LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Attorneys in a widely-watched trial calling into question tenure and other employment protections granted to teachers statewide presented their closing arguments Thursday.
KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports the state’s two teachers unions spoke out in defense of the laws being challenged ahead of their closing arguments in Vergara v. California.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs contend that California’s teacher tenure seniority and dismissal policies violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause by blocking all students from having access to quality education.
The plaintiffs’ lawsuit, filed in May 2012, further alleges “substantial harm” is done to students by California’s permanent employment, dismissal, and seniority-based layoff laws. The suit names the state and two teacher unions that later intervened as defendants, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers.
Lawyer Theodore Boutrous – who was part of the legal team that overturned Proposition 8 – made his closing argument on behalf of nine young plaintiffs in the non-jury trial before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu.
“Teaching is the one profession in the world where you cannot tell a person they are not doing a good job,” Boutrous said.
Defense attorneys have argued the laws protecting teacher tenure help school districts statewide attract educators who might otherwise be dissuaded by what they may consider low pay and difficult working conditions.
“Without qualified people to teach our children, there would be no student learning,” said attorney Jim Finberg, who represents the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers.
A ruling is expected by the judge presiding over the case in late April or early May.
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