By Len Feldman
At the state Capitol, Livermore EA member Shelly Fields and Alcosta Service Center Chair Laura Finco urge Assembly Member Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) to support increased funding for schools.
Two CTA-opposed bills would quash teachers' constitutional rights, while doing nothing to address the Los Angeles Unified School District management's failure to protect children.
CTA representatives defeated one of three measures spawned by headlines and the failure of the management of LAUSD to protect students from a sexual predator. As the Educator goes to press, two other bills that would undermine teachers’ constitutional rights are still alive, as LAUSD scrambles to blame “shortcomings” in current law — rather than the district’s neglect — for the problems.
CTA received a report from the April meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing that LAUSD — after years of failing to file reports of suspected misconduct — had rushed over the previous two months to file 530 allegations with the licensing board, more than three times the number filed by all districts in California combined in any one year. The filings come at the same time the district is backing the CTA-opposed bills, which would broadly expand its powers while eliminating teachers’ rights to a fair hearing.
CTA efforts defeated SB 1059, a measure by Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) that would have taken away teachers’ constitutional rights, including their right to a fair hearing and to confront their accusers. The bill’s provisions were so broad that a teacher could have faced comparable district penalties for unsafely wearing open-toed shoes in a shop class or abuse of a child.
The Senate and the Assembly Education committees substantially amended and then approved two other measures, which CTA continues to oppose in their new forms. Neither bill addresses the failure of a school district’s management to take the necessary steps to protect children.
SB 1530, by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), cleared the Senate Education Committee in April over CTA’s objections. The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where the major focus will be on the bill’s potential to raise district costs while it cuts desperately needed classroom dollars. CTA continues to have major concerns about the bill and remains opposed to it.
In the Assembly Education Committee, Assembly Member Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) reluctantly agreed to allow his bill, AB 2028, to be substantially changed, so much so it was considered “gutted and amended.” Unfortunately for educators, it still contains unacceptable provisions.
Education supporters are asked to get in touch with their senators and Assembly members to urge them to support CTA’s effort to restore due process protections to Sen. Padilla’s SB 1530 and to defeat AB 2028. CTA representatives are continuing to work with Sen. Padilla’s office in hopes that he will amend the measure into something that would be helpful to schools.
Updated information about the bills can be found at blog.cta.org and at the “Contact Your Lawmaker” link at www.cta.org/legislation.
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