Dems Kill More Good Republican Legislation Under Pressure from Most Powerful CA Union

AP PhotoJuliet Williams
AP PhotoJuliet Williams

California’s powerful Teacher’s union is relentlessly assaulting efforts to support student rights, going hard after a judicial ruling against teacher employment laws and a Republican bill package that would have returned quality discernment to teacher layoffs and tackled troubled tenure issues.

Judge Rolf Treu overturned California rules that allow teacher tenure and seniority to trump quality, reported the Sacramento Bee. In the Vergara v. California decision, Treu wrote that documentation of subpar teachers in California public schools “shocks the conscience.” He continued, “There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently in California classrooms.”

That evidence has not slowed the fervor of the California Teacher’s Association (CTA), the state’s largest public school teachers union. California’s Fair Political Practices Commission released a report in March 2010 that ranked the union number one in financial influence of California voters and lobby public officials, spending a whopping $211 billion over ten years.

CTA representatives were among those testifying against the package of Republican bills Wednesday.

Assembly Bill 1044 would have stopped teacher layoffs from relying solely on a last-in, first-out or seniority basis. Assemblywoman Catherine Baker (R-Dublin), who introduced the bill, said in Wednesday’s hearing that basing layoffs on seniority alone, “constrains local school districts from making decisions that are in the best interest of students and fair to teachers.”

Assembly Bill 1248 would extend the requirement for teachers’ permanent status from two to three years and would require a teacher to lose that permanent status under specified conditions.

Assembly Bill 1078, authored by Assembly minority Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Riverbank), would change the rules for teacher evaluations, increasing the breadth and regularity to ensure quality teacher performance.

With the pressure of the CTA came the tabling of the Republican quality teacher bill package, some to dreaded “interim study” status, effectively sidetracking the legislation.

Olsen’s AB 1099 faced a more promising future. If the bill can continue to overcome the pressure of the CTA, the Bee reported, it would force school districts to provide more data on how teachers and principles are evaluated and how the state’s new school funding formula is being implemented.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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