Teacher Tenure Laws Should Be Addressed by Legislature, CA Supreme Court Chief Justice Says

On Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Bob Egelko reported on California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye’s remarks on California’s current teacher tenure laws, noting that the issues with the law should be addressed by lawmakers. In a 4–3 decision last August, the California Supreme Court denied review of Vergara v. California, a case that challenged the state’s permanent employment law, dismissal process and “Last-In, First-Out” layoff statues, leaving intact an appellate ruling. Notably, two of the three dissenting justices — Justice Liu, Justice Cuéllar and Justice Chin — took the unusual step of writing powerful and lengthy dissents to the decision calling the issue “of such importance [it] should be decided by the state’s highest court.”

As Cantil-Sakauye explained, “Reasonable minds differ as to what belongs here [in the court] and what belongs in the Legislature.” During the court’s closed-door debates on the case, she said the justices had “sharp disagreements but [were] absolutely respectful.” Finally, the Chief Justice pointed out that the issue of teacher tenure is “not going away.”

Cantil-Sakauye’s reference to the persistence of this issue displays the California Legislature’s need to take meaningful action to fix this broken system in 2017. As lawmakers in Sacramento prepare for the legislative session, Students Matter is getting ready to continue to fight for a better public education system for all California students. California students deserve the chance to learn and succeed, and they deserve to be taught by great teachers who inspire them to do so.

Originally published at studentsmatter.org on January 13, 2017.

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