June 23, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – Referring to the June 10 ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu that teacher tenure and layoffs by seniority in the state are unconstitutional, AFT President Randi Weingarten sent this email message to union members and supporters. “While teachers led their classrooms, a judge in a Los Angeles courtroom said that for students to win, teachers have to lose,” wrote Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in an email message to union members and supporters this week.
“The judge argues that no one should tolerate bad teachers in the classroom. We agree – and in many states we’ve reformed the process to protect teachers and ease the burden on schools,” the AFT president wrote. “But in focusing on teachers who make up a fraction of the workforce, he strips the hundreds of thousands of good teachers of any right to a voice,” she said. In a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Weingarten pointed out that the job-protection provisions that are common in teacher contracts merely guarantee teacher due process.
APWU President Mark Dimondstein compared teacher tenure to protection for workers against layoffs. “Tenure means school boards must have a good reason to fire teachers, just as the USPS must have a good reason to fire postal employees,” he said.
“And privatizers have chipped away at public education, just as they have chipped away at the Postal Service,” he continued. “They have de-funded schools, vilified teachers, and weakened education to such a degree that many people are ready to give up on public education, which is the foundation of our egalitarian society,” he said.
“They have done the same to the Postal Service,” President Dimondstein pointed out. “They have created a phony financial crisis to justify closing mail processing plants, shutting post offices, and destroying service. Then the Postmaster General, the Wall Street privatizers and members of Congress say we need to privatize major portions of postal operations.