Los Angeles judge Rolf Treu declares teacher tenure unconstitutional

Los Angeles Judge Rolf Treu shuts down teacher's unions
Los Angeles Judge Rolf Treu shuts down teacher's unions

LOS ANGELES, June 12, 2014 — With most political junkies focused on foreign policy scandals and stunning election returns, the judiciary quietly reminded us all why their decisions often matter most. In a shocking decision that could blow up California’s education system, Los Angeles Judge Rolf Treu struck down California’s teacher tenure laws as unconstitutional.

The ruling sent shock waves across the political spectrum from people unaware that California judges were allowed to be anything but leftists. A Los Angeles judge issued a sensible ruling, which in itself occurs as often as Haley’s Comet passing over a blue moon.

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The plaintiffs were a group of students who claimed that teacher tenure discriminates against them by sticking them with bad teachers, and therefore an inferior education.

The defendants were the various teachers’ unions in a case that showed their true colors. Their claim to be “for the children” was undercut by the fact that it was the children bringing suit against them.

Some of the children were minorities, which upended the normal leftist strategy of demonizing the plaintiffs. Unlike tobacco companies and gun manufacturers, minority underprivileged children make for very sympathetic courtroom attendees. The left has been accused of using children as props to further their own liberal agenda, and this time they got a taste of their own medicine.

Attempts to blame the plaintiffs’ lawyers as part of a right-wing hate machine will also fail. Solicitor General Ted Olson successfully argued Bush vs. Gore, the case that decided the 2000 election, but he recently also successfully advocated for gay marriage in front of the Supreme Court.

This leaves only the judge to attack. Judge Treu agreed with the plaintiffs, calling teacher tenure in its current form “unconscionable.” He specifically condemned the adverse effect tenure had on minority students.

Some liberals laced into the judge with the expected “tolerant”  rhetoric often heaped at people who disagree with them. Online complaints referred to Treu as a “NAZI” for the way he ran his courtroom. A former-California-Governor Pete Wilson appointee, Treu was attacked for running a strict courtroom. Treu’s egregious sins included demanding that people appear in court on time and be prepared to discuss their case.

Treu thoroughly reads his cases and expects counsel to do the same.

The idea behind tenure is simple. In every other industry, people are judged based on their job performance and can be dismissed at will; substandard employees can be fired. In the California education system, teachers need to work only two years in many cases to get lifetime tenure. Trying to fire a bad teacher can take up to a decade and cost up to $450,000.

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The worst teachers, even after being removed from classrooms, are often still paid to do nothing because they cannot be removed. When teachers rape students, the teachers’ unions often defend the teachers. The teachers’ unions are not for the children.

The teachers’ unions have declared a mythical “war on teachers” that is every bit as fake as the “war on women.” Most people in the real world are not offended at the idea of judging teachers the same way employees of every other industry are judged. In a meritocracy, the best teachers would get healthy raises. Thanks to aggressive teachers’ unions, money for those raises gets gobbled up by union dues and salaries for the worst teachers who have no business being in a classroom.

Judge Treu understood this. While he stayed his own ruling pending what could be years of appeals, Treu has opened the door for students in other states to try and get tenure abolished once and for all. This could lead to college professors being forced to spend less time publishing and more time teaching, a novel concept in the world of academia.

READ ALSO: Common Core: The straw that breaks the back of American education?

Treu’s decision was a shocker. Sanity occurred in Los Angeles. The legal system was finally used for something positive. The students took down a union that most politicians would never dare pick a fight with. Liberals were exposed trying to harm the very minorities they claim to want to help, for all the world to see. The public education system was exposed as a corrupt enterprise that harms America’s children. A step was taken in the bluest of cities in the bluest of states to bring order to a situation that long ago devolved into bureaucratic incompetence and chaos.

For one shining moment, a beacon of freedom appeared because liberal union lies were finally countered by a judge whose legal reasoning and ethics rings as Treu and pure as the children he is trying to save.

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  • Now will the ruling actually get to stand, or will the unions appeal it and get an activist judge to reverse it?

  • Majolica

    Yeah, in every other industry, people get fired. Teaching is a little different, like it or not, in that it’s not governed by market forces. How will it get better teachers in the system when the more experienced are fired in order to replace them with less experienced teachers in order to save money – which is what will happen? How will it benefit students when good teachers are gotten rid of in order to hire someone’s niece or a the daughter of a benefactor to the mayor? Don’t think it won’t happen.

    Tenure is problematic. I don’t love tenure. But comparing it simplistically to other jobs that are governed by true market forces – that work on the profit motive – is silly. Tenure needs to be improved, not jettisoned. There should be some review. But once you get rid of it entirely, you’re going to be surprised at the unintended consequences, like the ones I’ve mentioned above.

  • Robert B.

    As an attorney who tried a case before Treu, I can attest that he is a tough, no-nonsense, but fair judge who proved to be one of the best trial judges I have ever seen take the bench. Since I left the practice of law to enter the field of education as a classroom instructor, I can comment that there is much merit to the points raised in the court’s decision – the inordinate protections offered by tenure in 16 months or two years makes little sense. It should come only after 5 years or experience and be limited so as to permit removal of a a teacher who later begins to fail in his or her quality of teaching. A probation period could follow in a year or two to permit the teacher’s peers/administrators to try to improve the skills of the teacher. If that doesn’t work – the students deserve better. Teachers are public servants who receive retirement and health benefits that far exceed those received by the vast most American workers – they should show merit in their work as they educate our next generation.