FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
LOS ANGELES—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt on the plaintiffs filing a brief in the Vergara appeal.
“Sadly, this lawsuit misses the mark. When it comes to teachers, the strategy should be a focus on recruiting, retaining and supporting the teachers our kids need, particularly our disadvantaged students and those who attend hard-to-staff schools,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “That’s the heart of the matter, rather than what this lawsuit is trying to do: strip teachers of essential tools they need to teach—their voice, their latitude and their professional judgment.
“The way you ensure high-quality public education is through collaboration. Just look at the ABC Unified School District in California. For decades, district administrators, school board members and union officials have made collaboration their mantra. The result? Teachers are excited to go to work, parents have confidence in the schools and kids are engaged. Plus, ABC Unified’s district score on California’s Academic Performance Index has increased every year.
“Tenure is not a job for life. It’s ensuring fairness and due process before someone can be fired, plain and simple. Where it’s become something other than that, let’s work together to change it—as so many have done—not through specious lawsuits, but through the Legislature.”
“We should be clear that the deep-pocketed financial backers of Vergara have an anti-union track record and that this lawsuit is part of that long-term agenda,” said CFT President Joshua Pechthalt, who is an AFT vice president. “To suggest that education reform should be driven by how teachers get fired misses the reality of what’s really happening across the country. We are having serious problems keeping teachers in the profession, and the number of young people wanting to become teachers has dropped dramatically. Putting resources into teacher training and retention, and working collaboratively to help struggling teachers become better, would help our schools and communities much more than a politically motivated, anti-education lawsuit.”
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American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Communications Department • 555 New Jersey Ave. N.W. • Washington, DC 20001 • T: 202-879-4458 • F: 202-879-4580 • www.aft.org