I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

22 January 2011

Win Some, Lose Some

Serrano II is one of those great moments of American juriprudence in which it is clear that justice may be blind, but if you slip a big enough wad of cash in her toga she'll feel it.

On its grounds that the Constitution neither includes the right to a free, public education nor finds that providing one to some but not all citizens is a 14th Amendment issue, the adequacy lawsuits against the state failed Friday.  They can continue as equity lawsuits, which I hope they do - although that's less useful in SFUSD, I'd say.  With its broad region of schools, some wealthy and others not and all sharing the same property tax base I don't know that an equity argument would go that far.  It could mean a lot for districts in the South Bay, though - San Jose is a patchwork of districts with widely varying tax bases.

On the other hand, Judge Highberger continues to hold that school district certificated contracts cannot be used to block equal opportunity rights.  So LAUSD will be required to protect all teachers' jobs, regardless of seniority, at forty five schools.  At the other 700-odd schools, layoffs must be evenly divided.

While this sets no precedent, I do think it's high time for SFUSD officials and BoE members to stop explaining how the law ties their hands and demands they inequitably lay teachers off because of those terrible union contracts.  It was tiresome last year - when they didn't ignore the point, or claim how they hated what they were doing while still doing it, or throwing themselves behind the august opinion of the District legal office, they really should make some attempt at going Beyond the Talk this year.

That means at the very least being honest about their tied hands.  It requires more than lip service to equity. I imagine that the lay off lists will be the usual anti-equity reading delight, but I hold out the hope that the District is more honest about the decisions it's making.

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