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Lawsuit against teacher tenure poised to move forward

November 8, 2012 |  6:52 pm

A lawsuit to overturn teacher tenure laws and seniority rights remained on track Thursday when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling allowing the litigation to move forward. Judge Rolf M. Treu did not rule on the merits of the case.

The suit pits advocates representing a group of students and parents against state officials and three school districts: L.A. Unified, Oakland Unified and Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in San Jose. The state and Alum Rock each are seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed at this early stage of litigation.

L.A. Unified has not sought to have the case thrown out; in fact, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy released a statement in May supportive of some goals of the litigation.

The suit contends that teachers can earn tenure protections too quickly -- in two years -- well before their fitness for long-term employment can be determined. The suit also seeks to invalidate the practice of first laying off less experienced teachers during a budget crisis, rather than using a system that would protect the most effective instructors. And it takes aim at a dismissal process that, it alleges, is too costly, too lengthy and frequently results in ineffective teachers holding on to jobs.

Treu’s ruling is not final. A hearing on it is scheduled for Friday in L.A. Superior Court.

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--Howard Blume

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