Teacher Tenure Dealt A Blow In California

A California judge dealt a blow to teachers unions in California, ruling that the state’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional. According to the Wall Street Journal, the case could “spur similar challenges around the country.” We can only hope.

California has some of the strongest teacher-employment protections in the nation, and is one of only 10 states that require seniority be considered in layoff decisions. It also is one of five states where tenure can be earned within two years or less.

The court found in Tuesday’s decision that as a result of that policy, “teachers are being released who would not have been had more time been provided for the process”—hurting not only students, but also many younger teachers.

The ruling also agreed with the plaintiffs’ arguments that the poorest-quality teachers tend to end up in economically underprivileged schools and “impose a disproportionate burden on poor and minority students.” Judge Treu, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, found all five of the statutes challenged in the case to be unconstitutional.

William Koski, a law professor at Stanford University, said the case will have “ripple effects” nationally. “We are going to see some litigation” in other states, he said, “and it’s going to raise some pretty thorny issues about the role of courts and the judiciary in teacher employment policies and more specifically in education policies.” (Read More)

This is bad news for bad teachers, but it’s good news for everyone else. Let’s home teacher tenure is challenged in other states as well.