Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, and Valerie Cuevas, interim executive director of The Education Trust–West, on the Vergara v. California Decision

Washington, D.C. (June 10, 2014) We are delighted with today’s ruling in Vergara v. California. Judge Treu’s historic decision affirms what we have long known to be true: Low-income students and students of color in California are denied access to equal educational opportunities. The decision will force California to address the reality that our most vulnerable students are less likely to have access to effective teachers. We are eager, therefore, to work with policymakers, educators, and community leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to develop employment systems that put the needs of every student front and center.

As an organization dedicated to advancing educational equity, we have long focused on ensuring that low-income students and students of color have access to great teachers. And the laws argued in this case made it more likely that these students would be taught by less effective teachers and subjugated to a revolving door of teachers regardless of their performance. Those who want to preserve the status quo will no doubt appeal.

But now is the time for bold leaders to say enough is enough.  Current laws exacerbating inequity will remain in place until new laws replace them. Californians deserve a new set of policies that not only grow the ranks of well-supported, high-performing teachers but also get strong teachers to the low-income students and students of color who need them.  We must work hard to put new, equity-focused laws in place.

In the same way other historic civil rights rulings cleared the pathway for increased education equity, today’s decision provides California with the push it needs to begin unrigging a system that has for too long been rigged against some groups of children. As California rises to a challenge facing every state in the nation, it has the opportunity to lead the way toward ensuring fair access to strong teachers for all students.


The Education Trust is a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.

The Education Trust-West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.


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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.