According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, seeing the error of his ways, reversed himself on Saturday, suddenly deciding that the teachers’ unions needed his support after he had hailed last month’s decision in Vergara vs. California, in which teachers’ tenure was found to violate the equal education rights of California children from impoverished or minority families.
Garcetti never mentioned the Vergara decision at the American Federation of Teachers convention in Los Angeles. Instead, he pontificated, “I’m sick and tired of hearing our teachers get beat up on by political leaders in this country.” Then despite having cheered the court’s decision in Vergara, telling the Times it was a “great decision,” he continued:
We know that seniority issues are complicated and the layoff process has unfairly impacted poor communities, but we don’t have to demolish the importance of tenure, we can find a collaborative way forward to say that poor schools matter, and that we can reform in a positive way … instead of just suing one another.
Garcetti knows where his bread is buttered; he is aware that at the end of January, 2013, the Los Angeles Teachers Union voted 146-12 to support him in his race for mayor against Controller Wendy Greuel, attorney Kevin James, Councilwoman Jan Perry and former technology executive Emanuel Pleitez.
On Saturday, Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, was satisfied with Garcetti’s reversal, saying, according to the Times: “We’re glad that he indicated that he supports tenure and elements of seniority. We have to keep on having those discussions with him.”
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who had blasted U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan because Duncan condoned Vergara, had issued a similar warning to the Los Angeles mayor, the Times notes.
On Sunday, the American Federation of Teachers are scheduled to vote to condemn the sentiment that triggered Vergara vs. California.