This summer Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu handed down a landmark decision in Vergara v. California that was supposed to end the illegal practice in California of keeping ineffective but tenured teachers in the classroom instead of ensuring all students receive a high quality education. Experts predicted that there would be an appeal, and California Gov. Jerry Brown has proven them right, as the Daily Caller reports:
California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has filed an appeal of a judge’s decision gutting the state’s laws regarding tenure and seniority protection for taxpayer-funded public school teachers. …
The case was brought by nine students, including the named plaintiff, Beatriz Vergara, through a national nonprofit organization called Students Matter. The plaintiffs successfully argued that the 6.2 million public school students in California receive grossly unequal treatment because the state’s education infrastructure routinely sends lousy teachers to schools filled with poor and minority students.
The ruling affects The Golden State’s tenure policy, which requires that teachers obtain tenure just 18 months into their careers. It also affects rules that make it virtually impossible to fire tenured California teachers who aren’t good at their jobs — particularly if they have seniority and have been bad for a long time.
Teachers union reps, however, insist tenure is critical to protecting teachers from hasty dismissals, which helps makes the teaching profession more attractive. As it is, average California teachers’ salaries range from $66,000 to $86,000, depending on where and how long they’ve been teaching—significantly higher than the median household income in California of between $50,000 and $60,000.
According to the Daily Caller, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers issued a statement that suggested teachers cannot be held accountable for poor student performance.
Of course, that begs the question of why, then, are taxpayers spending money on teachers’ salaries in the first place if we don’t expect them to teach students—including those with challenges?
This kind of situation is completely avoidable—if the balance of power is restored so that teachers’ representative and parents have parity in political education policy decisions. And that parity start with full parental choice in education such that parents—not politicians or their allies—have the first and final say over their children’s education.