VIDEO: Students Matter on the TEACHED San Francisco Panel

Through a series of powerful, short documentaries produced by Loudspeaker Films, TEACHED explores and exposes the causes and consequences of race-based inequality in the American public school system.

The panel at the July 31 TEACHED screening in San Francisco, co-sponsored by Bay Area Teach for America and Education Pioneers, focused on answering the question, “Does teacher tenure negatively impact students?”

Josh Lipshutz, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in Vergara v. California, participated in the panel, speaking candidly about how California’s current state laws around teacher tenure, dismissal and seniority-based layoffs unnecessarily burden school districts and keep underperforming and even abusive teachers in the classroom.

Check out a video of the panel below!

Loudspeaker producer and panel moderator Kelly Amis asked Josh about the potential negative consequences if the Vergara v. California plaintiffs succeed in striking down California’s quality-blind tenure, dismissal and seniority-based layoff laws.

Josh explained that just as students’ fundamental rights are protected by the State Constitution, so are the basic rights of teachers. Even without the super protections given exclusively to teachers by the current tenure, dismissal and layoff laws, all teachers would still be protected by the due process rights guaranteed to all California state employees by the State Constitution.

Josh explained that the Vergara v. California lawsuit is about finding the balance between teachers’ rights and students’ rights.

Aleka Calsoyas a Strategies, Systems & Policy partner at TNTP, and Bill Kappenhagen, the principal of a San Francisco public high school, also participated in the panel, offering on-the-ground insights into the importance of effective teachers to quality education.