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Education unions appeal decision gutting teacher due process rights

California teachers file appeal from Los Angeles Superior Court decision in Vergara v. California

WASHINGTON - September 04, 2014 -

California teachers’ groups have appealed the Los Angeles Superior Court’s decision attempting to strip long-standing basic job protections from the state’s educators. Vergara v. California challenges California’s statutes providing due process in teacher dismissals, a two-year probationary period for teachers, and using experience as criteria for school layoffs.

Today’s appeal by the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) follows the appeals filed last week by the State of California and California Gov. Jerry Brown from the same ruling. The appeals to the California Court of Appeals seek to reverse Judge Rolf Treu’s ruling and restore to proven and experienced teachers these statutory due process rights against unfair and arbitrary terminations. 

While the litigation continues, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García reiterated that NEA will continue its efforts to ensure that all of our students have quality teachers. Lawsuits like Vergara distract from those efforts. 

"Attacks on educators like the Vergara lawsuit undercut the profession of teaching by focusing on how to remove a few poor teachers, rather than on how to attract and retain great ones," said Eskelsen García. 

Many high-need schools are struggling with high teacher turnover. In some schools over 50 percent of the teachers leave within a few years. 

"We all need to focus on how to attract and retain teachers in those schools, not on how to strip all teachers of basic protections against arbitrary and unfair discharge," said Eskelsen García. "This lawsuit is a distraction from the real work that we all need to do to ensure that all of our schools can attract and retain quality teachers for our students."

NEA is confident that the decision will be reversed on appeal. 

CTA President Dean E. Vogel says educators will continue to fight for what’s best for students and fair for educators. "We work with our students every day and know best what they need to succeed. We stand up for them in our schools, our communities, in the legislature and in our nation’s capital even if it’s not the most popular stance. And the very statutes challenged here are the ones that allow us to fight for our students and their needs without reprisal of those in power. The people behind this suit have chosen to scapegoat teachers in order to draw attention away from the real issues facing our schools and students."

NEA President Eskelsen García underscored that California’s dismissal system is fair and comprehensive: "California’s current system helps ensure teachers are not fired for speaking out on behalf of students or for fighting against budget cuts," said Eskelsen García. 

California’s Education Code allows teachers facing dismissal to present their side of a case and to have their case heard by objective third parties.

"Our members will continue to fight for their students regardless, but knowing that they are protected from retribution will only benefit those students they are fighting for," said Eskelsen García.

 Follow NEA at To read CTA’s news release on the appeal, please click here.

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson, 202-822-7823