I sense a disturbance in the Force. In what must be the big news of the day, a California judge has found teacher tenure to be unconstitutional:
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A judge struck down tenure and other job protections for California’s public school teachers as unconstitutional Tuesday, saying such laws harm students – especially poor and minority ones – by saddling them with bad teachers.
In a landmark decision that could influence the gathering debate over tenure across the country, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu cited the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education in ruling that students have a fundamental right to equal education.
Siding with the nine students who brought the lawsuit, he ruled that California laws on the hiring and firing of teachers have resulted in “a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.”
He agreed, too, that a disproportionate share of these teachers are in schools that have mostly minority and low-income students.
The judge has stayed his order pending appeals. This is a state court and the decision only affects California but I strongly suspect that this decision will prompt other similar suits on related rounds all over the country, will be bitterly condemned by some, and roundly praised by others. In other words, I think this is probably a very polarizing decision pitting as it does teachers unions against students.