By Len Feldman
After a barrage of e-mails, letters and phone calls from CTA members, the Assembly Appropriations Committee voted overwhelmingly to defeat a CTA-opposed measure that would have deprived students in decile 1-3 schools of their most experienced educators and undermined teacher seniority rights. CTA-opposed SB 1285/SB 691 (Steinberg) received only three votes from the 17-member panel, with nine votes needed for passage.
The bill would have tied the hands of local decision makers in determining the best layoff procedures to meet the needs of students and schools in the district. It would have also prohibited districts from laying off more teachers at decile 1-3 schools than the average proportion in the district. And it would have required school districts to keep less experienced teachers and lay off more experienced teachers regardless of performance.
CTA members stressed to lawmakers that there was no data to support the assumption that this rigid formula would improve instruction. However, a great deal of data shows that students perform better with more experienced teachers. The unintended consequence of the measure would certainly have been that teachers with less than five years experience would have comprised the staff of these high-priority schools.
SB 1285/SB 691 would have established an unproven procedure that would have eliminated local control and aggravated the destabilizing and traumatic impacts of teacher layoffs on schools and students.
The overwhelming defeat of the measure demonstrates the power of educators who know firsthand how this bill would hurt the students that need help the most.
Here's how the committee voted
Voting for the bill and against CTA's "Oppose" position:
Assembly Members Charles Calderon, Joe Coto, and Mike Davis.
Voting against the bill and in alignment with CTA's position:
Assembly Appropriations Chair Felipe Fuentes,Vice Chair Connie Conway, and Assembly Members Jeff Miller, Nancy Skinner, and Tom Torlakson.
Assembly Members Mike Gatto, Isadore Hall III, Jose Solorio, Kevin de Leon, Chris Norby, Jim Nielsen, Steven Bradford, and Diane L. Harkey. Assembly Member Alberto Torrico was not in the room during the vote. Their abstentions or absences had the same effect as voting against the measure.