As you all likely recall, the Vergara case involved nine public school students (backed by some serious corporate reformer funds) to challenge five California state statutes that supported the state’s “ironclad [teacher] tenure system.” The prosecution successfully advanced its argument in June, when the judge ruled that students’ rights to a good education were being violated by teachers’ job protections…protections that were making it too difficult to fire “grossly ineffective” teachers.
It appears that, thanks to a post by Diane Ravitch, that California’s Superintendent of Schools in California – Tom Torlakson – just issued a statement declaring his decision to seek appellate review of the Vergara ruling, assuming he is re-elected in the forthcoming election. Here is his statement:
“The people who dedicate their lives to the teaching profession deserve our admiration and support. Instead, this ruling lays the failings of our education system at their feet.
“We do not fault doctors when the emergency room is full. We do not criticize the firefighter whose supply of water runs dry. Yet while we crowd our classrooms and fail to properly equip them with adequate resources, those who filed and support this case shamelessly seek to blame teachers who step forward every day to make a difference for our children.
“No teacher is perfect. A very few are not worthy of the job. School districts have always had the power to dismiss those who do not measure up, and this year I helped pass a new law that streamlined the dismissal process, while protecting the rights of both teachers and students. It is disappointing that the Court refused to even consider this important reform.
“In a cruel irony, this final ruling comes as many California teachers spend countless unpaid hours preparing to start the new school year in hopes of better serving the very students this case purportedly seeks to help.
“While the statutes in this case are not under my jurisdiction as state Superintendent, it is clear that the Court’s ruling is not supported by the facts or the law. Its vagueness provides no guidance about how the Legislature could successfully alter the challenged statutes to satisfy the Court. Accordingly, I will ask the Attorney General to seek appellate review.”