Press Release

AFT President Weingarten on the Vergara Trial’s Closing Arguments

For Release: 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Kate Childs Graham
202/393-6354; cell 202/615-2424

WASHINGTON— Statement from AFT President Randi Weingarten on the closing arguments of the Vergara v. California trial:

"As the trial comes to a close, we see a major disconnect between the argument the plaintiffs' lawyers have advanced in the courtroom over the past few months and the reality of what's happening in California's schools and to California's children, their families and their educators. This disconnect makes it increasingly clear that the conversation that the elite and the wealthy—including those funding this lawsuit—are having is sadly ideological and disengaged from the realities of public schools and communities.

"Research and polling show that parents and community members believe the true trials students face are poverty, segregation, lack of funding and resources, and violence at home and at school. They don't believe that teachers are the problem, and they actually trust teachers the most to help their children and to scale up and sustain solutions to reclaim the promise of public education.

"We all agree that we can and should do more to help our children succeed. We also agree that if a teacher is not teaching, he or she shouldn't be in a classroom. But the evidence is clear that California law provides managers with the tools they need to deal with poor job performance. A scalpel is needed here, not an axing of due process, which gives teachers the flexibility and support they need to be creative in the classroom and advocate for their students. We should be fighting for all workers to have access to a fair hearing and due process, not trying to take it away from those who do."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.