CalChamber, Business Groups Urge Appeals Court to Uphold Landmark Education Case

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CalChamberInCourtThe California Chamber of Commerce has joined with other business organizations to file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the landmark decision in Vergara v. California.

The laws struck down by the trial court decision in Vergara contribute to the state’s shortfall in highly skilled workers, the CalChamber and other business groups argue, adding that California’s public schools currently leave far too many students unprepared to participate in the 21st century workforce.

“California cannot afford to allow the inequitable distribution of teachers to impede the educational advancement of low-income and minority students, upon whose educational success our state’s future economic prosperity depends,” reads the brief. “Indeed, if the achievement gap between students of different ethnic, racial, and income backgrounds could be closed, it would enrich the American economy—of which California is the largest part—by hundreds of billions of dollars.”

Joining in the brief filed September 14 are the California Business Roundtable, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, the Orange County Business Council and the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

The brief contends that providing equal access to effective teachers in California’s public schools is critical to a thriving California economy.

Also filing a brief in support of the Vergara decision were major social justice groups. The filings demonstrate the broad interest across the state in ensuring California’s public schools deliver a quality education to all—not just some—of the state’s students.

Background

After two months of trial, the Los Angeles Superior Court last year found unconstitutional California’s quality-blind teacher tenure, dismissal and layoff laws. The court agreed with the nine student plaintiffs that the laws needlessly handcuff schools, preventing them from making decisions in the best interest of kids, and disproportionately harm low-income students and students of color.

In his decision, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu wrote, “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

The State of California and the state’s two largest teachers unions have appealed the trial court’s landmark ruling in Vergara.

To read the amicus curiae briefs, visit studentsmatter.org/legal-filings.

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