Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324 or Sandra Jackson at 916-325-1551
BURLINGAME – The California Teachers Association is part of a coalition of education groups fighting Assembly Bill 1403 that is winding its way through the legislature. The bill would disrupt implementation of a new law helping schools of greatest need in the Central Valley and take control away from local school boards to help improve student learning in their districts.
AB 1403 by Assemblyman Juan Arambula, D-Fresno, gives the Fresno and Tulare county superintendents authority over local schools and districts that do not meet the state Academic Performance Index (API) or the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements. Currently the local school boards, State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education have these powers. The bill also disrupts new efforts already under way to help 39 schools of greatest need in these counties as part of the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA). QEIA, sponsored last year by CTA, provides $2.9 billion over seven years to help hundreds of schools across the state with proven intervention reforms such as reducing class sizes, hiring more counselors and providing quality training for teachers and principals.
“This bill distracts and disrupts the work of school districts in Fresno and Tulare counties that are just starting to receive new funding to help improve student learning in lower-performing schools, ” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member CTA. “It also sets a dangerous precedent by undermining the authority of local school boards to do what best needs to be done to help students in their communities.”
AB 1403 also imposes new mandates on Fresno and Tulare schools and districts that are already part of state and federal accountability systems without assurances of assistance to meet those new mandates, Sanchez said. “CTA believes in meaningful educational reforms that provide assistance to help students meet California’s high academic standards, not more sanctions.”
AB 1403, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee this week, is also opposed by the Association of California School Administrators, the California Federation of Teachers, Jack O’Connell, Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California School Boards Association, Fresno Unified School District, Parlier Unified School District, and Pacific Union School District.