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Judge Refuses to Dismiss Teacher Employment Lawsuit

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November 19, 2012–Los Angeles, California–A lawsuit seeking to overturn five California laws that govern teacher employment has been approved by a judge for trial, according to CBS News. These laws concern teacher dismissal, and the judge’s opinion states that there are constitutional issues involved in the suit that protect children’s rights to a fair education.

Two groups, the Department of Education and a San Jose school district, had requested dismissal of the suits which they say would protect ineffective teachers. However, the judge ruled that the suit, filed by an education reform group known as “Students Matter” should proceed.
What Is a Fair and Equitable Education?
Under federal and state law, all students are to be allowed equal access to education. This has been variously interpreted by the courts to mean everything from providing transportation for children in outlying areas of school districts to providing educational interventions for students with special needs. “Fair and equitable” will always be a subjective term whose meaning is determined by the courts.
Why Did The School Systems Want the Suit Dismissed?
The Department of Education and the San Jose school district moved for dismissal of the lawsuit based on the grounds that overturning the laws would protect ineffective teachers. However, this may have more to do with enforcing federal mandates regarding education than with the teachers themselves.
Teachers have been under severe scrutiny since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act which rewards schools whose students are doing well and punishes those with underachieving students. Teachers unions and teacher advocacy groups have been very critical of the law, stating that it rewards schools with higher gifted populations and higher family income bases and punishes good teachers struggling with inner-city or low-performing student populations.
How Does This Topic Relate to Employment Law?
Teachers who are employed by low-income school systems are expected to perform jobs that sometimes seem impossible. Teachers unions have stepped into the gap to protect these teachers’ jobs to some extent. However, with the new federal mandates tied to school funding and performance, the protections teachers expect from their unions has not always been forthcoming.
Teachers who have been fired for poor performance may have legal issues with the school systems for which they worked. A personal injury attorney can help teachers assess their options and stand up for their employment rights under these new laws.

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