In Vergara Aftermath, Opportunity and Danger
I may not have time for a full post today, but I want to call attention to two pieces that point to the opportunity and danger in the wake of Vergara.
Peter Schrag, former editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee, has written a pessimistic view of the chances for change in the wake of Judge Rolf Treu's decision in the Vergara case and a scathing criticism of the opinion, which he calls a "frail, awkwardly written though unequivocal decision...no analysis...and no guidance on how they could be brought into compliance."
Schrag, writing at EdSource, agrees with our conclusion that fighting through the appellate process is folly and that the powers in Sacramento ought to make "diligent efforts now to amend or replace the statutes that Treu found unconstitutional. They can be fixed without gutting the important job protections that an effective, motivated teaching force requires."
At Politico.com, Stephanie Simon puts the California challenge to teacher unions into national perspective: "Long among the most powerful forces in American politics, the unions are contending with falling revenue and declining membership, damaging court cases, the defection of once-loyal Democratic allies -- and a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign portraying them as greedy and selfish."
My take is that Vergara creates substantial opportunity for the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, but, like Schrag, I have substantial doubts that they will seize it. Unlike Schrag, I thought Treu's decision provided some very good hints at what would be acceptable.