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.

The initiative, which proponents have just submitted to the Attorney General’s office for title and summary, would even go so far as to require the State Board of Equalization to recover “all payments paid to and on behalf of the school employees” while they were awaiting their opportunity to defend themselves, including district contributions to the State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

The measure would also deprive educators of retirement service and compensation credit for the months prior to adjudication of their case.

While the measure is badly drafted and confusing, its intent is clear: to eliminate the basic protections that guarantee public school certificated employees a fair hearing.

The legislature defeated similar proposals that were incorporated into a 2012 bill proposed by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima),  SB 1530, but the initiative also includes other provisions that would allow districts to continually modify and add to charges against an employee, while providing the accused’s counsel no more time to research and respond to the ever-longer laundry list of accusations.

No one cares more about protecting children than parents and teachers – but this new initiative is not really about that.  It’s a follow-on of other anti-union proposals designed to undermine the rights of working women and men.

To learn more, read the actual text of the initiative that was submitted to the Attorney General's office by a Sacramento law firm at the behest of proponent Ashlee Titus.

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