A California court dealt a blow to teachers’ unions today, reports the NYT. The LA superior court judge ruled that the state’s teacher tenure laws “deprive students of their constitutional right to an education”:
“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
The ruling, which declared the laws governing how teachers are hired and fired in California to be unconstitutional, is likely to set off a slew of legal fights here and in other states, where many education reform advocates are eager to change similar laws. The ruling brings a close to the first chapter of the case, Vergara v. California, but both sides have made it clear that they plan to appeal any decision that goes against them to the State Supreme Court.
This ruling is a welcome step forward in the efforts to rein in teachers’ unions, which seem to value even the worst teachers’ jobs over their students’ welfare. We’ll be eager to see whether the ruling stands once the case goes to a higher court. Let’s hope the appeals court takes a page out of Judge Treu’s book and delivers a second scathing rebuke.