing a separate appeal. More information on the case as well as background can be found here and here.

Sources:  California Teachers Association, EdBrief staff.