Please watch the tutorial on how a bill becomes a law before you continue reading.
The video refers to a bill in Washington D.C., but the process is similar in State capitals.
Come now before us, AB 934 (Assembly Bill 934) by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (the author/writer of the bill). The bill was a proposal to extend the probationary time period to 3 years for teachers (new teachers of course). Currently, it is a 2-year probation period, and it appears that it will remain 2 years.
As you know, from watching the video on how a bill becomes a law, the bill has to be studied and discussed in the committee (that’s referred to as a hearing). In this case, because it is a bill that would amend the California Constitution, Education Code, it was in the Senate Education Committee. This is where the bill met its demise. A vote of 5–2 killed this bill.
Currently, the members of the Education Committee are: Senator Carol Liu (Chair), Senator Marty Block (Vice Chair), Senator Loni Hancock, Senator Bob Huff, Senator Connie Leyva, Senator Tony Mendoza, Senator Bill Monning, Senator Richard Pan and Senator Andy Vidak. Seven Democrats and two Republicans.
The agenda for 06/29/2016 included bill AB 934, the hearing on the bill can be viewed here. Basically, the bill was voted down 5-2 with 2 members abstaining. The summary of the bill is as follows: “This bill extends the existing probationary period for certificated employees from two years to three years while requiring school districts to provide mentoring and coaching for teachers in their third year of probation. This bill also authorizes school districts to negotiate an alternative teacher dismissal process. Finally, this bill provides additional requirements regarding the evaluation and training of school principals.”
The question I and many parents have, is why would we not want to have better accountability for teachers. In fact, a relatively easy fix such as this proposal would go a long way in addressing excellence in education and providing students with quality education. Lengthening the tenure track would increase our ability to train and retain the type of quality educators our kids so desperately need.
I recently posted a blog here called “Bad Apples” exposing the notorious LAUSD “Rubber Room” or “teacher jail” due to the inability of the district to really outright fire certificated staff. Teachers and other certificated employed are tied to a contract which prohibits firing teachers. It is a process, not an event. That process can take years sometimes. It seems clear that the legislature does not want to do much to provide a remedy for this problem. So, who would oppose this bill?
*California Federation of Teachers (CFT) *California Teachers Association (CTA) *Service Employees International Union (SEIU) *Teach Plus
All I can tell you is that the majority of committee members were all supported by at least one of these organizations.
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