California teachers defend seniority in landmark Vergara v. California education case

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(CTA President Dean Vogel/Brianna Sacks, ARN)
(CTA President Dean Vogel/Brianna Sacks, ARN)

A small group of teachers, students, parents and administrators supporting California's two largest teachers' unions gathered to condemn the landmark education case, Vergara v. California, which just wrapped up its second week in L.A.'s Superior Court.

Almost two years ago, the students representing several local public school districts filed a lawsuit accusing California's tenure system of robbing students of their constitutional right to quality teachers. L.A. Unified 10th grader Beatriz Vergara is the main plaintiff named in the case.

Today, members of The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers argued on behalf of California's tenure system, and attacked education reform group Students Matter (who is sponsoring the nine students) for conjuring a "meritless" case that harms both students and teachers.

"They are bringing private corporate interests into public education," CFT President Joshua Pechthalt said about Student Matters founder, David Welch, a Silicon Valley tech mogul.

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(Teachers from CTA and CFT/Brianna Sacks, ARN)
(Teachers from CTA and CFT/Brianna Sacks, ARN)
ttorney Jim Finberg, lead counsel for the California Teachers Association (CTA) and California Federation of Teachers (CFT), said the defense team will present clear and compelling evidence in court that the statutes being challenged do not harm students.

β€œThe testimony of plaintiffs so far has not met the burden of proving all the elements of their claim, including that the statutes caused them real and appreciable harm and that they were treated differently from other students,” Finberg said. β€œMoreover, no plaintiff has been able to establish that they were assigned a grossly ineffective teacher by the statutes, since the statutes do not assign teachers. Districts and principals do.”

Students Matter debunked the claims, saying that students all over the state are being harmed by ineffective teachers and that their evidence proves students' constitutional right to a quality education is at stake.

Read more about the case here