Tuesday, May 24, 2016


By Michael Stratford | in the Politco Morning Education Report | via email

05/24/2016 10:00 AM EDT  ::  Two national education groups are backing a California bill meant to improve the state's layoff, tenure and dismissal processes.   (emphasis aided)

The bill, AB-934 [http://bit.ly/1TzKDty], was introduced earlier this year.

Support for it comes after education reformers suffered a setback in April when a California appeals court overturned [ http://politico.pro/1SESJgT] a lower court's ruling in Vergara v. California, which had struck down as unconstitutional five state laws governing the hiring and firing of teachers. That loss, which plaintiffs are appealing, prompted reformers to call on the state legislature to deliver a fix.

"What the Vergara case did is put the issue on my radar," Democratic Assembly member Susan Bonilla, who introduced the bill, told Morning Education. "We don't have to wait for our hand to be forced by a judge. ... To wait is to lose another year in a child's life."

Bonilla's bill is expected to be heard by the state Senate education committee next month.

It's opposed by the California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association - both defendants in the Vergara lawsuit.

Teach Plus and Students Matter (the lead plaintiff/funder of Vergara v. CA) officially endorsed the legislation Monday after Bonilla changed a couple of its provisions. Bonilla said the changes were made after consulting with groups like Teach Plus, superintendents and other educators across the state. For example, the bill would allow teachers to achieve tenure after three years of strong performance, with the possibility of earning tenure after a fourth year of stellar work. A previous version would've made teachers eligible for tenure after two years.

"AB 934 goes far in making tenure a true, earned professional benchmark , which is something that all educators value," said Jennifer Walker, 2015 Sacramento County Teacher of the Year, in a statement released by Teach Plus. "This legislation will ensure that we hold ourselves more accountable and that we continue to hone our practice, push ourselves and foster one another in the same way we do our students."

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