By Terry Miller
Last week, California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown appealed a recent state judge’s ruling that ends tenure and other union protections for public school teachers.
The appeal, filed Friday, contends that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rulf Treu’s final decree lacks detail and fails to provide the legal basis for his verdict.
Treu issued the final ruling Thursday, after directing in June that tenure protections for California teachers violate the state constitution, depriving some of the state’s 6.2 million students of a quality education, specifically minorities and those from low-income families.
The lawsuit, Vergara v. California, was brought by Beatriz Vergara and eight other students claimed incompetent teachers let classrooms get out of control, came to school unprepared and demeaned and humiliated students.
State Superintendent of schools Tom Torlakson issued a press release last week on Vergara Lawsuit and said, “No teacher is perfect. A very few are not worthy of the job.”
He added, “The people who dedicate their lives to the teaching profession deserve our admiration and support. Instead, this ruling lays the failings of our education system at their feet.
“We do not fault doctors when the emergency room is full. We do not criticize the firefighter whose supply of water runs dry. Yet while we crowd our classrooms and fail to properly equip them with adequate resources, those who filed and support this case shamelessly seek to blame teachers who step forward every day to make a difference for our children.
“No teacher is perfect. A very few are not worthy of the job. School districts have always had the power to dismiss those who do not measure up, and this year I helped pass a new law that streamlined the dismissal process, while protecting the rights of both teachers and students. It is disappointing that the Court refused to even consider this important reform.
“In a cruel irony, this final ruling comes as many California teachers spend countless unpaid hours preparing to start the new school year in hopes of better serving the very students this case purportedly seeks to help.
“While the statutes in this case are not under my jurisdiction as state Superintendent, it is clear that the Court’s ruling is not supported by the facts or the law. Its vagueness provides no guidance about how the Legislature could successfully alter the challenged statutes to satisfy the Court. Accordingly, I will ask the Attorney General to seek appellate review.”