Note: A version of this piece originally appeared in Valerie Strauss’s column in The Washington Post.
Vergara v. California, a lawsuit challenging three components of teacher employment law in California’s Ed Code that began on January 27, has garnered considerable media attention. The plaintiffs’ legal team contends that due process rights for teachers, a cumbersome teacher dismissal process, and seniority-based layoffs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. They argue that, as a result of teacher employment policies, poor and minority students learn from a disproportionately large number of “grossly ineffective” teachers. These ineffective teachers ostensibly cause education’s observed “opportunity gap” between low-income, predominantly minority students and their higher-income, mostly-white peers.
Despite the plaintiffs’ claims, this lawsuit unfortunately does not address the needs of low-income students. First, the anti-union and anti-social welfare backgrounds of the people behind Vergara v. California both suggest the lawsuit…
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