Diane Ravitch’s thoughts on Vegara….

What a ridiculous claim!

In a court case in California, a bevy or flock or pride of teacher-bashing organizations argue that teacher tenure violates the civil rights of students. The bevy says that bad teachers hurt students and tenure protects bad teachers.

Maybe next they will sue to eliminate tenure in higher education so everyone is an adjunct.

In higher education, tenure is a guarantee of a lifetime job.

In K-12 education, tenure is a promise of a hearing before they fire you. If a student falsely claims you touched him or her, you are fired without a hearing. If the principal doesn’t like your race, your religion, your face, he or she can fire you without having to say why.

Here is Ted Olsen explaining to the Jeb Bush foundation of rightwing extremists how this case will be a civil rights landmark.

No, it will be one more nail in the coffin of the teaching profession, one more chance to reduce the status of teachers and to increase churn.

Here is what the teachers of the Bay Area say.

“Just when you think that some of the big moneyed, right wing reformers might back off from their unsound, unproven and unrealistic schemes, along comes another one!

“Did you know that because of five sections of the California Education Code YOU have just become the enemy and you are accused of depriving our neediest students of their education?

“Forget about the damage done by unnecessary high stakes testing and fly by night charter schools. Disregard poverty, racism, homelessness, neglect and malnutrition. So what if the schools in California are ranked at the bottom in per pupil funding, class sizes, number of librarians, counselors and nurses in our schools. Not to mention that we have lowered the number of educators by over 30,000, in the California in the last few years.

“Don’t even think about the hard work that you and your colleagues do every day to teach the children of San Francisco under difficult and challenging conditions.

“David F. Welch, CEO of INFINERA, a fiber optics communication company, is the founder of NewSchools Venture Fund. Previously, the fund has invested in charter schools in Boston and worked in “school reform” in New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Oakland. Now he has created “Students Matter,” and hired the law firm of Theodore B. Olsen, Theodore J. Boutrous and Marcellus Antonio Mc Rae, partners in the powerful law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, to sue the state of California.

“In their own words, “The lawsuit seeks to strike down five provisions of the education code that, separately and together, push some of out best teachers out of the classroom and entrench grossly ineffective teachers in our schools….”

“They allege that “California’s schools hire and retain grossly ineffective teachers at alarming rates.”

“In the lawsuit they attack the due process rights that are referred to when you achieve “tenure.” They attack procedures called for when you are accused of misbehavior by a student, a parent or an administrator. They attack seniority when there is a need for lay-offs. And they want “objective evidence of student growth” to be part of evaluations.

“No one in the profession wants educators who are not competent and not doing the job they have been hired to do. No one in the profession wants to see students harmed in any way.

“But, all that tenure really means is that a person must be made aware of the reason they may be in jeopardy of losing their job. Educators should not be “at will” employees who can be fired at the whim of the administration. We do not want the careers of people ruined because they have been falsely accused of misbehavior. The unions seek to protect the rights of employees to know the charges made against them, and the right to defend oneself. That is what is meant by due process.

“The reformers have filed this lawsuit because they have failed to achieve their ends using the democratic political process. The Education Code of California was created by our elected representatives. If the public wants to make changes, there is a democratic process to do that. The people behind this effort have been unsuccessful in doing that and so they have resorted to going to court to push their anti-teacher, anti-union perspective.”

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