At the urging of educators, the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday again defeated two measures that would have respectively undermined effective teacher evaluations and undercut educators’ right to a fair hearing on misconduct allegations. At the same time, despite educators’ objections, the panel approved an opposed measure that would privatize higher education online coursework.
All three bills were slated for “vote only” proceedings, but the author of one, Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), offered some amendments and testimony aimed at moving his CTA-opposed SB 441.
Continued objections by representatives of Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, CTA and other employee organizations led Senators to defeat the measure. That action came despite extraordinary efforts by StudentsFirst
– the so-called “education reform” group started by disgraced former Washington D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee – which brought dozens of witnesses to the Capitol in hopes of swaying lawmakers.
The defeat of SB 441, a flagship bill for StudentsFirst, is widely viewed as a rebuff to the organization, which has been reported to rely heavily on anti-union groups for funding. Recent news reports have uncovered the fact StudentsFirst has received millions of dollars from the Walton family, founders of the non-union WalMart superstore chain.
The panel also defeated SB 531,
by Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale). That bill would have rolled back due-process protections for certificated faculty and eliminated the May 15 deadline for layoff notifications related to reductions in force. The bill would also have let school boards ignore the rulings of impartial panels reviewing their personnel actions.
The panel’s approval of SB 520
, the CTA-opposed higher education measure by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), sends the online privatization measure to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Educators will seek to defeat the bill there.
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