The American Federation of Teachers says it hopes the California Supreme Court's decision upholding the state's teacher tenure law closes the book on the flawed argument linking educators' workplace protections with student disadvantage.
The California Supreme Court was divided 4-3 in its decision to let the state's teacher tenure law stand.
Three justices said Monday the court was wrong not to review a lower court ruling that upheld tenure and other job protections for teachers.
Associate Justice Goodwin Liu said the case affected millions of students statewide and presented a significant legal issue that the lower court likely got wrong. Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar echoed those concerns in a separate dissent.
The Supreme Court's decision came in a lawsuit by a group of students who claimed that incompetent teachers were almost impossible to fire because of tenure laws and that schools in poor neighborhoods were dumping grounds for bad teachers.
An appeals court said in April that the students had failed to show California's hiring and firing rules were unconstitutional.
"It's the first day of school for many students throughout the state and it makes me wonder how many more children will return to low-performing schools that prioritize bad teachers over their own students," said Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R-42, Yucca Valley) in a news release Monday afternoon.
"I am disappointed," said Mayes. "We should not have to rely on the courts to put our students first. It's time for legislators in Sacramento to stop protecting bad policies that deprive low-income and minority students of a good education.
"Assembly Republicans will keep up our fight to put students ahead of politics and fix our failing education system."