A Bay Area nonprofit targets teacher tenure rules, seniority protections and the dismissal process. Foes say it wants to weaken public sector unions.
By Howard Blume
(From LA Times, May 16th 2012)
A Bay Area nonprofit backed partly by groups known for battling teachers unions has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn five California laws that, they say, make it too difficult to dismiss ineffective teachers.
The suit, filed on behalf of eight students, takes aim at California laws that govern teacher tenure rules, seniority protections and the teacher dismissal process.
“A handful of outdated laws passed by the California Legislature are preventing school administrators from maintaining or improving the quality of our public educational system,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court and announced Tuesday.
The group behind the legal action is the newly formed Students Matter. The founder is Silicon Valley entrepreneur David F. Welch and the group’s funders include the foundation of L.A. philanthropist Eli Broad.
The suit contends that teachers can earn tenure protections too quickly — in two years — well before their fitness for long-term employment can be determined. The suit also seeks to invalidate the practice of first laying off less experienced teachers during a budget crisis, rather than keeping the best teachers. And it takes aim at a dismissal process that, it alleges, is too costly, too lengthy and typically results in ineffective teachers holding on to jobs.