California court strikes down teacher tenure system

[JURIST] A judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF] that the state's system for tenure and seniority for public school teachers is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs, nine California public school students, challenged five provisions of the California Education Code [text] that provide teachers employed for more than 18 months with strong job security and require layoffs to be made based solely on time employed. Judge Rolf Treu, imposing the high evidentiary standard of "strict scrutiny," found in his 16-page opinion that the "challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students" but stayed the ruling pending an appeal by the California Teacher's Association [advocacy website].

Legislation surrounding education and teachers are controversial throughout the US and abroad. In September the Mexican Senate [official website, in Spanish] approved a bill [JURIST report] requiring periodic evaluations of teachers. A Bahrain appeals court upheld convictions [JURIST report] of two teachers in October 2012 for organizing a teachers' strike. In August 2011 a Missouri state judge issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report], preventing the state from implementing a law that would ban teachers from communicating with students through social media. A New York State Supreme Court [official website] judge in January 2011 allowed [JURIST report] the New York City Department of Education [official website] to release performance data on 12,000 teachers.

 

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