The plaintiffs in Vergara vs. California believe that the state's tenure and seniority protections for teachers are so detrimental to student well-being that they should be considered unconstitutional.
I'm skeptical the evidence on that count is sufficiently abundant and clear to justify judicial intervention, but one can at least imagine what a data-driven argument from the plaintiffs might look like. Rigorous statistical analyses of student outcomes would likely be appropriate, for example, and at times the plaintiffs have attempted to provide them.
What has been more puzzling and disheartening, however, is the apparent need for the plaintiffs to demonstrate that they were personally wronged by the laws in question by impugning the competence of protected teachers.
Last week - and for the second time so far during the trial - a teacher took the stand to defend herself against complaints made by a student plaintiff.
In other words, the Vergara trial entails teachers being forced to defend their competence and professionalism in court because a few students were unhappy with them.
What, precisely, is this sort of public humiliation supposed to accomplish?