Vergara Appeal: Oral Argument Day

Vergara Sisters

A Message from Elizabeth and Beatriz Vergara:

Today’s the day we’ve been waiting for! This morning, three justices from the California Court of Appeal will hear oral argument in Vergara v. California. Our lawyers will urge them to uphold the 2014 court ruling in favor of students across our state, and the other side will try to convince them to roll back the progress we’ve made. Will you stand with us in our fight for education equality in California?

When we began this journey nearly four years ago, we didn’t know how it would end up, but we did know that California’s public school system was failing us and our friends. We knew that we wanted to learn and succeed, and that we needed great teachers to do it.

Our fight for quality public education is a fight for the futures of kids like us all across California. Click now to share your support on Twitter! 

Pretty soon, the plaintiffs and our legal team will be heading to court. We don’t know what will happen, but we do know that we’re standing on the right side of history — and that you’re standing right there with us. Will you let us know you have our backs?

Thank you for all your support over the years. Now let’s go win this fight!

Elizabeth and Beatriz

About Vergara v. California:

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.

The Vergara lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the following California state laws:

  • Permanent Employment Statute: The permanent employment law forces administrators to either grant or deny permanent employment to teachers after an evaluation period of less than 16 months—before new teachers even complete their beginner teacher induction 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. Out of 275,000 teachers statewide, 2.2 teachers are dismissed for unsatisfactory performance per year on average, which amounts to 0.0008 percent.
  • “Last In, First Out” (“LIFO”) Layoff Statute: The “LIFO” law forces school districts to base layoffs on seniority alone, with no consideration of teachers’ performance in the classroom.

We think it’s simple: reward and retain excellent teachers and hold those accountable who are failing our children. By striking down laws, Vergara v. California will create an opportunity for lawmakers, teachers, administrators and community leaders to design a system that’s good for both teachers and students. Because 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.

The court’s historic decision in Vergara v. California reaffirmed the fundamental, Constitutional right of every student to learn from effective teachers and have an equal opportunity to succeed in school. Visit the Students Matter Victory page now for the best quotes from Judge Treu’s ruling.

Following the court’s decision, the State and the State’s two largest teacher’s unions appealed the case to the California Court of Appeal. Today, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District will hear oral argument in Vergara, and a decision is expected within 90 days.

Oral Argument (Audio):