A video showing closing arguments in the Vergara v. California lawsuit, which challenges the state’s laws regarding teacher tenure, seniority and dismissal, is available on the Students Matter website.
The lawsuit charges that five sections of the state’s education code violate the state’s constitutional guarantee to an equitable public education because most teachers are granted tenure before they are known to be effective, it is very hard to fire bad teachers, and ineffective teachers are concentrated in schools serving poor and minority students because of seniority rules.
More information about the case is available here.
While many people assume that teacher tenure, seniority, and dismissal procedures are the result of collective bargaining agreements between teacher unions and school boards, these policies are often a matter of state law. In an Ed Next article “Invisible Ink in Teacher Contracts: State policy trumps collective bargaining,” Emily Cohen and Kate Walsh describe how this works.