Contacts: For CTA: Claudia Briggs, 916-325-1550; for EdVoice: Steve O’Mara, 415-250-6876
Bifurcated process would streamline and prioritize egregious misconduct cases
SACRAMENTO — After three years of efforts to streamline the dismissal process to ensure student safety while protecting the due process rights of educators, the California Teachers Association and EdVoice are joining in support of Assembly Member Joan Buchanan’s (D-Alamo) newly-introduced AB 215. This bill streamlines the complexity of certificated staff suspension and dismissal while being fair to adults and keeping all students and staff in California public schools safe. The bill balances the call for reduced cost and complexity in the appeals process with the rights of students and the rights of educators.
“AB 215 is the culmination of several years of effort by diverse stakeholders to address the need to reduce the complexity and cost of suspension and dismissal appeals. The bill balances a fair appeal process for any permanent employee requesting a hearing with the mandate to keep all students and staff safe and ensure every public school classroom is a productive learning environment,” said EdVoice President Bill Lucia. “EdVoice is pleased to support and join the hard work of the CTA in arriving at these needed and significant improvements to current law.”
Under current law, districts have the power to immediately remove from the classroom educators accused of immoral conduct but, as seen in recent cases, have failed to act. That is why educators have been advocating for a streamlined process and supported legislation last year that was vetoed by the governor. AB 215 creates a separate hearing process for employees charged with egregious misconduct—child abuse, sexual abuse and certain drug offenses. These cases will be heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ) and will be prioritized over other appeals.
“As educators, student safety and having quality teachers in every classroom is always a top priority. AB 215 expedites the current dismissal process to keep students safe, while also safeguarding the integrity of the profession and protecting the rights of educators,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “This bill addresses the concerns expressed by parents, education stakeholders and lawmakers over the past few years. CTA is pleased to join EdVoice and Assembly Member Buchanan in demonstrating our shared commitment to this legislation.”
AB 215 also streamlines the appeals process to address other misconduct and chronic unsatisfactory performance appeals. The measure eliminates loopholes and distorted incentives in current law that have led to lengthy delays in commencing and completing appeals hearings, including the use of superior courts to referee process disputes in employment actions and districts’ dragging on investigations, which has resulted in costly litigation.
CTA and EdVoice look forward to having many conversations with lawmakers and other education stakeholders to ensure the measure passes and is signed by the governor.
The 325,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. EdVoice is a nonprofit grassroots network of parents, community leaders, educators, and education philanthropists, working together to give children a voice in the decision making process in Sacramento and throughout California. EdVoice works to improve measurable student achievement and eliminate educational inequality in California.