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NEA President on Vergara appeal filing: due process protects students

Brief asks Court to restore to California Legislature the prerogative to make educational policy

WASHINGTON - May 01, 2015 -

The California Teachers Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, today filed its opening brief in the case, Vergara v. California, currently before the California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles. The brief asks the Court to reverse the lower court’s decision, which struck down due process protections for teachers under California law, and to restore to the state legislature with the constitutional prerogative of making educational policy in the State of California.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“Every student deserves a highly effective teacher in his or her classroom. To do that, we must make teaching an attractive profession—one to which our best and brightest flock. We must do all we can to attract and retain the great teachers that our students deserve, especially in our high-needs schools serving our most vulnerable students.

“Due process policies such as tenure don’t prevent bad teachers from being fired; they prevent good teachers from being fired for bad reasons. Time and again, we’ve seen how due process policies have helped protect students. In Wyoming, a guidance counselor without due process was fired for spending too much time alerting authorities that some of her students were suffering sexual abuse. In New Jersey, due process saved the job of a math teacher who blew the whistle on a $2 million surveillance system that tracked staff and students.

“Qualified teachers earn these due process protections after satisfying performance expectations. The protections provided allow teachers to advocate for their students and to teach controversial and challenging curriculum without fear that they will be punished for doing so by overreaching administrators and politically well-connected parents. Making sure that every student has caring and qualified teachers is a core commitment of the National Education Association and our members.

“The California legislature has worked to provide fair due process protections, and those protections help to attract and retain quality teachers in every classroom, protect effective teachers from arbitrary discrimination, and promote teachers’ professional judgments and academic freedom – all of which contribute to student success. We expect that on appeal, the California Court of Appeal will restore to the California legislature the constitutional prerogative of making educational policy in the State of California.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications, 202-270-5333 cell,


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