Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, and Valerie Cuevas, interim executive director of The Education Trust–West, on the Vergara v. California Decision
WASHINGTON (June 10, 2014) — We are delighted with today’s ruling in Vergara v. California. Judge Treu’s historic decision affirms what we have long known to be true: Low-income students and students of color in California are denied access to equal educational opportunities. The decision will force California to address the reality that our most vulnerable students are less likely to have access to effective teachers. We are eager, therefore, to work with policymakers, educators, and community leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to develop employment systems that put the needs of every student front and center.
As an organization dedicated to advancing educational equity, we have long focused on ensuring that low-income students and students of color have access to great teachers. And the laws argued in this case made it more likely that these students would be taught by less effective teachers and subjugated to a revolving door of teachers regardless of their performance. Those who want to preserve the status quo will no doubt appeal.
But now is the time for bold leaders to say enough is enough. Current laws exacerbating inequity will remain in place until new laws replace them. Californians deserve a new set of policies that not only grow the ranks of well-supported, high-performing teachers but also get strong teachers to the low-income students and students of color who need them. We must work hard to put new, equity-focused laws in place.
In the same way other historic civil rights rulings cleared the pathway for increased education equity, today’s decision provides California with the push it needs to begin unrigging a system that has for too long been rigged against some groups of children. As California rises to a challenge facing every state in the nation, it has the opportunity to lead the way toward ensuring fair access to strong teachers for all students.