Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Sunday, January 26, 2014

California corporate 'reformers' file suit so they can fire teachers without due process

Students Matter, a front group for corporate-style school "reformers" has filed suit in Los Angeles in an attempt to undercut statewide collective-bargaining agreements and to make it easier to fire teachers without due process.

The L.A. Times describes Students Matter as a group founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David F. Welch, a research scientist who went on to co-found Infinera, a manufacturer of optical telecommunications systems based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Welch is also a founder of the New Schools Venture Fund, a powerful force behind the growth of privately-run charter schools.
The suit, Vergara v. California, provides a way for the reformers to do an end run around the State Legislature where their moves would probably meet with strong opposition from labor-friendly Democrats.
The group is partly funded by organizations known for battling teachers unions. The foundation of Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad, which has backed numerous education initiatives, also supports it.
The group hired a high-profile legal team to argue its case. It includes Boutrous, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Theodore B. Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration. Olson argued Bush v. Gore, over the contested 2000 presidential election, before the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with Boutrous, Olson also represented activists who sought to overturn California's ban on gay marriage.
Backing Welch, according to the Washington Post,
...are some of the most incendiary players in the national argument over the future of public schools, including Michelle Rhee, the former D.C. schools chancellor who got rid of tenure in the District in 2009 and went on to form an advocacy group aimed at eliminating it across the country. Parent Revolution, the group behind the controversial “parent trigger” laws, is another supporter.
Other organizations behind the suit include: Alliance for a Better Community, California Charter Schools Association, Silcon Valley Leadership Group, GO Oakland Public Schools, and NewSchools Venture Fund. The suit is also supported by Superintendents John Deasy in L.A., former Oakland Supt.Tony Smith, and Jonathan Raymond of Sacramento City Unified.

The defendants in the case, which include Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and other state officials, have been joined by the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers.

Check out the Times comment section for a few good responses to the suit. 
Also see "Vergara v. California Lawsuit Threatens Fundamental Teacher Rights" by Linda Plack from the United Educators of San Francisco.

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