Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) introduced two bills, AB 375 and AB 1338, designed to streamline the teacher dismissal process and require districts to establish policies on child abuse reporting.
That same day, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) announced that he was dropping his CTA-opposed teacher dismissal bill, SB 10, and signing on as co-author of Buchanan's bills.
The action came even as a group of CTA members were in the state Capitol on a lobby day, meeting with their lawmakers to oppose SB 10 and to expedite and streamline the teacher dismissal process.
AB 375 and AB 1338 reflect CTA’s goals to keep students safe, safeguard the integrity of the profession, and protect the rights of educators, notes CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “We support these bills because they provide immediate protections for students and streamline and shorten the dismissal process to ensure charges are handled fairly and in a timely manner.” He adds that he appreciates Buchanan’s hard work in developing the legislation and Padilla’s support shown by signing on as co-author.
AB 1338 requires districts to implement clear policies that fulfill state requirements for reporting abuse allegations, and to train staff members annually on the policies.
AB 375 establishes clear and timely dismissal procedures that reinforce the district’s responsibility to keep students safe and to report charges to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).
Through its interim legislation process, CTA took a “support” position on the two Buchanan bills, a position that will be reviewed by the full State Council at its April meeting.
CTA strongly believes school districts should be penalized for not following the law and failing to report serious misconduct to the CTC. This change should be a key element of a legislative package.
A recent state audit found that officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District failed to use their power under current law to remove from the classroom an educator facing charges of child abuse. The audit also determined that the district also failed to forward information about the educator quickly to the CTC, which has the power to investigate charges and revoke educators’ credentials. Without a credential, a teacher cannot work in a public school district in California.
“We look forward to working with lawmakers as these bills make their way through the legislative process,” says Vogel.