The Blog

Under Guise of Protecting Children, New Initiative Would Attack Basic Fairness

A new initiative threatens to set aside a basic element of American justice – the principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.

Proponents of the new measure suppposedly designed to “protect children” are proposing to suspend without pay a certificated educator merely accused of “egregious misconduct.” Proponents are also proposing to allow unfounded accusations to be placed in an educator’s personnel file forever.

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Disappointing Outcome: Governor Vetoes Bill to Streamline Dismissal Process

At a recent forum on school finance, Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo), at left,  and  Toby Boyd, an elementary teacher and member of the CTA Board of Directors, discuss some key education issues, including protecting children and safeguarding the teaching profession.

After two years of hard work with lawmakers aimed at streamlining the teacher dismissal process, protecting children’s safety, and safeguarding the profession, we have learned some disappointing news today.  Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed CTA-backed AB 375, a measure by Assembly Member Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and co-author Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) that was the product of that hard work.

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Senate Appropriations Approves Streamlined Teacher Dismissal Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Sept. 12 approved AB 375, a CTA-supported bill by Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) that would streamline the teacher dismissal process while protecting the rights of educators.

The measure, which is co-authored by Sen. Padilla (D-Pacoima), ensures that employees faced with serious accusations have a fair process to clear their name. AB 375 is now headed to the Senate floor, where action is expected by Friday. 

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CTA Pres. Vogel Takes on Romero Assertions in OC Register

The Orange County Register published this response from CTA President Dean Vogel to an earlier column by former Sen. Gloria Romero:

Protecting our teachers

DAVIS, Dean Vogel, president, California Teachers Association: Former state Sen. Gloria Romero's column questioning the California Teachers Association's motivations for "suddenly" supporting a new teacher dismissal bill was short on facts and long on inaccurate speculation ["CTA goes Hollywood on teacher dismissal bills," Opinion, April 2]. The CTA wanted to support legislation by Sen. Alex Padilla last year [SB1530], and offered amendments we believed would correct some significant problems width his bill.

Far from jumping late onto any dismissal bandwagon, CTA has led support of efforts to expedite the dismissal process, maintain existing safeguards that remove teachers from classrooms immediately when charged width serious offenses and toughen penalties for districts and school personnel who fail to follow mandated abuse-reporting procedures. These are the facts, despite any claims from paid spokespersons for organizations founded and funded in part by outspoken, school-privatization proponents and hedge-fund managers who see dollar signs in public-school funding.

We are pleased now that Sen. Padilla has teamed width Assembly Member Joan Buchanan to craft just such legislation, AB1338 and AB375, bills that, while not perfect, eliminate the problematic potential for added expense and redundant hearings inherent in the earlier bill. CTA has taken an interim-support position on these new bills and will, in all likelihood, issue our final support later this month, coupled width our insistence that districts must be held accountable for following these laws.

We understand that some so-called "reform" groups will oppose any legislation supported by the teachers' union. So, we applaud California lawmakers who are moving ahead width bills that keep children safe and streamline the process for removing people who don't belong in our classrooms, while still maintaining safeguards against false allegations.

We hope Romero is also supportive of these goals.

Want to know more about CTA's position on teacher evaluation?  It's just a click away.

 

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Assembly Education Chair Buchanan Introduces Two Bills Aimed at Protecting Children, Speeding Up Dismissals; Senator Padilla Drops His

SB 10, Signs on as Co-author CTA Adopts "Support" Position

Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) on Tuesday, March 19, introduced two bills designed to streamline the teacher dismissal process and require districts to establish policies on child abuse reporting.

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) announced that he was dropping his CTA-opposed teacher dismissal bill — SB 10 — and signing on as a co-author of AB 375, the first of the two Buchanan bills.

The action came even as a group of CTA members were in the state Capitol on a lobby day, meeting width their lawmakers in opposition to SB 10.

Among CTA's main concerns are keeping students safe, safeguarding the integrity of the profession, and protecting educators' rights. The association has been pressing for legislation that would streamline and shorten the dismissal process to ensure that allegations are handled fairly and in a timely manner.

The second measure, AB 1338, requires districts to implement policies that fulfill state requirements for reporting abuse allegations and train staff members annually on the policies.

CTA has since taken a support position on both of Buchanan's bills.

CTA commends Assembly Member Buchanan for taking the lead on the two bills addressing these vital matters affecting teachers and their students, and appreciates Sen. Padilla joining the efforts as co-author.

The Key Messages paper on the bills provides more information about CTA's position. You can also learn more by reading the CTA AB 375 Fact Sheet, the  CTA AB 1338 Fact Sheet, and Assembly Member Buchanan's and Senator Padilla's Joint News Release on the bills.

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CTA Members Urge Lawmakers to Reject SB 10 – CTA-opposed Dismissal Bill

(Photo above - second from left) Lori Easterling, CTA’s Manager of Legislative Relations, welcomes a dozen CTA members to an early morning briefing, where they prepared to meet width lawmakers in opposition to SB 10.

Nearly a dozen CTA members met in Sacramento Tuesday morning for a day-long lobby day to help convince members of the Senate Education and Senate Appropriations Committees to defeat SB 10 (Padilla), a CTA-opposed measure that would do virtually nothing to provide students width greater protections against abuse, sexual, physical, or verbal.

The CTA members’  work in Sacramento came as part of the organization’s overall effort to defeat SB 10 and  move for changes in current law that would speed up the process and make sure  school districts comply width laws requiring them to report charges to the  California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.  The CCTC has the power to revoke educators’ credentials, widthout which  they cannot work in any public school in the state.

The CTA members stressed that the measure would not streamline the process or save costs or protect the rights of the accused.

(From l.) Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) hears from a team of educators about why SB 10 (Padilla) would not help protect students.  Team members included (from l.) Terry Pesta, Connie Pruett, and Chantaine Fauntleroy.

 

 

(From l.) CTA Member Terry Pesta meets width Diana Crofts-Pelayo, a Senate fellow in Sen. Kevin De Leon’s office.

 

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Capitol News: CTA Opposes Sen. Padilla's Dismissal Bill (SB 10)

CTA's State Council of Education has taken a position to oppose Sen. Padilla's (D-Los Angeles) SB 10 that intends to make changes in teacher dismissal law in order to protect students from behavior already prohibited by law. Under existing law, districts can immediately remove from the classroom any educator accused of "immoral conduct" or accused of a serious crime and can keep the employee away from students until the facts of the case have been determined.

Because no one is more concerned than teachers about protecting students from child abuse or other misconduct, CTA is seeking to streamline the process by which teachers may have a day in court to defend themselves against charges of serious misconduct. CTA also opposes SB 10 because it would allow districts to delay dismissal hearings on the charges.  It doesn't require the district to follow a timeline for investigating the allegations or holding a hearing; therefore, creating distrust and uncertainty in the community.

Additionally, Sen. Padilla's SB  10 ignores a performance audit by a state agency that determined the Los  Angeles Unified School District should have protected its students by immediately reporting allegations of inappropriate conduct against teachers to the state licensing agency.  The California Commission on Teaching  Credentialing can revoke the license of any certificated employee, making it  impossible for that employee to work in a public school anywhere in the state.  By not reporting these allegations, the district allowed educators under  suspicion to continue working width students in other districts.

Simply put: The state audit  found massive failure by LAUSD officials to use provisions of current law to  protect students.

CTA is committed to protecting  the safety of students and employees on every campus. It is opposed to  counterproductive legislation that will do nothing more than make it possible  for school districts to suspend educators indefinitely widthout pay and widthout  a hearing.  That's what SB 10 by Sen. Padilla (D-Los Angeles) will do in  addition to allowing districts to ignore the findings of an impartial  arbitrator and fire the teacher, notwidthstanding the arbitrator's finding that  the teacher is not guilty of anything.

CTA will be working to defeat  the measure during its first hearing in the Senate Education Committee later  this month.

Read more about CTA's  position on SB 10.

View CTA's  Key Messages.

Read the bill: SB  10 Bill Text

 

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Panel Defeats Opposed Padilla Bill After Educators Charge District Officials with Failing to Comply with Current Laws Protecting Children

(From left) Danette Brown, a teacher from La Habra, and Warren Fletcher, a Los Angeles teacher, testify before the Assembly Education Committee on June 27, urging the panel to reject SB 1530, an ill-advised measure that is diverting attention from the failures of the administration of the Los Angeles Unified School District to follow current laws requiring reports to the state credentialing agency of allegations of misconduct against teachers. Brown displays a declaration she is filing width the credentialing agency requesting an investigation of alleged malfeasance on the part of the credentialed leaders of the state’s largest school district.

After powerful testimony from nearly three dozen educators decrying the bill as an unnecessary  smokescreen, the Assembly Education Committee on June 27 effectively killed a teacher-opposed measure by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles).

SB 1530 needed six “aye” votes to secure the committee’s approval, but only five of the body’s 11 legislators were willing to vote for the flawed proposal that would have undermined educators’ rights to a fair hearing widthout addressing district management’s failure to follow current laws designed to ensure districts act swiftly and appropriately in response to any charges of educator misconduct.

As is standard practice, the committee extended to author Padilla the courtesy of allowing the bill to be “reconsidered” at an unspecified later date. Under rules of the Assembly, though, the measure would have to clear the Education Committee by July 6, and the panel has no meetings scheduled before that date. It would be highly unlikely for the committee to be called into session for the sole purpose of reconsidering one measure, veteran Capitol observers note.

Voting for the teacher-opposed measure were Assembly Education Chair Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Vice Chair Chris Norby (R-Fullerton), and Assembly Members Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), Dr. Linda Halderman (R-Fresno), and Don Wagner (R-Irvine).

Voting against the bill were Assembly Members Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo).  Abstaining were Assembly Members Betsy Butler (D-El Segundo), Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto), Mike Eng (D-Alhambra) and Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara).

During their testimony against the Padilla bill, Danette Brown, a teacher from La Habra, and Warren Fletcher, a teacher from Los Angeles and leader of that city’s more than 35,000 educators and classroom professionals, told lawmakers they were filing width the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the state’s licensing agency, declarations urging the commission to investigate the failure of the LAUSD to comply width current laws requiring district officials to immediately report serious allegations against credentialed personnel, including teachers. A credentialed superintendent or other credentialed school officials who fail to comply width these laws could have their credentials revoked.

More than 24 educators, parents, and school supporters testified against the measure, many displaying their own declarations they are planning to deliver to the credentialing commission in support of an investigation of the LAUSD’s senior administrators and their actions in response to multiple allegations and specific charges involving staff at Miramonte Elementary.

Under current law, the CCTC has the power to convene a three-person panel to review evidence against an educator charged width misconduct and to revoke that educator’s credential if the facts support the allegations. The credential can be revoked even if the individual charged has not been found guilty of a crime in a court of law.

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