mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
unions versus the public
Kids Lose, Unions Win in California Court

California’s powerful teachers unions have successfully fended off a legal effort, brought on behalf of vulnerable public school students, to force the state’s education system to prioritize student well-being over special privileges for state employees. The New York Times reports:

A California appeals court ruled on Thursday that the state’s job protections for teachers do not deprive poor and minority students of a quality education or violate their civil rights — reversing a landmark lower court decision that had overturned the state’s teacher tenure rules.

The decision put a roadblock — at least temporarily — in front of a national movement, financed by several philanthropists and businesspeople, to challenge entrenched protections for teachers, championed by their unions.

This is obviously good news from union members, who enjoy tenure-for-life protections unavailable to comparable workers in the private sector, and who all-too-often seem to value the job security of even the worst teachers over making sure that each student gets a quality education. And it’s bad news for students, particularly students in low-performing schools, who tend to be stuck with those teachers year after year.

We aren’t lawyers at Via Meadia, so we aren’t prepared to say that this decision is wrong as a matter of law; the appeals court is certainly correct that “our job is merely to determine whether the statutes are constitutional, not if they are a ‘good idea'”. And no matter the outcome of the case (lawyers for the plaintiffs say the will appeal Vergara v. California to the state Supreme Court) it has performed an important service in generating publicity surrounding the egregious injustices that union bosses have inflicted on California’s students. The question is whether it will be enough to move voters to take matters into their own hands and stand up for students at the ballot box.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • Blackbeard

    If you look at the makeup of the California Supreme Court you can see how this is near certain to turn out. More broadly the teacher unions are a mainstay of the left and they will be protected at all cost. Given the clout the left has in California (the political establishment, the media, the entertainment industry and countless liberal billionaires ready to fund the cause du jour) I wonder if the voters really have any say.

  • Gary Hemminger

    I agree with Blackbeard below. The CA supreme court will uphold the decision. Even if a law gets passed by the voters that helps students, the CA supreme court will knock it down as unconstitutional. It is game over. The Unions win every time. CA voters are for the unions, not the kids. I have lived in CA for 55 years. Trust me I know the makeup of this state. Not even clear incompetence will change this fact. This state is blue to the core. It will always be blue to the core and nothing will change that fact.

  • Andrew Allison

    Could the problem be that those most affected by this travesty reliably and unthinkingly vote Democratic?

  • Anthony

    A better question may be does this verdict reflect continuation of a mid-20th century model that can no longer meet the needs of 21st century America.

    To that end, “both Democrats and Republicans often appeal to a sense of loss. For Democrats, the peak came in the 1960s, when cultural liberalization seemed to coexist with a highly regulated economy. For Republicans, it came in the 1980s, when economic liberalization was accompanied by a resurgence of national pride and a renewed emphasis on family values. By now, American politics is largely organized around these related modes of nostalgia, and the the two parties address voters as if it were always 1965 or 1981.” So, are we really implying kids lose unions win? http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-next-conservative-movement-1460741085

    • White Knight Leo

      “So, are we really implying kids lose unions win?”
      .
      Since the kids are obviously being very poorly served at the hands of these unions, the answer is obviously yes.

      • Anthony

        Not quite if you consider proposition of Yuval Levin’s article (and therein lies referenced point).

        • White Knight Leo

          I agree with the overall point of Mr. Levin’s article, and with the implication that the failure of this case represents a political opportunity for conservatives.
          .
          But it doesn’t change the fact that in this case the unions prevailed to the detriment of the students. The reason that cases like this represent a political opportunity for conservatives is that they are evidence that not only is the ‘blue model’ system broken, but it’s now so broken that it cannot fix itself.

          • Anthony

            You’re posturing a “mute’ point of which few would disagree.

          • White Knight Leo

            “posturing a “mute” point”
            .
            I have no idea how one postures mutely in text form.

          • Anthony

            Simply (as no argument exist), condition of subject offered while contributing nothing to textual intent. I’m done here. Thanks.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    If America wants to really “improve things” it will have to break up the Labor Gang Monopolies, both public and private. All Monopolies including the Government Monopoly, suffer from the same disease, the lack of the “Feedback of Competition”. It is the “Feedback of Competition” the provides both the Information and Motivation, which forces continuous improvements in Quality, Service, and Price in free markets.
    Look at the results of the break up of monopolies in the past. When AT&T was broken up prices dropped, competitors popped up offering new services like caller ID, Call Waiting, and eventually the “Smart Phone” which does dozens of things people wouldn’t have imagined even 20 years ago. We can only imagine what would happen to the productivity, quality, and price of labor if the Labor Gang Monopolies were broken up, and likely our imaginations would fall far short of the reality.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service