The New York Times Editorial
The Vergara v. California ‚Äúruling opens a new chapter in the equal education struggle. It also underscores a shameful problem that has cast a long shadow over the lives of children, not just in California but in the rest of the country as well.‚ÄĚ
Vergara Plaintiffs Deliver Riveting Closing Arguments
Watch Plaintiffs' riveting closing arguments on the final day of the Vergara v. California trial.
Oakland Alliance of Black Educators Endorses Vergara
"We believe the spirit of dedication and making children the priority, as exhibited by educators like Marcus Foster, are necessary ingredients to effectively steward our most precious resource ‚Äď children."
Historic Victory for Students in Vergara¬†v. California
Court Strikes Down Five Provisions Of The California Education Code As Unconstitutional
Trial Court: ‚ÄúThe Evidence is Compelling.¬† Indeed, it Shocks the Conscience.‚ÄĚ
On August 28, 2014, the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles made final its historic decision in Vergara v. California, striking down five harmful provisions of the California Education Code as unconstitutional. According to the Court, the laws in question‚ÄĒlaws that govern teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoffs‚ÄĒimpose substantial harm on California‚Äôs students by forcing administrators to push passionate, inspiring teachers out of the school system and keep grossly ineffective teachers in front of students year after year.
In the 16-page ruling, the Honorable Judge Rolf M. Treu found:
‚Äú…Plaintiffs have met their burden of proof on all issues presented.” (p. 4:8-9)
‚ÄúAll sides to this litigation agree that competent teachers are a critical, if not the most important, component of success of a child‚Äôs in-school education experience. All sides also agree that grossly ineffective teachers substantially undermine the ability of that child to succeed in school.‚ÄĚ (p. 7:22-26)
‚ÄúEvidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.” (p. 8:1-3)
‚ÄúThere is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.‚ÄĚ (p. 8:10-11)
‚ÄúSubstantial evidence presented makes it clear to this Court that the Challenged Statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students.‚ÄĚ (p. 15:3-4)
‚ÄúAll Challenged Statues are found unconstitutional…‚ÄĚ (p. 15:20)
Permanent Employment Statute:
‚ÄúThis court finds that both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily, and for no legally cognizable reason (let alone a compelling one), disadvantaged by the current Permanent Employment Statute.‚ÄĚ (p. 10:15-17)
‚Äú‚Ä¶the Dismissal Statutes present the issue of uber due process.‚ÄĚ (p. 12:2-3)
“This Court heard no evidence that a classified employee‚Äôs dismissal process (i.e., a Skelly hearing) violated due process. Why, then, the need for the current torturous process required by the Dismissal Statues for teacher dismissals, which has been decried by both plaintiff and defense witnesses?” (p. 12:23-27)
‚ÄúThis Court is confident that the independent judiciary of this state is no less dedicated to the protection of reasonable due process rights of teachers than it is of protecting the rights of children‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ (p. 13:4-6)
‚ÄúThe logic of [State Defendants‚Äô/Intervenors‚Äô] position is unfathomable and therefore constitutionally unsupportable.‚ÄĚ (p. 14:12-13)
“While these cases [(Brown, Serrano I, Serrano II, and Butt)] addressed the issue of a lack of equality of education…, here this Court is directly faced with issues that compel it to apply these constitutional principles to the quality of the educational experience.” (p. 3:5-9)
“That this Court’s decision will and should result in political discourse is beyond question but such consequence cannot and does not detract from its obligation to consider only the evidence and law in making its decision.” (p. 5:19-22)
The Court ordered a stay on the decision, pending appeal.
We’ve provided the following resources to offer more information about the Court’s decision and what it means for the future of public education:
- Court’s Decision
- Outline of Plaintiffs’ Arguments with Newly Available Evidence from Trial
- Plaintiffs’ Closing Arguments Presentation
- Fact Sheet: Vergara v. California Trial by the Numbers
- Fact Sheet: Best of Witness Testimony in Vergara v. California
- Case Timeline