(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Read the decision here. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t play one on tv, so I will leave the legal analysis to others. Two things seem obvious: an appeal of this decision is inevitable, and second this type of lawsuit will be emulated in other states- many other states. The conclusion of this will doubtlessly take years to reach but this may prove to be a decisive turning point on teacher quality issues. If it proves decisive it will be more like Midway than Waterloo, but reading through the decision gives you the feeling of a decisive turning point having been reached.
Reading through the decision also reveals just how deeply discredited practices like unconditional tenure and LIFO have become. The limits to the National Education Association’s attempt to muddy the water on research through “rent-a-reactionary critiques” of the groundbreaking research on teacher impacts seem completely exposed as well. It is much harder to pull the wool over the eyes of a discerning judge than an education reporter on deadline.
The courts often prove to be a lagging indicator in the war of ideas. This war is far from over but congratulations to the team who fought this battle.