CSBA seeks veto of bill to hamper teacher dismissals
AB 375 ‘bad for schools’; CSBA supports AB 484’s test suspension
Two of the most significant and hotly contested education bills debated during the last days of the legislative session were Assembly Bill 375—which CSBA strongly opposes—and AB 484, which we support. Both were awaiting the governor’s decision at press time.
AB 375: CSBA adamantly opposes this measure by Assembly Member Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, which attempts to change the process required to dismiss teachers. The measure sets time limits for commencing and completing the process for teacher dismissals while also adding procedural steps that defense counsel could use to delay the process.
Some of the biggest problems with AB 375 are the limits it places on depositions and amendment of charges. In the event of an act of misconduct, school districts and county offices of education could only depose five witnesses, even when there are multiple witnesses or victims. The bill also limits the ability of a local educational agency to gather and use all available evidence to prove its case.
AB 375 “is not a balanced reform,” Assistant Executive Director for Governmental Relations Dennis Meyers wrote on the CSBA blog. “We believe LEAs may be forced to re-file … charges, and possibly ask children to re-live abuse in testimony, settle, or return the teacher to the classroom. All three outcomes are bad for schools.” A CSBA Action Alert asks school board members to send letters to the governor and local newspapers calling for the veto of AB 375.
AB 484: CSBA supports AB 484 by Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, which would suspend the California Standards Tests for the 2013-14 school year so that districts and teachers have time to implement the newly adopted Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English-language arts and to prepare for the upcoming Smarter Balanced assessments that are aligned to those standards.
This measure would also direct the state superintendent of public instruction to develop a plan for implementation of other assessments that are not tied to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, such as history-social science, technology and visual performing arts, while also preserving alternative performance assessments until new Common Core-based assessments are available. AB 484 ensures that California’s schools can spend the next year focusing on teaching and learning the new content standards and have adequate time to test and resolve problems with the Smarter Balanced assessments, and that students will not be over-tested during the transition.
Bills enrolled to the governor for signature or veto
After taking positions on nearly 100 bills during the legislative session, CSBA is seeking just three vetoes. Another 24 bills are on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk with CSBA’s support. He has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto all enrolled bills. The following table shows the status at press time of the 27 bills with active CSBA positions that made it through the legislative process. More detailed information on these and other bills is available at www.csba.org/Advocacy/CSBAPositions.