Doe v. Antioch
The California Constitution guarantees every student in California equal access to a quality education, including equal access to effective teachers. As the evidence presented in Vergara v. California overwhelmingly demonstrated, teacher quality is the most important in-school factor affecting student success. In order to ensure that all students are being taught by effective teachers, school districts need a fair and consistent way to evaluate educators. Originally enacted by the California Legislature in 1971, the Stull Act requires school districts to evaluate the performance of teachers and other certificated employees using multiple measures of performance, including student progress toward district and state academic content standards, as measured by standardized tests.
Extensive research has shown that effective teaching can be measured, and that evaluations composed of multiple components—including, but not limited to, students’ progress on state standardized tests—demonstrate the greatest reliability and the least volatility from year to year.
Yet, for over 40 years, many California school districts have ignored or outright defied the Stull Act. At least thirteen school districts, serving nearly 250,000 students, have entered into collective bargaining agreements with their local teachers unions that explicitly prohibit the use of any standardized test results in teacher evaluations, in clear violation of the Stull Act.
We think it’s simple: reward and retain excellent teachers and hold accountable those who are failing our children.
That’s why Students Matter brought the lawsuit Jane Doe, et al. v. Antioch Unified School District, et al. on July 16, 2015. Doe v. Antioch, filed in Contra Costa Superior Court, challenges the collective bargaining agreements of thirteen school districts and their local teachers unions that explicitly prohibit the use of students’ standardized test data in the evaluation of teachers, in direct violation of the Stull Act. Simply put, the lawsuit asks the court to force these school districts to comply with state law.
As the organizational sponsor of Doe v. Antioch, Students Matter is uniting students, parents, teachers, and concerned California taxpayers with an interest in ensuring accountability in our public schools. As long as the Stull Act remains unenforced in numerous districts throughout the state, our students will continue to suffer and California will fail to live up to its promise of equal educational opportunity for all.