Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vergara II: Here We Go Again

Today, while Acting Pretend Secretary of Education John King is being interviewed in DC for the job he already has, across the country lawyers will be teeing up in an LA appeals court over the attempt to roll back one of the most bogus court decisions in education.

Hard to believe that Vergara vs. California is a few years old at this point. The case was originally filed in 2012 and decided in 2014. Launched by Students Matter, a reformster group created and run by David Welch, a rich guy who thinks that CEO-style school leaders shouldn't have to deal with any union-created restrictions on their executive freedom. Welch rounded up nine show-pony defendants, a large pile of money, and went to work overturning tenure and LIFO rules.

Education Post is celebrating the occasion by running a piece by one of the "plaintiffs" (the use of recruited sock puppet plaintiffs by well-financed legal activists is not restricted to any side of any issue, but it remains an odious practice, both in the fake cases that it generates and in its callous use of live human beings as prop for high-priced lawyerly plays) to talk about why he wanted the case to happen.

What I wanted when I first stepped foot in the courtroom two years ago—and still want today—is to see that vision of an awesome teacher in every classroom in California’s public schools become a reality. I want all California kids, regardless of where they live, how much money their parents make, or the color of their skin, to have the quality education they deserve.

The writer also talks about how great teachers have been a great and positive influence, noting that "these are the teachers who inspired the Vergara lawsuit in the first place."

That's a lovely sentiment. It just doesn't have a single thing to do with the Vergara decision. Not a thing.

There is so much to rehash, and it has been hashed pretty thoroughly already. Evidence in the trial included the baloney science that purports to measure the effect of teachers in terms of student lifetime earnings. The notion that tenure rules are somehow responsible for segregation in schools.

But mostly the bizarre notion that great teachers will be empowered by less job security, that we can simply fire our way to excellence, that school districts in a state that is already complaining of teacher shortages will be chomping at the bit to fire teachers left and right so they can hire new teachers from the vast invisible surplus of unemployed awesome teachers, and, most of all, that teachers are the root of all educational evil.

Vergara pretends to presume that the best way to attract the best and the brightest to a field is to say, "Come work for us, and your new bosses will promise to fire you whenever the mood strikes them." What Vergara really presumes is that hero school leaders, mighty CEO's with brilliant visions, should not have to answer to the hired help.

Vergara also presumes that the full weight and energy of the law should be brought to bear on teachers, but somehow there's no need to make full-out assaults on funding or de-segregation.

So prepare yourself for more rounds of PR about how schools should be free to fire their way to excellence and hero superintendents should never have to listen to unions or rules or anything that might provide teachers with job security. And all of that will be wrapped in soaring rhetoric about how every child needs a great teacher no matter what the zip code without a single solitary word about how killing tenure of LIFO would help make that happen. This is the classic reformster construction-- the problem is real and compelling and therefor you should take our word for it that our proposed solution is actually a solution.

Vergara is about breaking unions and de-professionalizing teaching, removing one more set of on-the-ground advocates for students, leaving our most vulnerable children that much more exposed to the ill effects of corporate reform. The court will need to offer a ruling within ninety days. We'll have to wait and see what kind of protection public education, teachers, and students will receive from the court.

1 comment:

  1. So well said. Teacher, in every school district, with a hero superintendent that is like Oakland, California paid more than the governor of the state needs to have read this analysis of the Vergara decision.