Common sense and courage…in a courtroom?

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprive students of their constitutional right to an education, a decision that hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case that overturns several California laws that govern the way teachers are hired and fired.

“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

Indeed it does. In California, teachers are eligible for tenure after just 18 months on the job. How can that possibly help students? It’s tough to see how students ever benefited from that system, but it’s very easy to see how the teachers and their unions benefited from it. If firing incompetent teachers is nearly impossible, obviously, many of them will stay in classrooms where they will harm students’ educations and hurt their futures — and keep on paying their union dues. The unions were so happy with this arrangement that they spent a pile of teacher dues defending the practice. Today, they lost.

Honestly, I can’t think of a good argument for granting public school teachers tenure. Not one. It’s not hard at all to see why the unions want it. It’s not hard at all to see why liberals in office want it, too.

Good teachers surely outnumber the bad ones by a wide margin. Good teachers will be retained in the vast majority of circumstances. Bad teachers ought to be fired.

For the children.

For once, that’s actually the truth. Judge Treu has just bucked union power and given kids in bad schools a fighting chance.