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Making Superintendents Accountable: CTA Seeks to Help Protect Students from Abuse

Lobby Day Presses for Support for CTA-Sponsored AB 449 (Muratsuchi): Panel Approves Bill

On April 17, members of the Assembly Education Committee took up AB 449, a CTA-sponsored measure by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), and passed it out of committee. The bill would close a current loophole that allows superintendents to evade responsibility for their district's failure to report to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) serious accusations about a credentialed educator that could lead the CTC to revoke that person's credential. The measure is heading to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for its next hearing.

AB 449 authorizes the CTC to investigate California school superintendents who fail to perform their duty to report to the state credentialing agency adverse employment actions taken against credentialed employees because of accusations of serious "misconduct."

The bill also clarifies what constitutes "misconduct" so the CTC can better utilize its investigative resources. The measure aims to ensure all superintendents make the required reports, and it imposes possible misdemeanor penalties on superintendents who are not credentialed educators and therefore not subject to CTC credential revocation for failing to protect children by making required reports.

As part of CTA's lobby efforts, on April 11, a team of CTA teachers and education support professionals visited lawmakers at the Capitol to secure legislators' support for the bill that helps protect students against verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. The team included Danette Brown, who teaches at El Cerrito Elementary School in La Habra and Tim Sergent, a special education teacher at James Monroe Elementary School in Santa Rosa.

The CTC has spelled out the problem, recognizing there "is no specific jurisdictional provision that would trigger the Commission's ability to review a superintendent who over reports, provides inadequate files, or fails to report altogether."

In several recent cases, a superintendent failed to report disciplinary actions taken against a certificated educator on the basis of child abuse allegations.  In more than one case, the accused educator moved to another district, where new allegations surfaced about misconduct.  Had the original allegations reached the CTC, the agency could have investigated the charges and revoked the educator's credentials, preventing them from working in another district.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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