California Judge Strikes Down California Tenure Rules As Denying Quality Education To Poor and Disadvantaged Children

SchoolClassroomgavel2There is an interesting ruling in California where Los Angeles County Judge Rolf Treu has issued a decision that is a condemnation of teacher tenure. Treu found that the tenure laws violate the right to equal protection guaranteed by the California Constitution because they make it so difficult to remove substandard teachers that students are being denied equality of education. Regardless of whether this novel decision will be upheld on appeal, it is an indictment of tenure rules where school districts have little ability to fire teachers who then end up being moved around to the harm of students. In reviewing the poor teachers and the inability to get rid of them, Treu called the system something that truly “shocks the conscience.” He struck down the tenure rules as unconstitutional, a decision which should face a determined challenge on appeal and one that breaks new ground in the area.

The lawsuit in Vergara v. California was brought on behalf of nine public school students. California gives teachers tenure after two years or less. Only four other states have such a rule — a reflection of the powerful teachers union in the state. Treu found that, once given tenure, it is simply too difficult for the district to get rid of terrible teachers: “The evidence this court heard was that it could take anywhere from two to almost 10 years and cost $50,000 to $450,000 to bring these cases to conclusion.”

The decision is likely to trigger other lawsuits around the country. However, the decision will likely face a serious challenge given cases like Fontana Unified School District v. Burman 45 Ca1.3d 208 (1988) where the Supreme Court held that the Education Code gives a local school district “substantial leeway in determining when to take disciplinary action against a permanent employee and what action to take.”

We previously discussed a case where a teacher stayed at home for seven years on full salary and benefits while his fitness was being reviewed under these rules.

The reactions to the opinion were both predictable and unpredictable. On the predictable side were union leaders who insisted that the judge was hoodwinked and that there is no such problem with the tenure system. Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, is quoted as saying the judge “fell victim to anti-union, anti-teacher rhetoric of one of America’s best corporate law firms.”

However, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave a rather unexpected response for an administration with very close lies to the teacher unions: “The students who brought this lawsuit are, unfortunately, just nine out of millions of young people in America who are disadvantaged by laws, practices and systems that fail to identify and support our best teachers and match them with our neediest students. Today’s court decision is a mandate to fix these problems.”

The California Teachers Associations is one of the most powerful unions in the world and a reportedly number one on the “Billion Dollar Club” — the top spenders in California politics. Indeed, the CTA spent ($211,849,298) twice as much as the next highest campaign contributor: the California State Council of Service Employees ($107,467,272). It also spent more than the contributions of Chevron, AT&T, and Philip Morris combined.

1. California Teachers Association $ 211,849,298
2. California State Council of Service Employees $ 107,467,272
3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America $ 104,912,997
4. Morongo Band of Mission Indians $ 83,600,438
5. Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians $ 69,298,909
6. Pacific Gas & Electric Company $ 69,240,759
7. Chevron Corporation $ 66,257,132
8. AT&T Inc. $ 59,619,677
9. Philip Morris USA $ 50,756,360
10. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians $ 49,078,448
11. Southern California Edison $ 43,412,031
12. California Hospital Association $ 43,281,456
13. California Chamber of Commerce $ 39,065,861
14. Western States Petroleum Association $ 35,214,325
15. Aera Energy LLC $ 34,671,163
GRAND TOTAL $1,067,726,126

107 thoughts on “California Judge Strikes Down California Tenure Rules As Denying Quality Education To Poor and Disadvantaged Children”

  1. Thank you, Paul.

    All anyone can do is debate and reveal the facts and the truth.

    The SCOTUS is the singular American failure since inception. While the executive and legislative branches were expected to be zealous and ambitious, the judicial was established to be a great big NO. The SCOTUS has not sent down unanimous objective decisions, they issue arbitrary, subjective and split decisions based on the effects and consequences of those decisions not the facts and the Constitution. They decide by ideology. That’s overreach into the legislative branch. That’s “legislating from the bench.” That’s corrupt.

    That’s a massive failure.

  2. The SCOTUS, in all its arrogance and corruption, ignores the words of the Founders in the Preamble as they explained their assumptions and understandings.

    The Founders understood and assumed that government was limited to Justice, Tranquility, Common Defense and General Welfare (deliberately excluding individual “welfare”) with the “Blessings of liberty enjoyed by the citizens as their endeavors and businesses conducted in the free markets of the private sector.

    Government, it was understood as stated in the Preamble, is limited to security and infrastructure. Those are governmental operations that taxes may be levied to fund.

    The Founders provided private property rights and Jefferson said that the right to private personal or moveable property (i.e. money) was “admitted” before a nation is constituted. It is by God that we have the right to private personal property (i.e. money) and by the state that we have the right to private real property.

    The government taxes citizens for governmental operations,

    NOT to take private property from one citizen to give private property to another

    The Communist Manifesto was written 75 years later because the Constitution excluded redistribution of wealth. The two documents ARE different.

    Redistribution of wealth in any form or for any purpose is unconstitutional.

    Welfare direct payments, food stamps, Medicare, social services, affirmative action, rent control, HHS, HUD, Education, Labor, FNMA, student loans, HAMP, public school/college etc. are unconstitutional.

    1. John – you and I may agree that all of that long list of things is unconstitutional, but until the Supreme Court agrees, it is not so. The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is today. Tomorrow it may be something else.

  3. Chuck – read the article and I do have some questions. It has to do with the photo. The photo looks more like it was taken of a paper trash spill. You will notice the police car in the background. Overturned container and bobcat, plus the workers. The papers do not seem similar as they would if they were all advocating the same thing. I do not know anything about the alleys in DC but that picture was taken in a warehouse/industrial district at the loading docks. You will not the distance between buildings so the trucks can back up to the loading docks. And what I saw in the picture would not come close to 500,000 pieces of paper, much less posters. Poster board is heavy, thicker and slicker. It falls differently then is shown in the photo.
    And it is not like the Obama administration is unknown for dirty tricks. The statement by the RNC could very well be right.

  4. David,
    I fished your comment out of the spam filter, but there were a few others on the same theme, so I just approved the one above. I don’t know why they are in there. They weren’t too long or didn’t have more than two citations.

    By the way, governments serving 300 plus million people cannot work on voluntary contributions. Who would pay if they get the same services without paying? Toll booths aren’t voluntary. If you are on the road, you have to pay. License fees are already collected and are not enough to pay for all of the services the agency is providing.

    1. If the government is providing services that people want, they will pay. If the people do not want to pay for the services, then get rid of them. Right now about half the people aren’t paying for the services they get anyway.

      The idea is that services people don’t want or are not needed will stop. Government will become more efficient. What business wouldn’t want 300 million clients? Of course it would work. You just believe government when they claim that they don’t have enough money. The amount of waste and the amount they give away makes it clear that they have more than enough money.

      I think people voting for what they want with their money makes a lot more sense than people voting by marking a ballot.

  5. Government already uses some of these techniques. Examples include toll booths on roads, permit fees for construction, license fees for the right to fish, the right to drive, and the right to operate a business.

  6. Larry, I’ve tried answering your question about how government can plan with voluntary taxes, but WordPress will not let the posts go through no matter how much I shorten it or edit it. Sorry.

  7. MA,

    I accept your concession in this debate. Thank you.


    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    The Founders used these verbs to demonstrate the ACTION they took: establish, insure, provide, promote and secure. The Founders said they DID something, you say they DIDN’T do something. The Founders say they took action, you say they didn’t take action through the Preamble.

    The Founders constituted government as Justice, Tranquility, Defense, General Welfare. The “Blessings of Liberty” were secured to ourselves. Clearly, they only promoted General Welfare and deliberately excluded individual welfare (they simultaneously provided private property rights in the Constitution).

    Why did the Founders write and publish the Preamble immediately preceding the Constitution? Did they write the Preamble to be ignored as you indicate?The Founders wrote the Preamble to be read before the Constitution to set the context to communicate a basic understanding of how the nation would function. The Founders meant for everyone to assimilate the same understanding, that government was limited to security and infrastructure and that our endeavors, businesses and industries, including those of education, charity and healthcare, were to be conducted in free markets of the private sector without governmental interference.

    This is reinforced by the right to private property which means the government cannot take private property from one man to give private property to another causing redistribution to be unconstitutional. The government may take money for governmental operations but not to take money from one private party to give it to another private party. At that point, the right to private property is nullified.

    If the Constitution and the Communist Manifesto are the same, the government may impose redistribution. If they are different, redistribution of wealth is unconstitutional in any form and for any purpose. Did the Founders have an understanding of individualism and self-reliance or did they say, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need?”

    This debate ends at the elimination, by way of being unconstitutional, of all laws and programs that redistribute wealth, including but not limited to welfare or direct payments, food stamps, Medicare, social services, public school/college, rent control, student loans, IRS, HHS, HUD, Education, Labor, HAMP. FNMA, affirmative action and quotas.

    1. John – the Preamble is just that a preamble. It has no meaning Constitutionally. I vaguely remember the SC justices frown on being quoted the preamble.

      1. Paul Schulte wrote: “… the Preamble is just that a preamble. It has no meaning Constitutionally.”

        That is not exactly what the court said. The Preamble does have meaning, but it does not confer substantive powers to the government. The petitioner wanted the Federal Government to stop State powers from forcing a man and his family to get vaccinated. He was using the liberty clause of the Preamble to claim that the Massachusetts statute mandating vaccination was in derogation of the right to liberty conferred by the Preamble of the Constitution.

        Something seems a little squirly with the idea that the Constitution does not grant liberty to the people; therefore, government can force their vaccination upon you. This is true even knowing that the vaccination will cause a small percentage of the people to be made seriously sick. One has to wonder if this is one of those bad rulings like the Dred Scott decision.

        Nevertheless, the context in Jacobson v. Massachusetts is about the federal government suppressing the power of State government on the basis of the Preamble. That is something very different than the idea of the federal government exercising its own power in whatever matters it desires. Our Constitution is meant to grant only limited powers to the federal government, and to leave the bulk of powers to the States and the people.

        We can read the Preamble to understand the spirit of the Constitution, and then from that conclude whether or not we think the government has gone outside of that characterization. It might not be legally binding from the perspective of the Justices if limited to that argument, but the body of the Constitution is pretty clear that powers not delegated to Congress are left to the States and to the people. Because the Constitution mentions nothing about education, then upon what authority does the federal government act when it becomes involved with education?

        1. david – the federal department of ed gives grants to states, districts and schools. With each of the grants comes federal control. There is no free lunch. If you don’t take the money, the feds have no say. Take the money and they are whispering in your ear and writing your curriculum.

          1. Paul Schulte, what gives the federal government the right to tax us for the purpose of giving educational grants? If that power is not granted by the Constitution, then they do not have the legal authority to do it. I know they do it, but like everything Obama seems to be doing lately, it is done illegally. They keep doing it because nobody challenges it, or because they know the Justices will wrangle the General Welfare clause to include every power under the sun that might have benefit to someone in the republic.

            1. David – the federal government taxes us and the Congress spends it how they seem to want to. The government does not tax you specifically for defense, or Congress, or etc. I have long advocated a check list to go along with you tax forms that would allow you check off those areas you want your money to go to. Each agency would then have to work within that budget constraint. This would be great for some and bad for others.

                1. david – I suddenly I woke up and was President, my first act would be to abolish the Dept of Education.

  8. John:

    Ah, the troll response I anticipated. I didn’t think that you would have the guts to be personally identified with your expressed views. Move along.

    1. Mike – did everyone get together this week and decide the word of the week was ‘troll’? I see this being used a lot, but mostly incorrectly. I am surprised that you have fallen to ad hominem attacks since we have had some spirited discussions before.

      You do make an excellent point about the Preamble. There is no sense debating it from a Constitutional rights point. You need to get to the meat of the Constitution and the various amendments, if you want to debate how they affect us.

  9. What Mike A. said about voluntary contributions instead of taxes. Incredible. Just who will volunteer and how does a government plan to meet the needs of its citizens without knowing what funds are going to be “voluntarily contributed”?

    1. rafflaw wrote: “Just who will volunteer and how does a government plan to meet the needs of its citizens without knowing what funds are going to be “voluntarily contributed”?”

      Larry, charities and all kinds of non-profit entities do this all the time. One can create a budget based upon projections and manage it that way. Some organizations actually establish a dues system and invoice their members.

      All the for-profit businesses do the same thing. Businesses have no guarantee of income. Businesses establish a budget and solicit income based upon services or products offered. Some of the government already does some of these techniques. Ever see toll booths on roads? What about license fees for fishing or services offered? What about billboards advertising food stamps, or commercials encouraging people to sign up for government services.

    2. Government would plan the same way corporations do. A budget is created based upon projections. Some organizations actually establish a dues system and invoice their members. Businesses and charities have no guarantee of income.

  10. I have carefully avoided personal warfare because my interest is in ideas rather than personalities. But I have learned from experience that debating trolls takes time I could use for something else. And I don’t care to argue over whether the Constitution guarantees the “blessings of liberty.”

  11. MikeA, I was threatened w/ being banned by GBers for merely complaining about how anonymity causes problems. I reckon we have come a Loooong way since out little cultural revolution here in January.

  12. John:

    I have no idea where you’re coming from, but I am sensing that you are a sovereign citizen troll. I have a policy of declining to engage in dialogue with anonymous trolls. I will continue the conversation only on condition that you forego your anonymity and give me a better idea of your political underpinnings so that we can begin with fundamental principles. If that is not acceptable, I will have to pass on any further exchange.

    1. Mike – it is considered bad form to ask someone to give up their anonymity.

  13. MA,

    Once you open the floodgates for “public school” and compel certain citizens to pay for other citizens tuition bills, you open the floodgates to take money from one man to give it to another in any form and for any purpose.

    Redistribution of wealth is unconstitutional.

  14. MA,

    You are nonresponsive and evasive. Are the Constitution and Communist Manifesto the same? Are they different?


    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Thank you for your OPINION and the opinion of some “judges” who erroneously believe they were given the power to legislate assuming the power that the Founders gave to the people. Where does it say you get to “interpret” these words: General Welfare? Read them. Don’t interpret them. You conveniently ignore the fact that the Founder clearly said they only PROMOTED General Welfare.

    The Founders believed you would understand and heed their words as they set the CONTEXT of America with words like ESTABLISH, INSURE, PROVIDE, PROMOTE and SECURE. Those are verbs. Verbs are action. You believe that you can ignore the actions of the Founders. Preposterous.

    The Founders deliberately included General Welfare and deliberately excluded Individual Welfare. The Founders UNDERSTOOD that people are self-reliant and government has the minimal function of security and infrastructure. You KNOW that there was no such CONCEPT or intent in the minds of the Founders of redistribution of wealth, welfare, progressive income tax to effect redistribution or any notion to take “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” In fact, the Jefferson said that personal property (i.e. moveable) was “admitted” before a nation is constituted and real property comes after constitution. That means not only do Americans have the right to private property per the Constitution, but they had the right to private personal property (i.e. money) before America was constituted. Private money means you can’t take money from one man, make it public money, then give it to another. That means that every law and program that effects that redistribution in any form or for any purpose is unconstitutional. You can’t do welfare, food stamps, affirmative action, rent control, social services, public school, student loans or anything else that takes money from one man to give it to another. Government can only take money to conduct legitimate governmental operations which are security and infrastructure.

    That is the nature of private property, including money. If you take it to give it to another, it becomes public and Americans have the right to private property, and they had the right to private “moveable” property (i.e. money) before government came into being, according to Jefferson.

    If you can’t understand the Founders, you can’t understand the Constitution.

    If you don’t HEED the Preamble, you lose America.

    Many think it’s lost.

    Public School

    Education is paid for by tuition. The government takes money from one man, to pay for the tuition of another. That is a form of redistribution. That confiscates private property from one man to give it to another.

    The public school system is not infrastructure or general welfare, Public school is not General it is only used by children. Education is not used the same way by all citizens. Education is not a governmental function and the best schools are operated effectively and efficiently in the private sector.

    Parents must be responsible for the children they produce. Parents must pay for the education of their children as they pay for houses, cars, food, clothes, healthcare, etc. Prices for education have been skewed by governmental interference in what must be a private industry. 50% failure/dropout rate in districts with union teachers paid $150K+ proves that public school is redistribution benefiting teachers and irresponsible parents. Elected officials do NOT send their children to public school. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the education industry has been absolutely corrupted.

    You said, “public school is not mandated by the Constitution” and the right to private property, including money, and “the blessings of liberty” are. Compulsory indoctrination and collectivist curricula are not a “blessing of liberty.” They are tyranny and oppression.

    “Class Struggle”

    The “strong” provide the weak with jobs. Seriously? You place a negative connotation on strength and success. I think you have that confused with assault, battery, rape, murder, theft, damage, etc.

    You seriously believe the Founders established a government designed to engage in “class struggle?” They freed Americans free the tyranny and oppression of a monarchy. You want to impose the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” America was generated by a desire for freedom through self-reliance. The free market answer to class struggle is to struggle to succeed not to be jealous and “covet.” “Thou shalt not covet” which is Number 10.

    It is not a governmental function under the intent of the Founders, the Preamble or the Constitution for the government to engage in the “class struggle.” Workers are free to prepare themselves for the job market and take a job or quit a job. In the Preamble, the Founders told you they established Justice for redress of grievances, including “exploited labor” as preposterous as the verbalization is. THEY TOOK THE JOB. The reality for labor is that if they leave their job, another worker will take it. They can file criminal complaints and litigate.

    Karl Marx lived in a dream state. This is reality. There is no perfection and one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. You said, “there is nothing inherently immoral about the phrase, from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” except that it compels the government to confiscate private property and nullify constitutional rights to private property. If Americans have a right to private property and Jefferson said that “moveable” property (i.e. money) was “admitted” before a nation is established, then the American government, or any level thereof, may not take money from one man to give it to another.

    You believe your cogitations – your “interpretations” and inferences – are superior to the words of the Founders.


    Just read the words please and research their definitions if you are ignorant thereof.

    Government is limited to JUSTICE, TRANQUILITY, COMMMON DEFENCE and PROMOTION OF GENERAL WELFARE. That’s security and infrastructure. The government has the power to tax only to fund those governmental operations; security and infrastructure.

    The people have the right to keep and bear private property. It cannot be made public and it cannot be taken from one man to be given to another. Private property cannot be redistributed.

    The “blessings of liberty” are for the people, not the government.

  15. As an educator, I am in agreement that there needs to be employment protection for teachers because they are in a particularly vulnerable position for ridicule and accusation. Curious to our profession is that everyone has been to school, so everyone feels they know: know how to teach, know what to teach and in what order, know how to effectively manage 32 children for 9 months out of each year, know the best way to . . .

    However we term it, “tenure” or otherwise, teachers should have some clear employment protection related to due process. Not having such will prevent us from recruiting people who are interested and capable of achieving the challenging task of leading so many children so far over a short period of time. It will also lead to injustices based on reactionary behavior from parents who understandably love their children but can’t open their mind to information other than that provided by their children.

    All of that notwithstanding, many of us want clear guidelines that has a reasonable timeline to evaluate and eliminate teachers who are unwilling or unable to improve themselves as instructional leaders for a classroom.

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