After a U.S. district judge struck down California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, California’s then-Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to appeal the ruling. At the time, Brown told the court that attorneys general “are not potted plants in the litigation process” who are obliged to defend laws they consider unconstitutional. The court agreed neither Brown, nor then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, were required to appeal.
Now, Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and other state officials have another chance to protect civil rights. On June 10, a Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in the case of Vergara vs. California that California’s teacher tenure, firing and disciplinary procedures deprive poor and minority students of their constitutional protections. The Superior Court has stayed the decision pending appeal.
Teachers unions will appeal the decision, but the state doesn’t have to join them. Symbolically, if nothing else, there’s a big difference between an appeal filed by state officials on behalf of all Californians and one filed by a guild representing a fraction of that population.
California has long been a leader in human rights. State officials should embrace the Vergara decision and immediately set about working with the Legislature to modify the education code to address the judge’s ruling.
Link to original article: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Tenure-reform-should-be-part-of-education-code-5599201.php