Suit challenges teacher tenure

Teacher tenure and seniority rules deny students equal access to an adequate education argues a California lawsuit. Testimony started yesterday in Los Angeles on Vergara vs. CaliforniaStudents Matter, a nonprofit advocacy group, filed on behalf of nine students and their families.

The lawsuit aims to protect the rights of students, teachers and school districts against a “gross disparity” in educational opportunity, lawyers for the plaintiffs said.

. . . Teachers unions have vigorously defended tenure, seniority and dismissal rules, calling them crucial safeguards and essential to recruiting and retaining quality instructors. The lawsuit, they contend, is misguided and ignores the true causes of problems in education, such as drops in state funding.

Minority and low-income students are far more likely to be taught by ineffective teachers, the lawsuit argues.

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  1. “Minority and low-income students are far more likely to be taught by ineffective teachers, the lawsuit argues.”

    Which is true. But it is not because tenure or dismissal rules…and only about seniority in that the most senior teachers refuse to teach at their schools.

    Want great teachers at “poor” schools? Then improve working conditions for the teachers…primarily by removing the disrupters and the intentional non-learners.

    • The general crime rate also needs to be reduced to the point that teachers are safe on the way to school, on campus, and their cars won’t be vandalized in the parking lot.

  2. PhillipMarlowe says:

    LaborLawyer, who comments at the WashingtonPost gets it:
    Thanks. I did not realize that the CA constitution guarantees students a right to an education. That makes this a somewhat less nutty case.

    However, even assuming that there are many incompetent teachers, the state is still providing students an education. To prevail, the plaintiffs will have to prove 1) that there are incompetent teachers; 2) that it is feasible for the state to reliably identify the incompetent teachers; 3) that the incompetence of the incompetent teachers rises to the level of denying the students an education; and 4) that the preferred remedy for this problem is weakening tenure/due-process rights (rather than simply ordering school officials to do a better job of implementing management’s existing authority to discipline/discharge teachers). Judges are not well-suited to make these kinds of decisions (and they know it). And, CA’s teacher tenure/due-process rules are not much different than those in many other jurisdictions; unless a judge is out to make a name for him/herself, the judge will be extremely reluctant to make a factual finding that these nationally-used tenure/due-process rules are so inadequate as to deprive students of an education. (Such a finding would also, in theory at least, invalidate pretty much all state and federal civil service rules regarding due-process rights.)

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      Lots of state constitutions have language guaranteeing all young people an education. Several decades ago, there were a lot of suits challenging various state’s mechanisms for funding education. Basically, they said that if schools were funded by a property tax and one district had a lot more taxable property than another, the students in the second jurisdiction were being denied an education.

      Most courts bought it, and lots of states made big changes. These plaintiffs hope this similar argument will have similar success.

  3. PhillipMarlowe says:

    “Deasy has said that it takes years and costs an average of $500,000 — and sometimes millions of dollars — to terminate a tenured teacher. ”
    Funny comment from “Dr” John on three levels.
    One is his fake doctor degree he pedaled in Prince George’s County. Once it was discovered that he had not earned a doctorate, he left PGCPS before he could be fired, thus keeping his salary and Lexus health benefits for the rest of the year.
    Second is that when he ran PGCPS, Mr. Deasy blew through millions of dollars in the system’s reserve funds, necessitating decimations of several programs to balance the budget.
    Third, as LAUSD boss, Dr. Deasy is spending school construction money on iPads for every student. So schools will be left with broken facilities while the students hack into their iPads. I guess they can google how-to-hold-your urine-for-7-hours.

    Finally, when I hear Dr. Deasy, Michelle Rhee , or a millionaire who did not hire many minorities speak of “civil rights”, I picture Napoleon from Animal Farm. http://goo.gl/MfjjTz

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      Phillip.
      Obviously, Deasy is a piece of work.
      Question for this issue is…what is the cost for terminating a tenured teacher?

      • PhillipMarlowe says:

        $500,000 wasn’t what Deasy spent in PGCPS when he got two tenured teachers terminated.
        As for LA, contact someone who, unlike Deasy, doesn’t make up facts to fit his narrative.

      • There you go, Richard. You’ve got an assignment from Phillip that allows Phillip, with the breathtaking cleverness to which we’ve all grown accustomed, to avoid answering your question.

        By the way Phillip, Oklahoma recently enacted education savings accounts – http://tinyurl.com/l9asgxo

        Happy New Year!

        • PhillipMarlowe says:

          allen, while he is at it, maybe he can find out what;’s your fascination with a man who calls President Obama a racist hate monger.

          • So, the usual dodge. No surprise there.

            Should the fact that you haven’t seen fit to contest Deasy’s assertion of the cost of firing a lousy LAUSD teacher mean you’re too lazy to find some contradictory source or that, since he’s correct, you’d rather avoid the question?

            Doesn’t really matter that much which is why the public education system’s in the process of dissolution. With people like you defending it how could anything else occur?

          • PhillipMarlowe says:

            allen, you are unusually thick today. But if you find calling President a racist hat monger, I am not surprised.
            “Dr” Deasy lies.
            He lied about his doctorate to the PGCPS in Maryland. When he was discovered, he quit.
            He told Rick Hess that when he was CEO of PGCPS he moved hundreds of teachers without regards to the teacher contract. He lied.
            He blew through the reserve funds while in PGCPS. Eg, he started a program (MIddle College) that cost $30,000 per student.
            While CEO of PGCPS, at least two tenured teachers were fired. I knew them. They worked with my daughter. It did not cost $500,000.
            And as we have seen in LAUSD, Dr. Deasy has taken school construction money to buy iPads for all students. He is misappropriating money. Too funny that someone like you, with your distaste for the government, have no problem with this dishonesty.
            But, you like a nut who calls President Obama a racists hate monger and you have made the wild claim that parents can’t enroll their children in private schools, that the people of public schools are preventing them.
            You are like the nutters I debated over at flopping aces.net who call General Sherman a terrorist for what he did in Georgia and South Carolina. Based upon you tendresse for Instaputz, you would probably agree.

          • At least you’re consistent in your dissembling.

            Offering no proof of your assertions you try to substitute a volume of reiteration. Saying the same thing twice, the second time with a few additional words of padding doesn’t make your stories any more credible.

            Claiming, again with no support, personal knowledge, isn’t a substitute for proof.

            Doubling up on unsupported assertions isn’t proof.

            But I guess that’s the sort of thing you have to do when you don’t have the facts or the voters on your side – lie and then lie again because the truth’s no friend to you.

            As to the matter at hand, I’d almost prefer to see teacher tenure dissolved by an act of the legislature rather then by judicial fiat. That would be a much clearer indication of the loss of public faith in the public education system. But I’ll take an affirmative decision just as well. Anything to undermine this nasty institution which corrodes everything it touches.

            By the way Phillip, Oklahoma’s just the latest state to take a significant step towards undermining the public education system but you can be sure it won’t be the last.

            Happy New Year!

          • PhillipMarlowe says:

            Still thick, allen.
            And projecting.
            But in your world, the facts get modified to fit the narrative.
            Obama is a racist
            Parents are held hostage by evil public schools.
            John Deasy never lies.
            Government is evil.

            As for the voters, a few years ago, California voters rejected attempts to make teachers wait 5 years until they received due process.
            But facts aren’t your strong point.

            I think I met you on a holiday cruise a month ago. You were enamored of Amanda Ripley. You attend Harvard, of course, and at University of Texas, you entered your women’s studies class and pronounce that things have been bad ever since women got the vote.

          • Still ducking.

            Feel free to reveal the sources, other then that unverifiable daughter and her unverifiable friends with the unverifiable dog, who just knew all about how easy it is to fire an LAUSD teacher. But of course you’re not going to reveal much of anything because your sources are as casually dishonest as are you.

            And, for the same reason; moral superiority puts you above such mundane considerations as truth and falsehood so you’re fully justified in making up “facts” to suit the narrative.

            Trouble is, not many people are listening. Those who are have heard your excuses and lies before and aren’t buying any more. That’s why you’re losing. That’s why the legislators of Oklahoma passed education savings accounts, why other legislators in other states have passed similar reform legislation that’s part of the process of bringing the public education system to an end.

            Oh, and feel free to have the last post in this thread. I know it’s important to you so it’s my gift to you.

            You’re welcome.

          • PhillipMarlowe says:

            Allen,
            it is really hard to tell if you stupid or deliberately ignorant.
            By your world view, you must be a public school graduate. It can only explain your inability to read, reason or argue.
            Psychologists that studied and noted that those with a propensity to ignore reality in their comments on online blogs suffer from sexual disfunction and feelings of sexual adequacy. Go look up Holly Michaels. She may make you feel better.
            Here is one of my made up facts:
            http://goo.gl/jzBgN

            OCTOBER 4, 2008

            Maryland says goodbye to John Deasy
            John Deasy is denying there’s any connection, but many people in the education community will continue to wonder whether the Prince George’s County superintendent would be moving on if there hadn’t been a dust-up in the past several weeks over how he got his doctoral degree.

            Deasy, who is widely viewed by education leaders in the state as having started significant reforms in the county since he arrived, announced this week he will be leaving in February. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been a growing presence in funding education reform in the country, has hired Deasy to be deputy director of its education division.

            Last month, the Courier-Journal in Louisville reported that Deasy had been awarded a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Lousville in 2004 although he had only completed nine credits, or about a semester, there. He had completed more than 70 credits at other universities, according to published reports.

            Typically, a doctoral candidate would have to be at Louisville for one year and complete twice as many credits while in residence there to get a degree.

            Deasy’s academic advisor at the university was the dean of education, Robert Felner, who is now under a federal investigation, the paper reported, for his possible misuse of federal funds.

            After the information surfaced about Deasy, the university started an investigation into the awarding of the diploma. The Washington Post then picked up on the story reporting that Deasy said he hoped the university would rescind his degree if it was given improperly. The Post reported that in 2001, several years before he got his doctorate, Deasy, as superintendent of a California school system, recommended that a national education center Felner was running should get a $125,000 contract from the school system.

            Felner’s group received a total of $375,000, the Post reported. Deasy said there was no connection between the contract and the awarding of the degree.

            Regarding his made up story on moving 100s of teachers, contact the teacher union, the principal’s union, and the school board members.
            I, and others have, and their response is WTF.

            After you’ve done looking at Holly, set up a wish list at edenfantasy for us to make a contribution for your mental health.

          • Well Phillip, it’s not at all hard for me see that you don’t have much to say. Otherwise you wouldn’t waste your own and everyone else’s time with your pedestrian insults. Other then word usage what differentiates you from some potty-mouthed ten year old? Not much.

            And as is usual among lefties what you purport to be support for your slanders is no such thing. There are implications of improprieties but not a lick of evidence to support your contention that Doctor Deasy didn’t earn his degree or that the “shocking” revelations had anything to do with his departure from Prince Georges County Public Schools.

          • PhillipMarlowe says:

            allen, you promised that you would let me have the right word. But you couldn’t control yourself.
            That brings to mind Ronald Reagan’s citation of Nikolai Lenin: “Promises are like pie crusts; made to be broken.”
            Great company there.

          • I don’t know what promise you’re referring to but teacher tenure is clearly gong away. Whether the court decides to make it go away immediately in California or the legislature notices the diminishing power of the teacher’s unions and does what it should the policy is on the chopping block and not just in California.

            By the way, what did you think about the enactment of education savings accounts in Oklahoma? Pretty promising, hey?