Updating a story we blogged about previously, USA Today reported last week that a California judge has thrown out key state laws governing teacher tenure, deeming them unconstitutional.
According to the news outlet, last week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled that the current tenure system discriminates against minority and low-income students. Nine students brought a class action case earlier this year indicating that the laws made it easier for low quality teachers to remain in positions.
The verdict may have ramifications across the country. In his ruling, Treu said that there was “no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active” in California K-12 classrooms. Additionally, he said that the evidence brought forward in the trial “shocks the conscious.”
Treu said that current laws result in ineffective teachers “obtaining and retaining permanent employment” in schools that predominantly serve low-income and minority students.
Representatives for California teacher unions have vowed to appeal the verdict. If the ruling is upheld, it will allow districts to downsize without having to automatically eliminate inexperienced teachers first. The laws in place had allowed teachers with 18 months of service to enjoy job security, according to USA Today.
Teacher unions say that the evidence presented in the trial exaggerated a small percentage of underperforming, hard-to-remove teachers, saying that far larger numbers of highly qualified teachers leave the profession after just a few years, USA Today reported.
In a statement released following the ruling, the California Teachers Association said Treu’s decision was deeply flawed.
“Circumventing the legislative process to strip teachers of their professional rights hurts our students and our schools,” the union said in the statement. “This lawsuit has nothing to do with what’s best for kids, but was manufactured by a Silicon Valley millionaire and a corporate PR firm to undermine the teaching profession and push their agenda on our schools.”
Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch’s nonprofit group Students Matter financially backed the lawsuit.
What Should I Do If I Am Wrongfully Terminated?
As we have reported previously, employment laws regarding teacher tenure were setup to protect workers from things like wrongful termination, age discrimination and other forms of employment discrimination.
While it is unfortunate that there may be ineffective teachers currently working in California schools, there should be a system in place that protects workers from potentially illegal employment practices.
Keep in mind, many of these teachers are working at schools that serve low-income and at-risk students—it makes sense that they should enjoy additional protections, considering some of the environments they are entering into and the false claims they may encounter.
If you are having issues at work or have been unjustly terminated, schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles discrimination attorneys today to discuss your case, or share your story with us on our Facebook page.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys
Did You Know? In many states, employers must show “good cause” before terminating an employee.