StudentsMatter

Driving Force Behind California Tenure Lawsuit to Deliver 2015 Lovett C. Peters Lecture in Public Policy

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BOSTONDavid F. Welch, Ph.D., the driving force behind Vergara v. California, a California court decision that found the state’s K-12 teacher tenure, firing and layoff statutes violated the equal protection clause of the state Constitution, will deliver Pioneer Institute’s 2015 Lovett C. Peters Lecture in Public Policy on Thursday, November 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.

Dr. Welch is a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur who launched Students Matter in 2011 with the goal of creating positive change in California’s K-12 public education system.

In 2001, he co-founded Infinera Corporation, the leading supplier of optical systems based on innovative Photonic Integrated Circuit technology. He currently chairs the board of directors for the company, which is valued at $3 billion.

California Governor Jerry Brown has appealed Vergara v. California.  If upheld, it is likely to have a significant impact in many other states.

Related cases have already been brought, including one in Massachusetts, where three prominent attorneys from different Boston law firms have filed suit on behalf of five Boston Public School students who applied to Boston charter public schools but were not chosen in the admissions lottery.  As in California, the plaintiffs claim a violation of equal protection, arguing that the cap on charter seats denied them access to a quality education.

Dr. Welch has published over 250 articles and over 100 patents in optical components and systems. Awards include the 1992 Adolph Lomb Award from the Optical Society of America (OSA), the 1998 Engineering Achievement Award from the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, the 1999 OSA Joseph Fraunhofer/ Robert M. Burley Award, and over 17 product of the year awards. He serves on the board of directors of OSA and is a fellow of the IEEE.  Dr. Welch earned a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Delaware and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

The annual Lovett C. Peters Lecture, named for Pioneer Institute’s founder and long-time chairman Lovett C. Peters, is one of Pioneer’s signature events, and honors visionary leaders whose ideas are transforming society.  Past Peters lecture speakers include Sal Khan, Peter Diamandis, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, Niall Ferguson, Eva Moskowitz and Deepak Srivastava.  The event is open to Pioneer members and the media.

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.