Contact: Claudia Briggs at 916-296-4087 or Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
SACRAMENTO – Educators applauded the governor’s signing of legislation today – AB 215 by Assembly Member Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) – that updates and streamlines California’s teacher discipline and dismissal process, saving the state time and money while protecting students and ensuring an educator's rights to due process.
“For California’s educators, keeping children safe in our classrooms is always a top priority. We have long supported streamlining the dismissal process so we are pleased to see this legislation unanimously approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor,” said Dean E. Vogel, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “Our students deserve a safe learning environment and to be taught by educators who are committed and qualified.”
AB 215 clarifies current law and creates a separate hearing process for education employees charged with egregious misconduct, including child abuse, sexual abuse and certain drug offenses. School districts are required to start these egregious misconduct cases within 60 days of a complaint being filed. The case will be heard only by an administrative law judge and that decision will be binding.
Additionally, AB 215 streamlines the hearing process for all other dismissal appeals. It requires districts to hold the hearing within six months of an educator making a request and requires the hearing to be concluded within seven months. These hearings will be heard by the Commission on Professional Competence, which includes an administrative law judge and two educators. Decisions will be binding.
Vogel said this is how education reform should be done – with input from all education community stakeholders and bipartisan support. He contrasted this approach with the attempts to “legislate from the bench” employed by the wealthy backers of the deceptive Vergara v. State of California lawsuit attacking educators’ due process rights. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled June 10 in favor of the lawsuit, but CTA is appealing the ruling.
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.