RELEASE: Democrats for Education Reform Statement on Vergara v. California

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

June 10, 2014

Devin Boyle | 202.445.0416 |


Democrats for Education Reform Statement on Vergara v. California
Los Angeles, June 10, 2014 – Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) issued the following statement from Executive Director Joe Williams today on Judge Rolf Treu’s much-anticipated decision in the Vergara v. California case:

“California’s public education system is unfairly rigged against the very kids who most need it to have a fighting chance in life, a judge ruled today. Admitting that sober reality means the public can finally do something about it.

“We believe that that the Vergara case should not be the last word on tenure and the role of teacher effectiveness in teacher hiring, promotion, placement and dismissal policies. The fact that the case was necessary at all reflects the failure of stakeholders to come together and find common ground on policies that treat educators fairly but also make the interests of students paramount in our public education system.

“What’s needed ultimately is political reform that levels the playing field in Sacramento so that students don’t have to take the state to court to get an effective teacher. We should not rule out the possibility of an education system that retains tenure but awards it on merit rather than time served. In fact, some districts and local teachers’ unions are begging for a system very much like that that the state will not let them move ahead with.

“As recently as a month ago, the state struck down a request by San Jose to implement a peer review teacher evaluation system that would have kept tenure but lengthened the probationary period to attain it. The local chapter of the California Teachers Association was fully on board with the plan.

“This isn’t the first time the state stepped in to block the kinds of policies that would have made Vergara unnecessary. Not by a long shot. If California wants, as we do, teachers to be viewed as professionals, we need to find a way to transcend the special interest politics that prevent teachers from professionalizing.

“In a decisive victory for the student plaintiffs, Judge Treu’s ruling struck down all five of the contested policies that seriously impacted student achievement, including a permanent employment statute, three dismissal statutes, and the controversial “Last-in, First Out” statute, which took teacher performance out of the equation when determining district-wide layoffs.

The nine students represented in the Vergara case were not alone. Many states across the country have already taken steps to increase teacher effectiveness and improve educational equity, and they will be models for California as it moves forward.”

About Democrats for Education Reform
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political reform organization with 12 state affiliates that cultivates and supports leaders in the Democratic Party who champion America’s public schoolchildren.