In a big win for teachers and their unions, the California Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a lower court ruling. The vote was 4-3. See the report in the LA School Report (controlled by Campbell Brown and The 74) here.

The initial decision had over-ruled state laws that protected teacher tenure and seniority. That decision by Judge Rolf Treu was overturned on appeal by a unanimous three-judge court. The state supreme court let stand the last decision.

Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times reports:

In a major victory for teachers unions, the California Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that preserves traditional teacher job protections such as tenure and seniority-based layoffs.

In refusing to hear the case, the state’s high court sided not only with unions, but also the state of California and others, who contended that these job protections are both constitutional and reasonable.

The case was being closely watched across the country as a bellwether on whether courts could be used to invalidate employment rights of teachers on the grounds that they violate the rights of students.

Attorneys for a group of nine students had argued that making it easier to fire bad teachers would improve academic performance. They also claimed that speedier teacher dismissals would narrow the achievement gap that separates white, Asian and wealthier students from their lower income, black and Latino peers.

There are states that have no teacher tenure, but no evidence was introduced to demonstrate that those states have higher academic performance by low-income, black and Latino students or smaller achievement gaps.

StudentsMatter, funded by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and cheered on by the corporate reform movement, spent millions of dollars fighting tenure laws, and forced the unions to do the same.