FLOOR ALERT! LA COMADRE URGES YOU TO VOTE NO ON AB 221

La Comadre is a network and media platform for Latina women throughout California. Our platform reaches approximately 1,000,000 readers per month and we are growing daily. We believe that a high-quality public education is a right for ALL children and is the key to ending generational poverty and social injustices in our communities. Every child should have access to a high-quality school and teachers. AB 221 undermines the teacher recruitment process by making it harder to find qualified teachers and substitutes for kids in “hard to staff” schools, many of which have been failing for generations. We know Latino and African American children are disproportionately represented in these schools.

AB 221 intends to prohibit all school districts and county offices of education from securing outside assistance to interview and hire teachers to fill any vacancies, including in some of the most difficult to staff schools. AB 221 also prohibits a local educational agency, LEA, from contracting with a third party provider for teacher services unless the teacher commits to teaching for five years is employed in a non-Title I school, or if the district pays the third party provider any fee associated with interviewing or hiring a teacher. This is a barrier to hiring teachers where they are needed most.

AB 221 also puts our most vulnerable students in jeopardy of not having highly qualified teachers. Thousands of Latino and African American special education students would be directly impacted by this bill. Historically, special education teachers and special education services providers are the hardest to staff in our schools and this bill will amplify this problem. The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), mandates districts provide a free and appropriate education to every identified student in our school system. Our students are already suffering from not having enough highly qualified and caring teachers. We need to do more to help recruit teachers to these high-needs schools and students, not less.

California has one of the largest opportunity gaps in the country, ignoring and systematically undermining the success of over 3 million Latino students. For too long, elected officials have been unwilling to take a stand to eradicate these terrible outcomes for Latino children. As Latina women, many of us who are educators, we can no longer be a silent majority in the face of continued educational injustice, inequality and inequity. Bills like AB 221 hurt our kids and our communities the most. They have a direct impact on perpetuating the school to prison pipeline, generational underperforming schools and the persistence of an opportunity gap.

As a network of advocates dedicated to increasing academic outcomes for students of color in California, La Comadre asks that you oppose AB 221 on the Assembly Floor.

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We are Moms, Tias, Ninas and Play-Tias who love children in our lives and we want to help every child succeed in school. Navigating schools and education—from preschool to college—is hard. We want to help each other with this. We are all in this together with you. We want to be a resource for you and for all of the children you love. Whether you need some info or you have info to share, you know where to go…LA Comadre.

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