Bay Area Educators React to California Teacher Tenure Ruling

A ruling Tuesday that California's public school tenure laws are unconstitutional has drawn strong reaction from Bay Area teachers and several school districts.

Administrators at the West Contra Costa School District in the East Bay said they are relieved a Supreme Court judge has taken the first step toward removing teacher tenure.

School officials said tenure makes getting rid of bad teachers very difficult, which can take years and cost school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars.

District leaders hope the ruling sends a clear message to under-performing educators.

"They'll have to show some openness to change," said Charles Ramsey, a West Contra Costa School District trustee. "And if they don't want to change they're no longer protected by what has been perceived as an unfair law."

But teachers unions and their attorneys said the ruling is misguided, adding educators need the protections tenure provides.

"Having due process, not being able to be fired without cause is very important to teachers -- both in terms of academic freedom and knowing you're going to be there long term so you're willing to invest in your students," said Jim Finberg, a teachers union attorney.

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