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Bay Area nonprofit wins state teacher tenure lawsuit

Original post made on Jun 11, 2014

California's teacher tenure laws were declared unconstitutional Tuesday by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, ruling on a lawsuit sponsored by Students Matter, a Menlo Park-based nonprofit group founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 2:39 PM

Comments (27)

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Posted by CTA out of touch
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2014 at 11:40 pm

"The two unions, the Burlingame-based California Teachers Association and the Burbank-based California Federation of Teachers, vowed to appeal.

"Like the lawsuit itself, today's ruling is deeply flawed," said CTA President Dean Vogel. "This lawsuit has nothing to do with what's best for kids."

The unions, which were allowed to join the case to defend the laws, argued during the trial that eliminating teachers' rights would make it harder for public schools to attract and retain good teachers."

I hope the parents of school aged children, and the entire Pleasanton community, understand the hypocrisy that IS the teacher's union. Shameful!


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 12, 2014 at 12:43 am

This is wonderful news.


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Posted by chemist
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 12, 2014 at 8:39 am

It's about time. My kids went through the Pleasanton schools and had many "grossly ineffective" teachers along the way. I figured that one of these so-called teachers, over the course of a 30-year career, impacts something like 5000 students. Multiply that by 3000 to 8000 grossly ineffective teachers, and you see millions of students impacted. Some of these students will overcome the impact, but many will go through life thinking "I don't like math" or "I don't understand science". It is appalling that these teachers' unions are allowed to exist. They should be stricken from the face of the earth.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jun 12, 2014 at 8:40 am

WONDERFUL NEWS!!!! Get rid of those deadbeat teachers who are making kids not enjoy school and learning.


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Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 12, 2014 at 8:53 am

All those family's and their children that received sub standard education due to sub standard teachers can now file lawsuits against the teacher unions, the school district and all those politicians in Sacramento that were supported by the unions.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 12, 2014 at 9:50 am

The matter of tenure will eventually make it to the US Supreme Court. It ain't over until it's over.

VIVA AMERICA! VIVA!


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Posted by Wow
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 12, 2014 at 10:34 am

This is fabulous news. I've had kids in PUSD schools for fifteen years and many good teachers have been let go while the teachers with tenure and a guaranteed job no matter their performance have been kept at the expense of our children's education. Bravo.


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Posted by Julia
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2014 at 10:40 am

My dear friend Cholo...it never fails, you always have unintelligent comments.

I agree get rid of those dead-beat teachers...they milked the system long enough.

I think the wise folks of this Nation are finally waking up to the fact that the free trough is empty..your predator friends have visited the free trough way too many time. Not even the master fool of fools in Washington D.C. can help you now.

THE WORM IS TURNING PEOPLE AND IT IS ABOUT TIME. WE ALMOST LOST THIS GREAT NATION, BUT THE WORM IS TURNING..

Thank you listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo


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Posted by Sally Clapsaddle
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2014 at 11:05 am

First of all, I am not a teacher and hence not a member of the teacher's union. While some tweaks may be in order to the teacher tenure (such as how long it takes to be granted tenure), if you think that the problems in education today are primarily due to ineffective teachers, you are nuts.

Here are the real problems with schools today (roughly in order of importance)
1) Tuned out parents
2) Overbearing parents, helicopter parents, and unsupportive parents.
3) Lazy students
4) Lack of discipline in classes (almost always due to parents that don't teach respect and administrators won't enforce disipline)
5) Inadequate funding (California is near the bottom among the states)
6) Illegal immigrants syphoning off resources and bogging down classes because of inadequate English proficiency
7) Incompetent administrators (many administrators are those that could not hack it as teachers)
8) Grossly incompetent school boards
9) Over-regulation by state bureaucrats (most of which are left-wing loons)

So,incompetent teachers is at best 10th on the list.


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Posted by lll
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

California is not near the bottom in funding. This is something the CTA keeps saying over and over to get people to believe it.

The legislature is to blame for the funding level however as California has one of the highest taxes and gives a smaller percentage to schools. If California legislatures put a higher priority on schools vs. all the social programs, we would have a lot more money for schools.

Sally, funny how you states that there is not enough parent involvement and too much parent involvement as the top two issues. Guess you will never be happy.

The current teacher compensation system that pays based on tenure and not based on skills is a big problem. Any profession that pays the same no matter how talented, skilled, or committed you are means that the incentive is to do the average. There are many teachers that will perform well no matter how they are paid but the current compensation system gives them a disincentive.

I also do not think kids are lazy. Most will do what is expected of them. A 'lazy student' is really the symptom as a disinterested parent.

As for spending, one of the issues is that the schools are not just required to teach but also to feed and work on medical issues. Money is being siphoned off of teaching. Special education should be properly funded out of social services and not education as well as food/nutrition.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

[Removed because it was off topic.]


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Posted by Ski
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

It's about time teachers and administrators are held accountable for their failures. Some people have said we have lazy students, that's not quite true. We have a large number of students that are bored by the way their teachers present a lesson plan.If a class is boring most of the students are they going to learn,NO If any of you people think this doesn't happen just talk with any kid in middle school or high school and they will tell you yes some classes are boring and they want to know why they have to take others. Boredom in the classroom isn't just in high school or middle school it's from K-12. Teaching needs to be brought into the 21st century in this country because it's 50yrs behind in some areas


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Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 12, 2014 at 1:53 pm

This is great news but too bad about the delay for appeal. Some teachers are wonderful and give so, so much. Others, however, drove us out of the public schools. Why shouldn't teachers positions be performance based just like any other professional? The point of academic tenure originated at the university level to give professors the freedom to research, innovate and experiment without judgement. That does not apply to K-12 level teachers.


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

BRAVO ! BRAVO ! BRAVO ! Sally Clapsaddie

You have hit it on the spot.

In addition:

Many times the teachers would like to do more for the 3 R's but the "system" (federal government funding) says that teachers must have a multitude of subjects to teach to the younger students. It would be better to teach a few subjects well than a lot. Then maybe we would all see a what children comprehend and it would show that the teachers do try more than we realize.

We are in an area where English in the home is not always the primary language. In France, if your child does not speak French fluently, your child goes to a school where they are taught French before entering their school system.

When teachers have to take a disproportionate time for children that are having trouble understanding due to their language skills, it takes away from the whole class.

I think it would be great if all parents were able to spend one full week in the classroom to see what it takes to be a teacher with all of the rules and regulations they must follow besides teaching.



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Posted by Henry
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Sadly, mathematical competence of most elementary school teachers has been extremely poor. Many (if not most?) such teachers found their way to the profession due to the almost non-existent mathematics requirements for and elementary education degree at colleges and universities. Most other majors required some serious mathematics or statistics. When these mathematically unprepared graduates enter the classroom they are often unable to convey and teach an appreciation for mathematical ideas in the K-8 grades. It falls on parents to supplement their children's education to prepare them adequately for a high school focus in STEM subjects. (High school mathematics teachers are usually very good, but are often faced with poorly taught first year students.) Weeding out and replacing elementary school teachers with little mathematical and problem solving skills and appreciation is a first step, especially with the new Common Core syllabus. It's hard to teach the three R's if you only deeply understand two of them. Without tenure, such teachers would need to quickly upgrade their mathematical abilities and teaching skills to be able to continue. Luckily, mathematics can be tested, and teachers should be required to requalify every 4 or 5 years with increasingly complex subjects. In other professions, that's captured in required continuing education and tests. Currently, elementary school teachers are protected and have no need to grow their knowledge and skills to develop strong students. This elimination of tenure will have wonderful results for students and teachers if the unions don't strenuously object, and if the unions focus on continuing education for teachers and success for the students, and not the protection of incompetency.


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Posted by Pleasanton was nice forty years ago
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 13, 2014 at 8:42 am

I have attended public schools in Pleasanton and have three kids go through the system as well as many nephews and nieces
Two of my kids were self motivated and did well the third the most intelligent of the group struggled and got no help whatsoever.
I personally called all his teachers three times to see what we could do to get him going. Want to guess how many teachers called me back? ONE. And that was a full month later. This teacher basically did nothing but pass the buck. The administration. Was useless Bill coupe and Rick Sira were of no help and actually created more damage. This from one of our better public school system. The public schools system is full of incompetent selfish people who as my brother said are great with the motivated kids but will only find a way to remove the ones that present a challenge. Anyone who supports our current education system and is fine with it when much better can be achieved is a selfish or naive or both


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Posted by Pleasanton was nice forty years ago
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 13, 2014 at 8:42 am

I have attended public schools in Pleasanton and have three kids go through the system as well as many nephews and nieces
Two of my kids were self motivated and did well the third the most intelligent of the group struggled and got no help whatsoever.
I personally called all his teachers three times to see what we could do to get him going. Want to guess how many teachers called me back? ONE. And that was a full month later. This teacher basically did nothing but pass the buck. The administration. Was useless Bill coupe and Rick Sira were of no help and actually created more damage. This from one of our better public school system. The public schools system is full of incompetent selfish people who as my brother said are great with the motivated kids but will only find a way to remove the ones that present a challenge. Anyone who supports our current education system and is fine with it when much better can be achieved is a selfish or naive or both


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Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

Lets see if the Pleasanton school district does something about this. There is a math teacher at Foothill that really, cannot teach math. She has wrecked the lives of numerous students, who subsequently avoided the sciences.

There was a French teacher who really knew nothing-- fortunately she recently left.

This is why Amador is in more demand by students who can choose their High School here in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

American schools are not perfect. It's understandable that some parents will be dissatisfied with schools, public and private.

I take most of the above comments with a grain of salt.


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Posted by chemist
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 13, 2014 at 9:13 am

There are a lot of problems, but problem number one is ... NOT the parents, NOT the kids, NOT the teachers ... problem number one is the UNIONS. As long as the unions run the show we will never be allowed to address any of the other problems. Heck, the unions won't let us remove sexual predators from the payroll; they have no interest in removing incompetent teachers.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 13, 2014 at 9:50 am

@Parent -

There is a very unqualified math teacher at Foothill who has affected the lives of many students for many years. I have heard, this teacher is FINALLY leaving the school. How long did that take?

Wondering if the new principal had something to do about this...if so, I applaud! Go Mr. K!


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Posted by Sirena
a resident of Hart Middle School
on Jun 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

Sally said it the best. The kids have taken bullying to a whole new level. Most of the time the office is dealing with bullying that is not and helicopter parents. When it is real bullying it seems to be swept under the rug because to much time is spent on if someone looks at you wrong or parents that have to hand feed their children. I mean hand feed. It is a small percentage of teachers that should be fired. Yes, some teachers need to be fired, especially middle school that do not know how to teach math; old and new. I don't believe in tenure. They should have written expectations and performance goals. It is not an easy job now because of helicopter parents and children who are rude, selfish and the real bullies. Teachers should be held to performance.


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Posted by Parent of high school kids
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Sally Clapsaddle

There are many lazy teachers with tenure in Pleasanton. Every year that my kids attended Foothill there were at least a couple of teachers that would inform the class that they have tenure and because of their tenure they could teach however they wished. So, those teachers just presented the required material without teaching or making sure the kids understood the material. Those teachers figured they had "taught", and the kids were "lazy" and the problem. This attitude doesn't help the student, the school system, job sector, or the nation.

The majority of kids in Pleasanton are not lazy. They are high achievers with goals of going to excellent universities. And many of those kids plan on attending graduate school. Many parents are frustrated with the poor quality of teachers in Pleasanton. Many of these parents work at high tech companies, are active in the community, and involved in their children's extracurricular activities. Many parents have to seek outside help for their children because of the poor quality teaching or lack of teaching from some of the tenure teachers. So you can't say the parents are tuned out or the kids are lazy in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Open your eyes
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 13, 2014 at 11:13 pm

It will be interesting when your little darling's favorite teachers are removed because they're at the top of the pay scale. Or maybe they're dismissed because it's "just not a good match". Perhaps they're sitting next to the "wrong people" in the staff room. You people are deluding yourselves if you think this is actually about what's best for students. Yes, there are some lousy teachers out there. For every bad teacher that has tenure, there is an administrator that hasn't done their job. I can't begin to tell you how many principals simply don't do the evaluations. There are principals that give great evaluations to negligent teachers. Why? Because they never bother to stick their noses into the classrooms. They have no clue as to what's going on at their site. There are schools, not necessarily in Pleasanton, that cycle through a principal every year or two. Bad teachers do not exist in a vacuum. There's this notion that good teachers turn bad after they are made permanent. No, good teachers don't all of a sudden turn bad. Of course there is an ebb and flow (some years are more challenging than others), but for the most part, work ethic is not that fluid. Perhaps some modifications to the system may be in order, but this is going to devastate our schools. This crusade is not about removing bad teachers. It's about removing all teachers. You're being hoodwinked. These students that are suing are being used by these charter school billionaires to do their dirty work. This is all about privatizing education, which most of you anti-teacher/anti-union people would love. If you think the quality of education is poor now, just wait until this systematic dismantling of public education comes to fruition. Only the privileged will be able to afford a proper K-12 education. Everybody else will be stuck in the public system with the cheapest, newest, most inexperienced teachers with no funding. Which, by the way, I'm sure is just fine with the Pleasanton Elite. There is that sense of "As long as I get mine, screw the rest" mentality in this town. I guarantee that, in time, there will be a collective "what have we done?" reverberating throughout the state. It may take some years for the Fox News crowd to actually get it, but I'm pretty sure that even they will look back with regret.


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Posted by Please!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 4:45 am

One judge's lower court decision. The judge? Pete Wilson appointee. Extreme right wing activist.

The media makes a big deal of this silly decision. There is nothing that remotely equates this case or ruling with Brown v. Board of Education. So okay, the right gets a chuckle, a grunt, and lots of play on Fox News.

So, after opining that tenure is "unconstitutional" what does this judge recommend? Well, predictably, his joke is followed with: "They're going to have to think of something!"

This will be overturned by higher courts, and they'll do it while laughing.


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Posted by Please read this
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2014 at 8:01 am

Web Link


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 14, 2014 at 11:07 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Looks like the union trolls have rolled out of bed and are finally trying to defend themselves and their inability to deliver quality education to the taxpaying public. Let the fireworks begin, as they defend the indefensible......


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