WASHINGTON (AP) — Even before a California judge's scathing ruling against the state's teacher tenure policies, the once-sacred protections that make it harder to fire teachers already had been weakened in many states.

They have even been removed altogether in some places.

Florida is an example. It put all teachers hired after 2011 on an annual teaching contract that essentially did away with tenure protections.

The nonpartisan Education Commission of the States says 16 states now require that results of teacher evaluations be used in determining whether to grant tenure. That's up from 10 in 2011.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu on Tuesday sided with nine students who sued to overturn California statutes governing teacher hiring and firing. He said they serve no compelling purpose and harm students.