by Claudia Briggs
Over the last three years we’ve seen several proposals aimed at modifying laws that outline procedures for teacher dismissals. Some claim teachers have jobs for life, which we know is not true; others claim unions protect “bad” teachers, which is also untrue. The reality is that current laws provide school districts with the tools they need to address situations that call for discipline, dismissal, or even immediate removal of educators charged with immoral conduct. However, as seen in recent cases, districts often fail to act.
Because student safety and retaining quality teachers in every classroom are always top priorities, CTA supports streamlining the dismissal process to keep students safe, as long as due process protections for educators remain uncompromised. Last year, CTA supported AB 375, which was approved by the Legislature but later vetoed by the governor.
This year, CTA worked closely with a coalition of education stakeholders and lawmakers to again craft a bill that would streamline the teacher dismissal process to keep students safe, while safeguarding the integrity of our profession and protecting the due process rights of educators. AB 215, introduced by Assembly Member Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo), is the product of many conversations, hard work and collaboration among educators, EdVoice and the governor's office. EdVoice is an education lobbying group that had planned to circulate a ballot initiative seeking to undermine educator rights.
“You and I know that, as educators, we care most about keeping our students safe from any harm or danger, whether it is at school, at home, on the playground, or on their way to and from school. AB 215 ensures dismissals are done in a timely manner and forces school districts to act quickly in order for our kids to remain in a safe learning environment,” says CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “This bill addresses past concerns expressed by parents, education stakeholders and lawmakers. We are pleased to join EdVoice and Assembly Member Buchanan in demonstrating our shared commitment to this legislation.”