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Judge Treu said “substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the Challenged Statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students.”

California has more than 6 million K-12 students and more than 300,000 teachers in public schools, according to the state Department of Education.

John Deasy, the superintendent of the state’s largest district, Los Angeles Unified, cheered the judge’s ruling.

“Every day these laws remain in place represents another opportunity denied,” said a statement by Mr. Deasy. “I look forward to engaging with our elected leaders here in Los Angeles and in Sacramento about the future of education in California.”

The decision also was applauded by free-market advocates and others who said that eliminating barriers to firing ineffective teachers would benefit students.

“Thanks to a brave group of California students, the unions’ choking grip on our children’s future loosened today,” Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, said in a statement. “For years, teachers unions have been waging war against the very people they are supposed to represent — students and educators who do not always believe in the unions’ misplaced priorities, including tenure for those who don’t deserve it.”

Mr. Pell noted that California teachers unions are fighting another lawsuit, Friedrichs v. California, filed by teachers challenging the payment of compulsory union dues.

One of the nine students, Julia Macias, also issued a statement on the ruling.

“Being a kid, sometimes it’s easy to feel as though your voices aren’t heard,” Julia said. “Today I’m glad I did not stay quiet; with the support of my parents I was given the ability to fight for my right for an equal education.”