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Bay Area nonprofit wins state teacher tenure lawsuit

Original post made on Jun 11, 2014

California's teacher tenure laws were declared unconstitutional Tuesday by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, ruling on a lawsuit sponsored by Students Matter, a Menlo Park-based nonprofit group founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 2:39 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Tom, a resident of Danville
on Jun 11, 2014 at 9:44 pm

This is a fantastic ruling for our children. It gives me hope for California. I was so enraged recently when the principal of our school told us that he cannot instruct his teachers to update school loop with any frequency, resulting in grades being reported weeks after the fact. Teachers and their union have too much control over their jobs and it needs to come back to serving children and the parents who pay for their education.


Posted by rick Pshaw, a resident of Danville
on Jun 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm

The teacher's unions always crow about how they are in favor of the students morning, noon and night. However, when a judicial ruling comes down that REALLY is in favor of students, the unions are suddenly and totally in favor of teachers and the hell with a quality education for the kids.

It's gratifying to see the real motivation of the unions finally revealed for all of its deceit.


Posted by Douglas, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jun 12, 2014 at 7:13 am

It's about time someone stands up to the biggest bullies on the planet!


Posted by Ron F, a resident of Danville
on Jun 12, 2014 at 7:27 am

I'm pleased by the ruling and I'm not surprised about the teachers union response in the end it's a win for the parents, and children. I see in the future more teachers will want to work in California as they will see a fair means to allow the junior and senior teachers to thrive and the poor teachers will no longer be Teflon. They will be subject to dismissal. Much like the private sector if your performance is poor your position Is suspect. Perform or be replaced will cause teachers to do more and students will thrive. The union officials have to much power and this ruling will let them know the free ride is going to end.


Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 12, 2014 at 7:56 am

I am thrilled with this ruling. Unfortunately it will take years for the appeals process to be completed but in the end I hope we can get a reasonable process for retaining good teachers and getting rid of the bad ones. I know at my work place if you get a series of bad evaluations you are gone.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jun 12, 2014 at 8:26 am

We are fortunate to have such great teachers in SRVSD. I have met personally with all of my kids' teachers over the past 15 years many times and have worked closely with them volunteering in the classroom. Based on what I've seen, they're smart, motivated, and effective. I hear the same thing from other parents.

My two youngest kids are sad because today is the last day of school and they're going to miss their teachers. My 7-year-old daughter was crying about it last night. I thought she was sad because she'd miss her friends. She said no, she's going to miss her teacher. Any kid would be lucky to go to any school in SRVSD.

Sadly, the same can't be said of all those poor suckers who live in crummy school districts. And it's not about money. Those crummy school districts get more money than SRVSD.

California is one of only 10 states that is forbidden by law from considering teacher performance when making layoffs. The only thing that matters here is seniority. It's almost impossible to get rid of bad teachers.

Fewer than 0.002% of California teachers are dismissed for unprofessional conduct or poor performance in any given year compared to 1% of other California public employees and 8% of workers in the private economy.

That's not to say teachers in crummy school districts have an easy job or that it's 100% the teachers' fault that those kids perform poorly. There's a lot of factors. But the most significant factor is the quality of the teacher.

School districts need the flexibility to fire bad teachers and reward the good ones. It is ludicrous that school districts can't consider teacher performance when laying off teachers. Granting teachers tenure after 2 years is too short of a time period to determine if teachers are any good. And sometimes over the years teachers lose their enthusiasm to teach and school districts should be allowed to let them go based upon objective performance criteria.

This is a fantastic ruling. I almost never agree with liberal Democrat George Miller, but this is a ruling that both conservatives and liberals should applaud.


Posted by Da, a resident of John Baldwin Elementary School
on Jun 12, 2014 at 9:37 am

Will the days of extortion by Unions be over?

Will the days of tenure and the almost impossibilty of terminating a lousy teacher be over?

Schools around here are pretty much ok due to parents.

But the overlay of work rules, regulations, bureaucracy and waste is incredible.

There were days long ago when teachers were allowed to teach - now they fill out forms and praise some nameless, faceless bureaucrat in DC or Sacramento.

Let us get back to local control of our schools.


Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Jun 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm

We are blessed that the overwhelming majority of teachers in our school district do a great job, and this ruling will have no affect on the way they discharge their fiduciary duty to our children. This ruling will affect those few, horrible, lazy, unorganized, unmotivated teachers who solely keep their jobs because of teacher union tenure. We have had a few of these at Vista Grande, Los Cerros, and Monte Vista, who clearly entered the teaching profession knowing that after 2 years they could coast and not do their jobs properly as tenure and their unions were looking out for them. Let hope those few leave the teaching profession, and maybe the teachers union will finally gain some respect and realize protecting the few bad teachers really hurts our children and tarnishes the image of the good teachers.


Posted by Douglas, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jun 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm

There are more than a few lazy teachers at Monte Vista and many of those are in the math and science departments. I have yet to be impressed by either of my kids teachers in those departments and my oldest is a senior.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Jun 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

I also agree that this is one step to improving our education system. It is ridiculous that schools cannot easily fire an incompetent teacher.

We are fortunate here in the SRVUSD, but I don't live in the Danville bubble. I know that there are several bad teachers in our school district. I am a stay-at-home mother and have volunteered countless hours at my children's schools. I have seen it all from K-12th grade. We have had a few bad teachers, many okay teachers, and only three wonderful teachers.

I can only wish that teacher unions were extinct, but we all know that there is a lot of power in those unions. It's amazing that they have money to fight this, but can't afford basic student needs in all schools.



Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

My main issue with any union - and I am not anti-union like many posters here - is the protection of incompetents. Not the biggest problem with a drywall worker's union, BART janitors, or warehouse workers (sorry about impaling y'all on the forklift Fred!), but a huge problem with a nurse, a nuclear power plant worker, a crane operator. Or a teacher.

Charlotte Wood has had one mentally unbalanced teacher on staff for a long, long time, and principal George has steadfastly refused to do anything about her despite massive numbers of parent complaints. In general the teachers have been great, so a really bad one stands out like a sore thumb.


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