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Judge Rules California Teacher Tenure Laws Unconstitutional

Teachers unions suffered a major legal setback Tuesday after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that state laws governing teacher tenure are unconstitutional.

As part of the ruling in the landmark education equality lawsuit Vergara v. California, Judge Rolf M. Treu issued an injunction blocking tenure laws but also placed a stay on the ruling pending an appeal.

The lawsuit was filed in May 2012 by nine families represented by the group Students Matter, which sought to overturn regulations that allow teachers to earn tenure after 18 months and the rules that govern which teachers are laid off.

High-profile officials including former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy were among those to speak out against teacher seniority rules.

In a statement, Deasy said: “This is a truly historic day for our education system. Today’s decision is a call to action to begin implementing, without delay, the solutions that help address the problems highlighted by the Vergara trial. Every day that these laws remain in effect is an opportunity denied. It’s unacceptable, and a violation of our education system’s sacred pact with the public.”

Plaintiff’s attorney Theodore Boutrous also hailed the decision.

“This is a monumental day for California’s public education system,” said Boutrous. “By striking down these irrational laws, the court has recognized that all students deserve a quality education. Today’s ruling is a victory not only for our nine plaintiffs; it is a victory for students, parents, and teachers across California.”

KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports union members and their supporters voiced disappointment with the ruling.

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