Judge: Teacher Tenure Robs Poor Kids of Education

California judge calls it unconstitutional in landmark case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2014 1:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – No more tenure for teachers? A judge in California ruled that granting lifetime jobs to educators often results in lousy schools in poor neighborhoods, reports the Los Angeles Times. Citing Brown v. Board of Education, Judge Rolf Treu said tenure for public school teachers violates the state's constitution because it deprives students of their right to an education, reports NBC Los Angeles. He stayed his decision pending appeals, but the victory is expected to trigger similar lawsuits across the country, reports the New York Times.

“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” wrote Treu. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.” A group called Students Matter brought the lawsuit on behalf of nine students, arguing that tenure prevents districts from firing bad teachers, and those teachers often get transferred to low-income schools. "It's powerful," the plaintiffs' attorney tells AP of the ruling. "It's a landmark decision that can change the face of education in California and nationally." The state and teachers' unions say that tenure is necessary to protect teachers from getting fired on a whim.

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