The Education Trust–West Statement on the Court of Appeals Decision in Vergara v. California

Last Thursday, the California Court of Appeals for the Second Appellate District issued a decision overturning the Vergara v. California ruling and rolling back progress on ensuring all students have access to effective teachers. The court overturned the ruling striking down five specific California laws governing teacher tenure, dismissal, and seniority-based layoffs. The nine student plaintiffs intend to appeal this decision to the California Supreme Court.

This decision constitutes a setback for California’s students of color and low-income students. Effective, well-supported, and well-prepared teachers make a tremendous impact on students’ lives. Numerous studies have shown that an effective teacher is the strongest in-school factor to raise achievement. Currently over 1.5 million Black and Latino students in California are not meeting standards in Math and/or English. These outcomes stem from systemic disparities. Black, Latino and low-income students are much more likely to have an ineffective teacher than their white or higher-income peers. As schools and districts work to remedy this, problematic laws shouldn’t force them into decisions that are bad for students.

The current teacher tenure, dismissal, and LIFO laws are problematic, and hurt both educators and the students they serve. Yet these laws are not the only barrier to the success of students of color and low-income students. They are just one component of a flawed system. “The continuing debate over the Vergara case is a linchpin to continue the conversation about the need for real equity in education” Said Ryan J. Smith, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West. “The case forces California to publicly confront the inequitable reality so many of our students face in schools across the state.”

California should lead the nation on holding schools and districts accountable for fulfilling the constitutional right to an equal education. We stand ready to continue fighting for effective teachers for every student.

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Education Trust West

Education Trust West

Advocates for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, particularly those of color and living in poverty.

Equity-Driven • Data-Centered • Student-Focused

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