Students trapped in systemically failing schools suffered a setback on Friday when a California appeals court nullified the landmark settlement adopted in January last year which had protected the schools from the harmful policy of quality-blind layoffs that are common throughout public education.
Read about the landmark decision here.
Unfortunately, in a move that clearly ignored the needs of kids and teachers in struggling schools, UTLA appealed the settlement arguing arcane and outdated rules surrounding layoffs should take precedence over a child’s constitutional right to a quality education. Today, the appeals court overturned the settlement, and sent the case back to court for a full trial.
This decision highlights one of the greatest struggles in education reform today. Teachers at the lowest performing schools are laid-off in droves every year because they are newer, and therefore the first on the chopping block for the quality-blind, seniority- based layoffs that are required by law in California. This not only violates the constitutional rights of children by denying them the quality education and consistent teaching staff they are entitled to, but it perpetuates the demoralizing situation in which some of our best teachers get laid off every year simply because they are new to the profession. This is yet another disastrous example of an education system that refuses to put the interests of children first.
The “last in first out” policy requiring quality-blind, seniority-based layoffs is not only degrading the quality of education our kids receive, it is also further diminishing the supply of excellent educators, pushing younger teachers out of the profession en masse without any regard for how effective they are or aren’t in the classroom.
Today’s ruling further highlights the pressing need for legislative change to end policies that infringe upon the rights of kids and degrade an honorable profession. Parents and children should not be forced into the courts to protect their constitutional right to a quality education time and time again because the state of California refuses to implement common sense policies that would put kids first.