Vergara v California: School children get their day in court

vergara-v-bad-teacherArguments begin today in the case of Vergara v. California. Plaintiffs aim to overturn several state laws that protect bad teachers. Students Matter, the group behind the suit, says the California laws “unconstitutionally” deprive children of their “fundamental right” to a quality education. Student Matters contend that it is “minority and low-income students” who are hurt most by “grossly ineffective teachers.”

Students Matter argues that “research shows effective teachers are the single most important factor to ensuring a student’s academic success — even more important than funding.” If the court agrees that a good teacher in the classroom is the key to learning, then making it easier for California schools to shed ineffective teachers” ought to be a priority.

Vergara v California

The legal argument is that California statutes violate the Equal Protection Clause by forcing school districts to keep failing teachers in the classroom year after year, with devastating consequences for the students assigned to their classrooms. Arguing the case for Stduent Matters are a couple high-powered constitutional lawyers including Ted Olsen of Bush v. Gore fame, and Theodore Boutrous.

Of course California Teacher unions oppose the case.

On December 13, 2013, the Court denied the State’s and the teachers unions’ motions for summary judgment, allowing the case to proceed to trial. On December 31, 2014, the State and the teachers unions made a final last-ditch effort to stall and avoid the Vergara v. California education equality trial, but the Court of Appeal denied their petitions.

In a recent post at EdSource, Seth Rosenthal, a member of the Governing Board of the San Carlos School District, wrote

Relationships between local school districts and their bargaining units would be forever altered, and school districts and teachers would have to quickly find a new paradigm for hiring, evaluating, and firing staff. However, the folks at Students Matter are quick to point out that Vergara would not eliminate due process protections that currently exist in California Government Code for all public employees, including teachers.

Print Friendly


  1. Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette says

    School district politicians teach cheating, squandering money & general stupidity. Where, but in public schools, does one person doing the exact same thing as the person in the next room, make twice as much money as the junior person, who might be doing a better job? In the Mount Diablo School District, The worst teachers were promoted to Principles. This has gone on for decades and I doubt anything has changed.

  2. Wendy Lack says

    Unions are child molesters’ best friends.

    It’s great to see students fighting back by directly challenging the root problem: teachers’ union tenure policies. See also:

    Reducing union power is essential to restoring the balance of power between government and the people it is supposed to serve.

  3. Hal Bray says

    Thanks, Bill, i am happy to read about the effort. But for goodness sake, don’t tell Joan Buchanan, she will do everything she can to introduce legislation to gut any positive decision in the case…..

    • says

      The real question is why teacher union lackies like Torlakson Bonilla and Buchanan never pursue real change as they always crow about being ‘for the children’