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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

 
An update on the billionaire lawsuit to destroy teachers unions

by David Atkins

Regular readers here will remember that I wrote a while back about the Vergara v. California trial, which is essentially an attempt by the billionaire education "reform" crowd to achieve through a ridiculous lawsuit what they have not been able to accomplish by convincing voters. The gist of the suit is that union provisions to protect teachers hurt students, thereby harming their civil rights.

It sounds ridiculous, and it is. The plaintiffs picked a few underperforming students as their "victims" in the case, and have argued that because these particular students were allegedly somehow harmed by protections for teachers, therefore all students in California are hamed and that almost the entirety of public employee union contract law in the teaching profession should be dissolved. Even more ridiculous, right?

The State of California asked the judge to throw out the case on the grounds that even if these few plaintiffs were harmed (and they almost certainly were not), that doesn't create the grounds for destroying union protections across the state.

Unfortunately the judge dismissed that request. Which doesn't seem like such a big deal, until you consider the implications. Even if the plaintiffs lose badly in this case as they should, the precedent set here is that if billionaire "reformers" can find even a single student whose studies were supposedly harmed by poor teaching, then that becomes grounds for challenging the entirety of state law regarding job protections for teachers. Watch for this strategy to be repeated in state after state across the nation.

Karoli at Crooks and Liars has more:

Plaintiffs take that one step further and argue that one student harmed is cause to overturn the statutes on the theory that all students are harmed.

The "systemic problem" theory screams for the entire universe of plaintiffs to offer their testimony. After all, it shouldn't simply be the children of cherry-picked underprivileged parents with complaints, but any student in any public school who claims to have had an ineffective teacher.

...

It concerns me that the judge has allowed this lawsuit to continue after the plaintiffs presented their case, because it suggests that the underlying theory of 'harm one, harm all' may be one that Judge Treu agrees with. If he does, a decision affirming that theory could upend years of employment and education law not only in California, but across the nation.

That outcome would please the self-anointed education-reforming billionaires, who view teachers' unions as the last remaining barrier to a full corporate takeover of public education. If they're able to break teachers, they figure they own the whole "market."
This is one of the most consequential legal battles in America right now. The Masters of the Universe aren't content to own almost everything. Education and Social Security are two of the last big pots of money they don't completely control yet, and they can't stand that. These people want to make huge profits off parents by creating a "market" in education, while simultaneously molding young minds into more efficient corporate drones.

Neither of those things should be allowed to happen.


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