This is related to my prior question Could parents sue a school district to force them to improve their teaching methods?

This one is about whether the following action by school districts and teachers' union (CTA) are illegal, and, whether they are or not, what would be the best way to fight them. This requires a bit of background, so please bear with me.

Our school district published just now, in the middle of school year, the following schedule for "hybrid learning" for elementary school kids:

  1. The kids will be separated into two cohorts; each cohort will attend school for 1.5 hour per day, 4 days a week. That's 6 hours per week of instruction, roughly same as used to be per day.

  2. During other hours the kids will have no guidance whatsoever, they are on their own. Basically homeschooling.

  3. If the parents opts for online learning, the kids will be pulled from their classes and grouped with other online learning kids from different schools and different grades. Meaning there will be zoom sessions with kids from different grades who don't know each other, far worse than what they have now.

This is all very shocking, especially since there are other school districts that are fully open and that the proposal is far worse than even the current situation. It's puzzling why would they do that; however, during discussions with other parents the following came up:

"I am in a nearby district with many teacher friends. This is what they tell me: these terrible schedules and plans for reopening are to detour parents from wanting the reopening! It is arranged to fail, so-to-speak. The teacher unions are working against reopening (for some reason) even if some teachers want to resume classes. I am not saying all teachers agree with the Union tactics, but many do. All of these tactics are unconstitutional since education is paid for with our taxes. If parents come together and (respectfully/responsibly)
demand the schools open, fully, the districts and unions will have to comply. There is no way around it."

If this is true, if some school districts, under the guidance of CTA, are indeed sabotaging re-opening with deliberately unworkable plans, how illegal is that? What options do parents have to fight them to rectify the problem in a timely manner? I understand from your answers to my previous question that class action suits take forever; what would be more effective methods to resolve this faster, within weeks if possible?

  • 1
    The answers you are looking for are given in your previous question. Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 22:41
  • The US Constitution provides no right to education. Some state constitutions do, but you haven't specified your state. Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 23:16
  • @Nate Eldredge previous linked Q by same poster said state is CA, which apparently has a weak constitutional provision for education. Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 23:31
  • It is probably not the case that "All of these tactics are unconstitutional since education is paid for with our taxes." School boards and administrations have wide latitude on what is a suitable set of procedures, particularly under the current abnormal conditions. Proving that the intent is to have the plan fail or be rejected would be hard. Political action may be the best option. If there is a legal option, it will take a knowledgeable local lawyer to find it. Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


If you are interested in California law about education and labor unions, this page lists numerous laws relevant to public jobs and labor unions, the first entry being about collective bargaining and public schools. In general, it is legal for there to be a union which represents teachers and which negotiates with school boards on behalf of the members. No law requires them to put some other party's interest ahead of the interest of the employees. Metaphorical "sabotaging" as you indicate is a completely legal negotiating position for an employee.

It is not true that a band of parents respectfully demanding that the schools do a thing meant that the school district must comply. The voters which will include some subset of parents can have some influence, in that they can force out the current board at the next election, but the voters have no power over the unions. The board has the power to set district practices; the union has the power to call a strike within certain limits, which include unfair labor practices (endangering the lives of employees). The courts have the final say in determining whether a strike is legal or not (education strikes are legal in California, whereas they are technically illegal in Washington though we have them).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .