The Vergara Decision and the Threat to Tenure


Last week’s appalling California Superior Court decision in Vergara v. California, which overturned California statutes guaranteeing due process protections for K-12 teachers with more than two years experience (so-called “teacher tenure”) and layoff by seniority, has engendered considerable concern among instructors in higher education.  To what extent does this decision threaten the protections of the tenure system in higher education?  Does the decision apply to colleges and universities?

The simple answer is that this decision by Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu will not have a direct impact on higher education.  For one thing, what is commonly referred to as “teacher tenure” in K-12 education is only partially comparable to tenure in higher education, at least as that concept is articulated in AAUP’s classic 1915 and 1940 statements.  “Teacher tenure” is in fact solely a system wherein teachers who have completed an initial probationary period may be dismissed only…

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About @NatM4Equity

The National Mobilization for Equity is a coalition of organizations committed to alleviating the present staffing crisis in higher education: three-quarters of the teaching jobs in American colleges are held by underpaid, precarious and poorly-supported contingent faculty. Our long-term goal is to end contingency as the norm. The current untenable situation not only adversely affects all faculty members, both contingent and tenure-track, it also negatively impacts our profession, our students and the quality of their education.

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