The Blog at CTA

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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Anderson Cooper 360 Gets it WRONG!

Today, we are OUTRAGED!

Yesterday the “Anderson Cooper 360” show did a hatchet job on CTA, grossly distorting the truth about educators’ involvement in politics and more specifically our efforts on SB 1530.

It came as a shock to us while watching the video that this was a CNN story, and not the gotcha faux-reporting of FOX “news”.  The story made assumptions and drew conclusions widthout looking at the facts of the entire story.

SB 1530 was born out of the headlines from Miramonte elementary school last year where a teacher was accused of doing horrible things to students. Unfortunately the bill was little more than political grandstanding by opportunists masquerading as education “reformers”.

The alleged actions of the accused teacher at Miramonte were unconscionable – on that we can all agree. But if you read the bill in question or followed the real discussions on SB 1530, you know it did nothing to make kids safer in schools.

Under current law Superintendent Deasy and LAUSD were negligent. They did not remove the accused teacher from the classroom which they have the power and obligation to do. Nor did they report the accused to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, as they are also required to do. Current law allowed for this teacher to be removed from the classroom immediately. Sadly, LAUSD administrators are the ones who didn’t take any action.

In fact, CTA supported amendments to SB 1530 that would have streamlined the dismissal process. Unfortunately, Senator Padilla rejected these amendments, and kept his focus on making it easier to fire any teacher, innocent or guilty.

We cannot oversimplify this serious issue. And “AC360”’s reporting’s one-sided, almost gleeful vilification does just that. CNN didn’t follow any ethical journalistic practices, and they need to be called out.

There is an agenda at play here, one that plays directly into the hands of the Yes on 32 campaign’s dishonest promise to “get special interest money out of politics”. They want our money out of politics (but not theirs!) and will go to whatever lengths to get their way. It must be noted that the first to publish the “AC360” video clip was the Yes on 32 campaign, and the first to promote it on Twitter was Democrats for Education Reform and Gloria Romero, who support the Yes campaign and who will continue to influence politics width their charter/privatization agenda even if 32 passes.

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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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Just Say “No”: Educators Urge Lawmakers to Reject Bill that Won’t Protect Students

Warren Fletcher (at right), both a teacher and leader of 35,000 Los Angeles educators, urges an education aide on Assembly Member Betsy Butler’s staff to encourage the lawmaker to vote against SB 1530 (Padilla).

That measure purports to protect children, but Fletcher pointed out the measure is really a smokescreen, diverting attention from the failure of management at the Los Angeles Unified School District to report allegations of misconduct to the state licensing agency.

Fletcher noted that had the district met its legal reporting requirements, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing would have revoked the license of an educator charged width sexual misconduct, and that alleged perpetrator would have been unable to teach in any classroom in the state.

Fletcher emphasized that no one is more concerned than teachers in making sure students are protected from harm, but that SB 1530 won’t help.  In particular, it won’t increase the penalties against district officials who fail to do their duty.

Fletcher is one of several dozen educators in the Capitol Wednesday to urge lawmakers to defeat SB 1530.

SB 1530 is slated for a hearing Wednesday afternoon in the Assembly Education Committee.  Educators from around the state are expected to testify against the bill.

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Don't Know Who to Call to Help Kill Bad Dismissal Bill? Now You Do!

Educators can help defeat SB 1530 (Padilla), the CTA-opposed teacher dismissal bill, by making one phone call right now to their own State Assembly Member. The bill is now in the Assembly Education Committee.

Know who represents you in the Assembly?  Then get the number for their Capitol office from the list below.

Not sure who is your State Assembly Member?  Not a problem.  Click on the CTA Legislative Action Center.  You'll be prompted to put in your zip code, and you'll get information about who you should contact in the Assembly.

SB 1530 is expected to be heard in the Education Committee in a few weeks.  Call now.  There's a lot hanging on the outcome.

 

Member

District

Party

Phone

Achadjian, Katcho

33

R

916 319 2033

Alejo, Luis

28

D

916 319 2028

Allen, Michael

7

D

916 319 2007

Ammiano, Tom

13

D

916 319 2013

Atkins, Toni

76

D

916 319 2076

Beall, Jim

24

D

916 319 2024

Berryhill, Bill

26

R

916 319 2026

Block, Martin

78

D

916 319 2078

Blumenfield, Bob

40

D

916 319 2040

Bonilla, Susan

11

D

916 319 2011

Bradford, Steve

51

D

916 319 2051

Brownley, Julia

41

D

916 319 2041

Buchanan, Joan

15

D

916 319 2015

Butler, Betsy

53

D

916 319 2053

Calderon, Charles

58

D

916 319 2058

Campos, Nora

23

D

916 319 2023

Carter, Wilmer Amina

62

D

916 319 2062

Cedillo, Gil

45

D

916 319 2045

Chesbro, Wesley

1

D

916 319 2001

Conway, Connie

34

R

916 319 2034

Cook, Paul

65

R

916 319 2065

Davis, Mike

48

D

916 319 2048

Dickinson, Roger

9

D

916 319 2009

Donnelly, Tim

59

R

916 319 2059

Eng, Mike

49

D

916 319 2049

Feuer, Mike

42

D

916 319 2042

Fletcher, Nathan

75

I

916 319 2075

Fong, Paul

22

D

916 319 2022

Fuentes, Felipe

39

D

916 319 2039

Furutani, Warren

55

D

916 319 2055

Gaines, Beth

4

R

916 319 2004

Galgiani, Cathleen

17

D

916 319 2017

Garrick, Martin

74

R

916 319 2074

Gatto, Mike

43

D

916 319 2043

Gordon, Rich

21

D

916 319 2021

Gorell, Jeff

37

R

916 319 2037

Grove, Shannon

32

R

916 319 2032

Hagman, Curt

60

R

916 319 2060

Halderman, Linda

29

R

916 319 2029

Hall, Isadore

52

D

916 319 2052

Harkey, Diane

73

R

916 319 2073

Hayashi, Mary

18

D

916 319 2018

Hernández, Roger

57

D

916 319 2057

Hill, Gerald

19

D

916 319 2019

Huber, Alyson

10

D

916 319 2010

Hueso, Ben

79

D

916 319 2079

Huffman, Jared

6

D

916 319 2006

Jeffries, Kevin

66

R

916 319 2066

Jones, Brian

77

R

916 319 2077

Knight, Steve

36

R

916 319 2036

Lara, Ricardo

50

D

916 319 2050

Logue, Dan

3

R

916 319 2003

Lowenthal, Bonnie

54

D

916 319 2054

Ma, Fiona

12

D

916 319 2012

Mansoor, Allan

68

R

916 319 2068

Mendoza, Tony

56

D

916 319 2056

Miller, Jeff

71

R

916 319 2071

Mitchell, Holly

47

D

916 319 2047

Monning, Bill

27

D

916 319 2027

Morrell, Mike

63

R

916 319 2063

Nestande, Brian

64

R

916 319 2064

Nielsen, Jim

2

R

916 319 2002

Norby, Chris

72

R

916 319 2072

Olsen, Kristin

25

R

916 319 2025

Pan, Richard

5

D

916 319 2005

Perea, Henry

31

D

916 319 2031

Pérez, John

46

D

916 319 2046

Pérez, V. Manuel

80

D

916 319 2080

Portantino, Anthony

44

D

916 319 2044

Silva, Jim

67

R

916 319 2067

Skinner, Nancy

14

D

916 319 2014

Smyth, Cameron

38

R

916 319 2038

Solorio, Jose

69

D

916 319 2069

Swanson, Sandre

16

D

916 319 2016

Torres, Norma

61

D

916 319 2061

Valadao, David

30

R

916 319 2030

Wagner, Don

70

R

916 319 2070

Wieckowski, Bob

20

D

916 319 2020

Williams, Das

35

D

916 319 2035

Yamada, Mariko

8

D

916 319 2008

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Action Alert: Time to Kill Ill-conceived Padilla Teacher Dismissal Bill

CTA representatives have worked long and hard width the author of a bad dismissal bill to try making it into something positive. They say, "Time’s up." The bill has to be heard by Friday, May 25.

Now CTA efforts are turning to deliver this simple message to all members of the Senate Appropriations Committee: vote “No” and kill SB 1530, the CTA-opposed teacher dismissal bill by Sen. Alex Padilla

  • SB 1530 would severely undermine certificated educators' ability to get a fair hearing when accused of misconduct.
  • The measure would erode the integrity of the teacher dismissal process.  The bill would, first of all, eliminate timelines for notice. In particular, it would allow employers to send out a notice to dismiss during the summer when many certificated personnel are not in town. It would also grant districts the discretion to submit old information about prior issues of misconduct as evidence related to current charges.  Current law prohibits both practices as patently unfair.   CTA conversations to improve the bill in these key areas have simply gone nowhere.
  • Finally, the bill would sharply change the role of the Committee on Professional Competence by eliminating teachers from the panel altogether and render the decision of the neutral administrative law judge as only advisory to the local governing board.  This significant slap against teacher protection for a fair hearing is CTA’s most urgent concern.
The bill’s supporters assert that eliminating teacher due process will make dismissal hearings both cost-effective and efficient. In point of fact, it will open teachers to dismissal at the whim of local administrators, who have shown themselves woefully ill-equipped to protect students or teachers.

Overall this bill does not address the failures of leadership in Los Angeles Unified School District and does not hold administrators accountable to protect students by implementing current law. CTA conversations to improve the bill in these key  areas have simply gone nowhere

CTA members are being asked to contact their state Senator who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. SB 1530 has not been improved. CTA members will be asking their legislators  not to vote for the bill and not to vote to “keep SB 1530 moving.” 

The phone and fax numbers of members of Senate Appropriations are listed below.

Senate Appropriations Committee  Members in Senate District order:
Steinberg, Darrell

6

D

205

916 651 4006

916 323 2263

Alquist, Elaine

13

D

5080

916 651 4013

916 324 0283

Price, Curren

26

D

2057

916 651 4026

916 445 8899

Lieu, Ted

28

D

4090

916 651 4028

916 323 6056

Dutton, Bob

31

R

5097

916 651 4031

916 327 2272

Walters, Mimi (Vice-Chair)

33

R

3082

916 651 4033

916 445 9754

Kehoe, Christine (Chair)

39

D

5050

916 651 4039

916 327 2188

 

17 May 2012

For more information about the bill or to identify you state lawmaker, click this link: Contact Your Legislator.

Click on the images below to read CTA Legislative Advocate Patricia Rucker's letter on the bill.

 

 

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Ill-conceived Teacher Dismissal Bill Now on Hold, Panel Needs to Hear from Educators (Updated)

A CTA-opposed measure that would severely undermine certificated educators' ability to get a fair hearing when accused of misconduct has been put on “hold” by a Senate panel at the author’s request. Educator contacts width members of the Senate Appropriations Committee could help ensure the bill is improved or killed.

CTA-opposed SB 1530, by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles), would erode the integrity of the teacher dismissal process.  The bill would, first of all, eliminate timelines for notice. In particular, it would allow employers to send out a notice to dismiss during the summer when many certificated personnel are not always available to respond or include other colleagues in support of their response to the notice.

It would also grant districts the discretion to submit old information about prior issues of misconduct as evidence related to current charges.  Current law prohibits both practices as patently unfair.

Finally, the bill would sharply change the role of the Committee on Professional Competence by eliminating teachers from the panel altogether and render the decision of the neutral administrative law judge as only advisory to the local governing board.  This significant slap against teacher protection for a fair hearing is CTA's most urgent concern.

The bill's supporters assert that eliminating teacher due process will make dismissal hearings both cost effective and efficient.

Overall this bill does not address the failures of leadership in Los Angeles Unified School District and does not hold administrators accountable to protect students by implementing current law.

The Senate Appropriations Committee put the bill on Monday, May 14 in its suspense or hold file.  CTA representatives report that Senator Alex Padilla has been true to his word and has met width them in efforts to create a fair, efficient and cost effective process to address misconduct - but not at the expense of due process for teachers.  Senator Padilla also agreed to have the Committee put his bill in its on “hold” while he continues talks width the Association.

There are, however, rumors that some proponents of SB 1530 want to push the bill in its currently flawed form out of the committee, ignoring any diligent effort to improve the proposal.

That's why continued contacts from educators to all members of Senate Appropriations on this measure are so important.  Their phone and fax numbers are listed below.

Senators are being encouraged to vote against SB 1530 (Padilla) unless the author amends the measure to meet CTA concerns.

Senate Appropriations Committee Members in Senate District order, phone then fax nos.:
Steinberg, Darrell

6

D

205

916 651 4006

916 323 2263

Alquist, Elaine

13

D

5080

916 651 4013

916 324 0283

Price, Curren

26

D

2057

916 651 4026

916 445 8899

Lieu, Ted

28

D

4090

916 651 4028

916 323 6056

Dutton, Bob

31

R

5097

916 651 4031

916 327 2272

Walters, Mimi (Vice-Chair)

33

R

3082

916 651 4033

916 445 9754

Kehoe, Christine (Chair)

39

D

5050

916 651 4039

916 327 2188

 

15 May 2012

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