California court decision keeps teacher tenure protections

Posted at 11:48 AM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 15:46:51-04

SAN FRANCISCO - In a victory for teacher unions, the California Supreme Court has decided to let the state's teacher tenure law stand.

The high court said Monday it will not take up a lawsuit by a group of students 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 decision leaves in place a lower court's court ruling that upheld tenure and other job protections for teachers.

The court was divided 4-3 in its decision to let the state's teacher tenure law stand. Three justices said Monday the court was wrong not to review the ruling.

Associate Justice Goodwin Liu said the case affected millions of students statewide and presented a significant legal issue that the lower court likely got wrong. Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar echoed those concerns in a separate dissent.

The appeals court said in its decision in April that the students had failed to show California's hiring and firing rules were unconstitutional.

The ruling overturned a 2014 Los Angeles Superior Court judge's decision that sided with the students.