Watch the first day of trial unfold through the eyes of the Vergara v. California plaintiffs.
Rep. Kristin Olsen: “I’m cheering on this case”
"If these nine courageous kids are victorious and these outdated, unfair laws are overturned, we will have a golden opportunity to reset the conversation in California about our schools and how to achieve top-ranking status once again."
Gloria Romero Debates the Case
Former State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero debates Vergara v. California with a representative from the California Teachers Association on PBS' SoCal Insider.
Vergara v. California Case Summary
Vergara v. California: Californians shouldn’t have to choose: we can create an education system that gives every child a passionate, motivating and effective teacher and gives effective teachers the respect and rewarding careers they deserve. We believe every child, everywhere, deserves great teachers, and so does the California Supreme Court and the California Constitution. The California Supreme Court has long recognized that equal opportunity to access quality education is every child’s fundamental constitutional right.
With the help of Students Matter, nine California public school children filed the statewide lawsuit Vergara v. California against the State of California in May 2012 to strike down the laws handcuffing schools from doing what’s best for kids when it comes to teachers. Meet the Plaintiffs.
We think it’s simple: reward and retain passionate, motivating, effective teachers and hold those accountable who are failing our children. By striking down the following laws, Vergara v. California will create an opportunity for lawmakers, teachers, administrators and community leaders to design a system that’s good for teachers and students. Because when it comes to educating our kids, there should only be winners.
- Permanent Employment Statute: The permanent employment law forces administrators to either grant or deny permanent employment to teachers after only 18 monthsâ€”before new teachers even complete their beginner teacher programs and before administrators are able to assess whether a teacher will be effective long-term.
- Dismissal Statutes: The process for dismissing a single ineffective teacher involves a borderline infinite number of steps, requires years of documentation, costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and still, rarely ever works. In the past 10 years in the entire state of California, only 91 teachers have been dismissed, and the vast majority of those dismissals were for egregious conduct. Only 19 dismissals were based, in whole or in part, on unsatisfactory performance.
- “Last-In, First-Out” Layoff Statute: The LIFO law reduces teachers to faceless seniority numbers. The LIFO law forces administrators to let go of passionate and motivating newer teachers and keep ineffective teachers instead, just because they have seniority.
In May 2013, the state’s two largest teachers unions, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, intervened in the case to defend these statutes alongside the State. The 20-day trial for Vergara v. California begins on January 27, 2014.