On Tuesday, a California judge declared that the state's laws governing teacher tenure and the firing of public schools teachers are unconstitutional.
Judge Rolf M. Treu said that the laws interfere with California's duty to give every child access to a good education, NPR reports, and they're especially harmful to poor and minority students. "Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students," Treu wrote in his ruling for Vergara vs. California. "The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience."
In 2012, Students Matter, a nonprofit group founded by entrepreneur and charter school advocate David Welch, filed suit on behalf of nine public school students. The lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., called the ruling a "victory for students, parents, and teachers across California." The state's largest teachers union, the California Teachers Association, vowed to appeal, saying the suit unfairly holds teachers responsible for problems that are outside of their control, including poverty and racial segregation. "It's another example of the 'blame teachers first' approach to solving complex education problems," said Frank Wells, spokesman for the CTA.