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California Suit Targets Teacher Protections

By Stephen Sawchuk — May 22, 2012 1 min read
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A handful of California parents have sued the state over five laws that they claim concentrate poorly performing teachers in schools that primarily serve disadvantaged and minority students.

Filed in superior court in Los Angeles last week, the lawsuit takes aim at rules that require tenure be granted after only two years; create some dozen steps in the due process procedures for dismissing teachers for poor performance; and mandate that seniority serve as the major factor in deciding which teachers are laid off during reductions in force.

The combination of the statutes, the filing reads, “inevitably presents a total and fatal conflict with the right to education guaranteed by the California constitution because it forces an arbitrary subset of California students to be educated by grossly ineffective teachers.”

Named in the lawsuit are the Los Angeles and Alum Rock Union school districts, Gov. Jerry Brown, state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson, the state education department and board of education. It seeks an injunction against the five statutes in question.

The lawsuit was sponsored by the nonprofit Students Matter.

A version of this article appeared in the May 23, 2012 edition of Education Week as California Suit Targets Teacher Protections


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