The Vergara decision, assuming it’s upheld, will make it far easier to dismiss teachers in California. In California, it’s very, very hard to dismiss a teacher for cause. Harder than in most of the rest of the country. While it seems logical that removing tenure rules will lead to moving out really bad teachers, it’s not so clear that’s what will happen.
California isn’t noticeable “behind” other states in moving teaches out. The fact is, California is already a pretty average state when it comes to dismissing teachers for cause. The average school district dismissed for cause 5.8/10ths of one percent of teachers in 2011-12. The number for California was 5.3/10ths of a percent. Here’s a little map I made.
California just doesn’t stand out. (The “state” that really stands out is D.C.) If California’s “tough” tenure laws didn’t result in low dismissal rates, why should removing it make much difference?
By the way, if you check the data on the fraction of teachers not renewed “for any reason”–on the theory that the map above misses teachers removed “for cause” but not reported as such to make everyone’s life easy–well, the California non-renewal rate is above the national average.
Making it possible to dismiss really bad teachers is important. Just changing the law may be more of a political statement than a cause of real change.