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
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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
Ex-district chief tells Vergara court teacher laws don’t interfere
A former superintendent of the El Monte City School District today became the latest defense witness in Vergara v California to describe how school administrators can work within state laws to craft policies and strategies for dealing with ineffective teachers. Jeff Seymour, who spent 25 years as the superintendent, told the court that a well-defined...
By Mark Harris | March 12, 2014
3 defense witnesses tell Vergara court collaboration works
The defense in the Vergara vs. California trial got a boost today from witnesses involved with three different school districts – Riverside, La Habra and Long Beach — each describing how collaboration and professional development helps deal with ineffective teachers without any difficulties from the challenged laws in the case. Susan Mills, Assistant Superintendent of...
By Mark Harris | March 11, 2014
Vergara witness says San Diego district, teachers worked together
A member of the San Diego Unified School District board testified today in the Vergara v California trial that the district increased student achievement scores while managing deep budgetary cutbacks. Richard Barrera, who has served on the board since 2008, told the court that he attributed the academic gains to creating “a culture of collaboration...
By Mark Harris | March 10, 2014
Teacher in Vergara trial blames student for performing poorly
For the second time this week, the defense in Vergara vs. California today turned to a teacher characterized as “ineffective” by a plaintiff in the case to show a starkly different picture. Vickie Decker, a middle school math teacher, refuted assertions by Jose Macias, the father of student plaintiff, Julia Macias, who had claimed in...
By Mark Harris | March 7, 2014