Right Hooks

Teacher Unions Handed Victory at Students' Expense

It's a good time to be a teacher's union in California these days.

Dan Gilmore · Apr. 15, 2016

It’s a good time to be a teacher’s union in California. In March, the Supreme Court tied with a 4-4 ruling and by default upheld the lower court’s ruling regarding a case involving the California Teachers Association, which decided unions can compel non-union employees to pay union dues. If Justice Antonin Scalia still sat on the bench, the ruling would have played out much differently. This week, the teacher’s unions scored another victory when a California appeals court sided with the Sunshine State’s laws regarding teacher firing, layoffs and tenure over a civil rights challenge that argued the rules protecting teacher employment violated students’ right to an education.

The suit, which was supported by advocacy group Students Matter, argued that tenure laws keep bad teachers in classrooms and that hurts the education quality of poor and minority students. But the court decided the fault of that situation lay in poor hiring decisions, not the law itself. In a statement, a lawyer representing the students challenging the law Theodore Boutrous Jr. said, “The Court of Appeal’s decision mistakenly blames local school districts for the egregious constitutional violations students are suffering each and every day, but the mountain of evidence we put on at trial proved — beyond any reasonable dispute — that the irrational, arbitrary, and abominable laws at issue in this case shackle school districts and impose severe and irreparable harm on students.” The case is expected to go to the California Supreme Court. For the sake of the students, let’s hope the power of the unions are curbed.

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