FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
LOS ANGELES — On Wednesday the State of California and intervening parties—the California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association—will begin presenting their side of the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit. The suit, if successful, will hurt students by eliminating educators' employment rights. The State and educators will call expert witnesses whose testimony will show that the plaintiffs’ arguments are deeply flawed and that the laws they are challenging do not harm students, and in fact serve legitimate purposes that make for a better public school system.
"Over the next few weeks our witnesses will show something very simple,” said California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt. “Abolishing workplace protections for teachers—protections that teachers need to advocate for their students—do nothing but harm students. Teachers need due process rights and adequate resources to do the job properly. Everything else proposed by the other side in this ideology-driven lawsuit is a distraction from what it takes to foster quality teaching and learning environments in public schools.”
California Teachers Association President Dean E. Vogel agrees.
“This blatant attempt to legislate from the bench has resulted in nothing but public and political grandstanding on the backs of our students and educators. Those who truly care about the kids we teach must be involved in serious conversations with all the stakeholders who work hard every day to make our neighborhood schools so vital to our students. We need to talk more about the real trials that our students face from poverty, a lack of state funding, and overcrowded classrooms.”
Among witnesses expected to testify this week are Robert Fraisse, a former school superintendent who will testify to the effectiveness of the challenged laws, and to the chaos and harm upending them would cause to students and schools. Also testifying will be teachers Cynthia Acerno, Vicki Decker, and Christine McClaughlin, a respected teacher with multiple honors, including 2013 Pasadena Teacher of the Year, whom Vergara plaintiffs have falsely named as “ineffective” and cite as one reason for stripping all California teachers of basic rights. Dr. Jesse Rothstein, an economist from University of California at Berkeley will discuss his extensive research into the serious problems with using “Value Added” models to make decisions about teacher performance.
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. The California Federation of Teachers is the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, and represents faculty and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education.