Group behind teacher tenure victory in Calif. vows to expand fight

LOS ANGELES -- The battle over teacher tenure is about to go national. A California judge Tuesday declared the system unconstitutional. On Wednesday, the group that paid for the lawsuit in California says it may challenge tenure laws in 12 more states.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu did not mince words. In his 16-page decision he wrote, "The number of grossly ineffective teachers has a direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students ... The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience."

The judge said ineffective teachers disproportionately impact low income and minority students and getting rid of bad teachers is nearly impossible.

His ruling eliminates California's teacher tenure system, in which after just 18 months on the job, teachers are given strong job security. It also prohibits laying off teachers based only on when they were hired.

President-elect of the Los Angeles teachers union Alex Caputo Pearl said, "To suddenly just say that all of this is the educator's fault, that's a targeted effort on the part of very well funded interests to take down unions and to try to work towards a more privatized system."

Raylene Monterroza, 16, is part of the group who challenged the California teachers union.
CBS News

The lawsuit was funded by wealthy technology entrepreneur David Welch and brought by nine California students, including 16-year-old Raylene Monterroza.

Monterroza told CBS News, "When I go to a classroom and the teachers just sit in the corner and they do not do anything. So it's very frustrating and makes me not even want to attend school."

The head of Los Angeles public schools testified that he would like to fire 350 ineffective teachers, but that it can take up to 10 years and cost up to $450,000 per case.

The teachers union says they will appeal the judge's ruling.