Vergara trial ends, with CA teacher laws hanging in the balance
Lawyers from both sides in Vergara v California — the state’s most significant teacher rights case in two decades — unleashed their final arguments today, in a last attempt to amplify their own case and destroy their opponent’s. The case is now in the hands of state Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu, who gave the...
By Mark Harris | March 27, 2014
More than just teachers affect learning, Vergara expert says
An expert on the the role that teachers play in academic performance today became the latest defense witness in Vergara v California to testify that students in high-poverty area schools face higher challenges to learning. Ken Futernick, Director of the WestEd School Turnaround Center, a research organization, and a former professor of education at California...
By Mark Harris | March 19, 2014
Vergara witness says streets more than teachers shape academics
An expert in educational psychology testified today that violence in the neighborhood, family income, food insecurity and other out-of-school factors are three times more likely to impact a student’s classroom performance than the effectiveness of the teacher. The expert, David Berliner, also discounted the reliability of student test scores to judge a teacher’s ability to...
By Mark Harris | March 18, 2014
Keep seniority for layoffs, Vergara witness tells court
A 30-year veteran of teaching in California school districts testified for the defense today in Vergara v. California, saying state laws protecting teacher employment are critical to maintaining teacher effectiveness in the classroom. Linda Tolladay, an eighth grade science teacher in the Madera Unified School District outside Fresno, told the court that replacing seniority with...
By Mark Harris | March 17, 2014
Teachers refute ‘ineffective’ charges by Vergara witnesses
The defense in Vergara vs. California today put more distance between student-plaintiffs who described their teachers as ineffective and the teachers, by calling them to the stand to defend their effectiveness. Both teachers, Dawna Watty and Anthony Mize, directly challenged the assertions of their former students — Brandon DeBose and Elizabeth Vegara, whose sister Beatriz...
By Mark Harris | March 14, 2014
Vergara witnesses hail teamwork, even if API gaps remain
Two witnesses from the same California school district told the court in Vergara vs. California today that collaborative efforts have enabled the district to deal smoothly with ineffective teachers without constrictions from the laws at issue in the case. Shannan Brown, the head of the San Juan Unified School District’s teachers union, and Elizabeth Davies,...
By Mark Harris | March 13, 2014