Vergara witnesses recall teacher intimidation, incompetence
After weeks of testimony from administrators, teachers and academics, Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu today finally heard from witnesses directly involved in challenging the state laws at the heart of the Vergara vs. California lawsuit. Jose Macias, whose 13-year-old daughter, Julia, is one of the nine student-plaintiffs in the case, told the court he noticed...
By Mark Harris | February 10, 2014
Vergara trial turns another focus onto LA Unified teachers
A Harvard professor of education and economics provided the Vergara plaintiffs powerful testimony today when he told the court that schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District have ineffective teachers and a disproportionate number of them are assigned to minority and low income students. The opinions of Thomas Kane went to the heart of the...
By Mark Harris | February 6, 2014
Another witness in Vergara says tenure in CA comes too soon
The Vergara v California trial and its testimony from educators and administrators from around the state continued its geographic journey today, when the focus turned to Fullerton. Assistant Superintendent of the Fullerton School District, Mark Douglas, a 37-year veteran of state public education systems, took the witness stand in state superior court and added another...
By Mark Harris | February 5, 2014
Vergara hears moving testimony from oft-dismissed teacher
A stunning silence fell over the courtroom today when Bhavini Bhakta, the first teacher to testify in the Vergara v California trial, described the impact of the state’s current teacher dismissal and seniority laws. An award-winning educator with two master’s degrees, she recounted how despite her success, the warm embrace of her students and the...
By Mark Harris | February 4, 2014
Vergara trial: finally, evidence of a student hurt by state laws
It took six days of testimony to finally put a human face on the legal issues in Vergara vs. California, and it wasn’t Beatriz Vergara or any of the other eight plaintiffs challenging the state and its biggest teacher unions. Rather it was Joey Raymond, the son of the former Sacramento City Unified superintendent, Jonathan...
By Mark Harris | February 3, 2014
More ‘ineffective teacher’ testimony, even without Vergara
After the first week of the groundbreaking trial Vergara vs. California in a California superior court, lawyers and witnesses talked a lot about ineffective teachers, arcane rules for dismissing them and how much money it costs. One thing they didn’t talk about was Beatriz Vergara. The lawsuit in her name — she’s an LA Unified...
By Mark Harris | January 31, 2014
Villaraigosa makes his case for Vergara, outside the courtroom
Legal battles aren’t only waged in the courtroom; they’re also hard fought in the court of public opinion. As testimony in the landmark case, Vegara vs. California, resumed today inside a state superior court, another star witness took the stand — more accurately, the mic — outside the courtroom. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held...
By Mark Harris | January 30, 2014
Vergara trial expert witness: ineffective teachers hurt students
And so begins the battle of the expert titans. In the landmark lawsuit, Vergara vs. California, the winner may ultimately be the side that had the more persuasive expert witnesses. The first came to the stand today as lawyers for the nine students bringing the suit called Harvard professor Raj Chetty, a renowned expert in public...
By Mark Harris | January 29, 2014
Vergara lawsuit: Deasy testifies on ‘grossly ineffective’ teachers
Under cross-examination today, LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy faced pointed questions from attorneys representing California’s biggest teacher unions and the state in a controversial lawsuit that could turn the practice of teacher tenure on its head. At issue in the landmark case, Vergara vs. California, are five statutes that the nine students bringing the case...
By Mark Harris | January 28, 2014
Deasy tells court: teacher dismissal can cost district ‘millions’*
LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy told a packed courtroom today that it can cost the district “millions of dollars” and can take “slightly less than 10 years” to get rid of an ineffective teacher. Deasy was the first witness to testify in the long-awaited start of Vergara v California, a battle over state laws that govern...
By Mark Harris | January 27, 2014