GOP leader asks Brown not to appeal teacher ruling

Published: Thursday, Jul. 10, 2014 - 4:48 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Jul. 10, 2014 - 5:34 pm

Republican lawmakers on Thursday asked Gov. Jerry Brown to resist union pressure to appeal a Los Angeles judge's decision striking down tenure and other job protections for California teachers.

Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, sent Brown a letter a day before the Democratic governor is scheduled to address a the American Federation of Teachers' national conference in Los Angeles.

Huff urged Brown to consider the civil rights of disadvantaged students.

"Senate Republicans strongly believe an appeal would further disenfranchise inner-city students and those who come from challenging socio-economic circumstances," Huff wrote. "The proper response would be to take advantage of this historic ruling as an opportunity to promote true education equality and fix California's broken public school system."

Last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu found that a handful of laws governing the hiring and firing of the state's teachers are unconstitutional because they deprive children of a quality education. Education experts say it was the first time in U.S. history a court has found that teacher effectiveness is an essential component of the right to an equal public education.

He concluded that the statutes violate the equal protection and other provisions of the California Constitution by exposing the state's 6.2 million students to "grossly ineffective teachers."

Treu found that students in low-income districts are disproportionately affected by last hired-first fired layoff rules and protections that make it nearly impossible to get rid of lousy veteran teachers. California teachers receive tenure after just two years, sooner than in nearly every other state.

Brown and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the two main defendants, have not said whether they plan to appeal. Brown's spokesman, Evan Westrup, said the governor's office had not received the letter.

"The decision is a tentative ruling and it's being reviewed," Westrup said.

The California Teachers Association, the state's largest teachers union, has said it plans to appeal the judge's ruling.

Reform advocates and some lawmakers who support the ruling have indicated they would push the governor and Legislature to take immediate steps to replace the problematic statutes. Huff indicated in his letter that he would like to work with the governor "to craft an education code that ensures every child has an equal opportunity for a world-class education."

Read more articles by JUDY LIN



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