California teacher unions have regained the advantage in their fight to keep the state's tenure system, the AP reports. The victory came in the form of an appeals court decision that reversed a trial judge's ruling that found tenure deprived some students of a good education. In the reversal Thursday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal said a group of nine students who sued the state had failed to show California's hiring and firing rules were unconstitutional. "The court's job is merely to determine whether the statutes are constitutional, not if they are 'a good idea,'" presiding Justice Roger Boren wrote in the 3-0 opinion.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge who found evidence to "shock the conscience" had sided with students two years ago who claimed that incompetent teachers were almost impossible to fire because of tenure laws and that schools in poor neighborhoods were dumping grounds for bad teachers. The ruling was stayed pending appeal, so it never went into effect. Attorney Michael Rubin, who defended teachers' unions in the case, says the court's decision is "huge." "It puts to rest—we believe forever—the constitutional attacks on job security for teachers," he tells the AP. A lawyer for the plaintiffs says they're disappointed by the "temporary setback" and expect to appeal to the California Supreme Court. (Read more job tenure stories.)