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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Students Matter Joins the Anti-Tenure Lawsuit in New York City. Now, this is War

The anti-tenure, wealthy and powerful folk who would never send their children to public school, are jumping in to the frivolous, ridiculous and wrong lawsuit filed by pawn Mona Davids.

I wonder, how many of the new Plaintiffs have children in the public school system in New York?

Betsy Combier

The Frivolous Case of NYC Parent Mona Davids
v Tenure

August 6, 2014
Manny Rivera
Students Matter to Join New York Education Lawsuit, Davids v.
State of  New York
On the Heels of the Historic Victory in Vergara v. California, Students
Matter Will Support New York Education Lawsuit
Campbell Brown

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Students Matter, the organizational sponsor of the
 successful education equality lawsuit, Vergara v. California, announced that
it would support the plaintiffs in Davids v. New York, et al, a lawsuit filed in
Staten Island Supreme Court on July 3rdThis is the second lawsuit supported
by Students Matter and the first since the victory in Vergara on June 10th.

Filed against the State of New York, the New York Board of Regents, the New York State Education Department, the City of New York and the New York
City Department of Education, Davids v. New York seeks to declare unconstitutional certain statutes in New York’s Educational Law that deny
New York students the fundamental right to a sound education required by
Article XI, §1 of the New York Constitution.  Similar to VergaraDavids asks
the court to strike down certain New York statutes that effectively prevent the removal of ineffective teachers from the classroom and, in economic downturns, require layoffs of more competent teachers.  The Challenged Statutes prevent school administrators from prioritizing—or even meaningfully considering—the interests of their students in having effective teachers when making dismissal
and layoff decisions. Together and independently, these laws—New York Education Law Sections 1102(3), 2509, 2573, 2590(j), 3012, 3014, 3020-a, and 3013(2)—have a substantially negative impact on students’ education by keeping ineffective teachers in the classroom and dismissing effective teachers that
deliver a sound education.

The legal team spearheading Davids v. New York will be led by Gibson,
Dunn & Crutcher attorneys Theodore J. Boutrous, lead counsel for the
plaintiffs in Vergara, and Randy Mastro, one of the leading trial attorneys
in the country and former Deputy Mayor of New York City.  They will be
joined by other members of the Vergara legal team, including Marcellus A. McRae, who served as lead co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Vergara.  Mr.
Boutrous was also one of the principal attorneys representing the plaintiffs
in the successful federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage.

“As in Vergara, we plan to show that New York’s current education system
does not serve the needs of kids and in fact prevents them from accessing a sound education,” said Mr. Boutrous.  “Research shows without a doubt that teacher quality is the number one in-school determinant of educational effectiveness. The system created by New York’s laws restricts access to
quality teachers and detracts from the overriding purpose of New York’s
education system: to serve the best interest of students.”

“This is the civil rights issue that will define our children's futures, as we
fight to protect and guarantee the right of students to a sound education,”
said Mr. Mastro. “We are proud to join that fight here in New York, representing these concerned students and parents. The time is now to vindicate their
rights and make students our top priority."

 “We are thrilled to see the conversation that started in a California courtroom throughVergara picking-up steam in New York,” added Mr. McRae. “We look forward to presenting overwhelming evidence in the courtroom—an environment removed from rhetoric and hyperbole—to show the significant and long-term
harm these laws have on our students.”

The Plaintiffs in the Davids case are eleven public school children from New
York City.  As students in New York public schools, each Plaintiff has been harmed, or is at substantial risk of being harmed, as a result of the Challenged Statutes. The case was filed with the support of the New York City Parents
Union, a parent-led organization dedicated to ensuring every child receives
equal access to a high-quality public education.

“The Vergara decision in California was a ground-breaking victory affirming
that the needs of students should be first and foremost in our education
system,” said Mona Davids, President of the New York City Parents Union. 
 “We are delighted that Students Matter and their legal team have accepted
our invitation to join this case.  Their significant experience in breaking down
the barriers to change in California will serve our students and our state well.”

Since Davids was filed in early July, a similar complaint supported by
Partnership for Educational Justice was filed in Albany County Supreme
Court.  David Boies, who is serving as Chair of Partnership for Educational Justice, previously joined with Mr. Boutrous and Gibson Dunn to return
marriage equality to California in the Proposition 8 case.  

“We look forward to working with David and all of the other attorneys, organizations, and government officials committed to ensuring that all
students have access to the best education possible,” added Mr. Boutrous.

Recent studies have confirmed that the key determinant of educational effectiveness is teacher quality. Students taught by effective teachers are
more likely to attend college, attend higher-ranked colleges, earn higher
salaries, reside in higher socioeconomic status neighborhoods, and save for retirement.  Students taught by grossly ineffective teachers suffer lifelong problems and fail to recover from this disadvantage.

“I am a child of our public education and know first-hand the importance of
a good education and great teachers on a student’s life trajectory,” said David F. Welch, founder of Students Matter. "I believe great teachers should be protected, but I also believe that our public education systems have failed to put the needs and success of our students above all else by being blind to the quality of our teachers.  We have a responsibility to ensure that state law—whether in New
York or California—guarantees that the needs of students comes first and that every student has access to an effective teacher."

The historic decision in Vergara struck down five harmful provisions of the California Education Code as unconstitutional.  According to the Court, the
laws in question—laws that govern teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoffs—impose substantial harm on California’s students by forcing administrators to push passionate, inspiring teachers out of the
school system and keep grossly ineffective teachers in front of students
year after year.

During trial, Plaintiffs presented overwhelming evidence that California’s
statutes dealing with teacher dismissal and permanent employment impose
a real harm on students and their fundamental right to equality in education.  Importantly, the Vergara trial showed that these laws harm both students and teachers, and that they serve no necessary purpose.


Students Matter is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to sponsoring impact litigation to promote access to quality public education. Learn more at