By Len Feldman
CTA is battling to defeat an opposed bill that could gain a second life because of a legislative maneuver but remains stalled in the Senate. SB 955, by Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), which seeks to create an unfair system that takes away due process rights from teachers, should have gone to the Senate Labor Committee — but instead, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has routed the bill to the Senate Rules Committee to keep it alive. In the ordinary course of business, SB 955 would have headed to the Senate Labor Committee where it would have received a fair hearing. More than 1,600 CTA members have already contacted their legislators urging them to kill this harmful bill.
SB 955 represents an ongoing effort by anti-teacher forces to simply blame teachers for the ills of public schools, without acknowledging years of chronic underfunding resulting in larger class sizes, fewer teachers, nurses, counselors and education support professionals, and the elimination of vital programs that keep students engaged in school.
In his State of the State speech in January, under the guise of responding to the state’s fiscal crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger resuscitated his attack on teacher rights as a diversion from the pressing issue of funding our public schools. In April, the governor recruited Sen. Huff to carry his anti-teacher agenda, and Sen. Huff quickly enticed Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) — a candidate for superintendent of public instruction — to back his bill.
With the help of the governor, SB 955 narrowly cleared the Senate Education Committee with votes from Sens. Huff, Romero, Abel Maldonado, Mark Wyland and Elaine Alquist.
Call Sen. Steinberg at (916) 651-4006 and tell him to stop blaming teachers and start finding real solutions to fund our schools and students. For updated information about SB 955, visit
Reasons to stop SB 955
- SB 955 is an outright attack on teachers and ignores real problems facing our schools. It’s outrageous that some lawmakers are scapegoating teachers during these tough economic times and robbing them of due process rights, while at the same time — because of $17 billion in budget cuts the last two years — neighborhood schools are eliminating entire programs and teaching positions, and in some cases closing doors for good.
- SB 955 won’t save the state one dime or do anything to improve student learning. Instead of blaming teachers, the governor and lawmakers should be working with educators to support public schools and provide all students with a quality education.
- We need to attract and retain the best candidates in teaching. SB 955 will discourage college graduates from going into the teaching profession because it creates an unfair system with no due process rights. The bill also opens the door to arbitrary and discriminatory treatment of teachers.
- SB 955 is unnecessary. There is already a process to remove ineffective teachers. During their first two years of employment, teachers can be fired for any reason. In their third year, teachers have a right to a hearing before being laid off. This process allows districts to consider student needs when making layoff decisions.
- California’s parents and teachers want the governor and the Legislature to focus on solving real problems — like soaring class sizes, inadequate resources, and the elimination of music, art, and vocational education programs — to ensure our children have a real chance at a brighter future.