FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Victory for Students as California Supreme Court Rejects Review of Vergara Appeal
San Francisco – In a victory for students and educators, the Supreme Court of California today announced it will not review the Vergara v. California lawsuit, letting the unanimous appellate court decision upholding five statutes governing professional and employment rights for educators stand as constitutional. This decision vindicates the arguments of educators, civil rights groups, legal scholars and education policy experts that the state statutes affirming educator rights do not harm students.
“This is a good day for students and educators as the Supreme Court’s decision brings an end to the case brought by wealthy anti-public education millionaires who spent millions of dollars to bypass voters, parents, and the legislature in an attempt to impose their harmful education agenda on local schools, .” said California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins. “It’s time to get back to the real issues facing our public schools and work together to improve student learning and support the art of teaching. Eliminating teachers’ ability to stand up for their students and robbing school districts of the tools they need to make sound employment decisions was a well-funded but wrong-headed scheme developed by people with no education expertise.”
“We applaud the state Supreme Court’s affirmation of the appeal court decision,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “The teacher shortage facing California has been stoked by the Vergara case, the expensive publicity machine surrounding it, and the constant attacks by so-called reformers on teachers and public education. We can now turn closer attention to solving the actual problems we confront in our schools, such as securing adequate funding through Prop 55, reducing class sizes, promoting and strengthening peer assistance and review, and reinforcing collaborative district practices with a proven record of success. These efforts will result in a more positive climate to address the teacher shortage crisis, bring young people to teaching and encourage experienced teachers to stay in the classroom.”
The Vergara case was the brainchild of Silicon Valley multi-millionaire David Welch and a group of corporate attorneys and public relations experts who founded the organization Students Matter to file the lawsuit. At issue in the case were five California statutes covering due process rights for teachers, probationary periods, and the value of educator experience when school districts are forced to lay off personnel due to revenue shortfalls and underfunding.
Over the course of a nearly two-month trial, award-winning teachers, superintendents, principals, school board members, education researchers, and policy experts testified to the benefit of these laws and how they work effectively to ensure quality instructors in well-run school districts. No connection was ever made between the challenged laws and any student being harmed. The Court of Appeal decision repeatedly affirmed that the current laws do not prevent districts from making personnel decisions.
CFT-SPONSORED BILLS PASS OUT OF THEIR HOUSE OF ORIGIN
Community College Part-Time Faculty Collective Bargaining: Assembly Bill 1690 (Medina) would require those community college districts without a collective bargaining agreement with part-time, temporary faculty to commence negotiations to establish standards for the treatment of part-time, temporary faculty to be met by community college collective bargaining agreements, including, among other issues, workload distribution, evaluation procedures and seniority rights. Specifically, AB 1690 would require those community college districts that have not entered into a collective bargaining agreement as of January 1, 2017 to engage in negotiations with their part-time faculty for the purpose of retaining qualified part-time faculty and establishing a seniority list that will govern the offering of new assignments or a reduction in assignments. Those districts that already have such an agreement in place are exempted from the requirements of this bill. This bill also specifies minimum standards for the negotiated language.
Currently, this bill is in the Senate Rules Committee after having passed off the Assembly Floor on a 55-20 vote on June 1, 2016. The bill most likely will be referred to the Senate Education Committee.
Community College Part-Time Faculty Office Hours: Assembly Bill 2069 (Medina) would require a community college district to report the percentage of part-time faculty that are required to hold office hours. The Seymour-Campbell Student Success Act of 2012 requires participating community college districts to, with the advice of the Chancellor, establish and maintain institutional research to evaluate the effectiveness of programs designed to facilitate students’ completion of educational goals and courses of study. This bill would require community college districts to report, as a part of their Student Success Scorecard, the percentage of part-time faculty who are required to hold office hours per full-time equivalent student.
Currently, this bill is in the Senate Rules Committee after having passed off the Assembly Floor on a 77-0 vote on June 1, 2016. The bill is currently in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting assignment, but will most likely be referred to the Senate Education Committee.
AFT T-Shirts are in!
Oh yeah! We got our rockin' shirts in! If you wanna look like the coolest teacher on campus, then come pick up your shirt! The shirts are Unisex. Just in case though, female shirts are all available for a limited time!