The Blog

Capitol News: CTA Co-Sponsored Bill to Protect Students from Misconduct Approved by Senate Education Committee

Assembly Bill 449 by Assembly member Al Muratsuchi passed out of the Senate Education Committee Tuesday on a bipartisan consent vote. The bill strengthens current law requiring superintendents to fulfill their duty to report to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing any allegations of misconduct by certificated staff when warranted.

CTA's main concern is to keep students safe while safeguarding the professional rights of educators. On Monday, Alicia Williamson, Vice Chair of CTA's Credentials and Professional Development Committee, and fellow lobby team member Tim Sergent successfully lobbied nine members of the Senate Education Committee to vote in support of the CTA co-sponsored bill.

AB 449 now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee where CTA will continue to seek support for passage of this important bill to remedy deficiencies in current law to ensure the welfare and safety of our school children.

 

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Education Panel Passes CTA-sponsored Measure to Help Protect Students Against Abuse

The Assembly Education Committee has approved AB 449, a CTA-sponsored measure by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). The bill is designed to force superintendents to report to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) cases of teachers accused of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse who leave district employment under these “adverse” actions.

Specifically, the measure is designed to make sure superintendents report allegations against these teachers so that the CCTC can investigate the situation and revoke teachers’ credentials if facts warrant the action.

The bill, the author told committee members, derived from abuse charges at Miramonte Elementary in Los Angeles last year.  He also said a state audit found that required reports were not made to the CCTC, and an educator was allowed to work in another district, where additional allegations surfaced.

AB 449 would give the CCTC the power to investigate a superintendent’s failure to make these reports.  The CCTC could revoke the credential of a superintendent who fails to protect students by carrying out these responsibilities. The bill would also empower local district attorneys to file misdemeanor charges against a non-credentialed superintendent, who is not subject to credential revision.

CTA testified, as did Michael Rothschild, an attorney and expert witness, who pointed out the failures of current law to provide penalties against superintendents who do not make responsible reports. The measure, he noted, would also penalize superintendents for filing frivolous or unwarranted reports.

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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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