Capitol Alert

September 4, 2014

Fact check: Is Brown too close to teachers union?

Kashkari’s claim: Brown appealed a court ruling that found the state’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional because he is beholden to the California Teachers Association, a major donor.

Capitol Alert

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Kashkari’s claim: Brown appealed a court ruling that found the state’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional because he is beholden to the California Teachers Association, a major donor.

The truth: Brown announced last week that he was appealing a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that California’s rules for teacher tenure and dismissal deprive students of their constitutional right to a quality education by keeping inferior teachers in classrooms.

In a legal filing in the case, Vergara v. California, lawyers for the state complained the court declined to detail the legal basis for its ruling and that “changes of this magnitude, as a matter of law and policy, require appellate review.”

It is true that the CTA gained broader influence in state politics after Brown, when he was governor before, signed the Rodda Act in 1975, requiring school districts to engage in collective bargaining. The CTA spent millions of dollars helping Brown win election in 2010 and remains a major supporter.

Yet despite their generally favorable relationship, Brown has irritated the union in the past with his advocacy for charter schools. He started two charter schools while mayor of Oakland and lobbied against legislation to unionize charter school teachers.

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