Union backs watered-down bill streamlining teacher firing process

Apr 2, 2013 by

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Officials with the California Teachers Association can obviously read the writing on the wall.

They realize lawmakers and taxpayers are intent on protecting students from abusive educators, and they understand that further resistance is futile. That’s likely why CTA officials recently pledged support for the least restrictive of several bills in the state legislature to address the expensive and time consuming process of firing teachers accused of serious offenses against students.

Last year, state Sen. Alex Padilla sponsored a bill to make it easier to fire teachers accused of sex, drug, or violent crimes against students by shortening the termination process and giving the final decision to school officials. Teachers union lobbyists effectively killed his bill in committee, but Padilla reintroduced it this year.

Now Padilla is folding on his proposal and putting his support behind a watered down version of his bill designed by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, one of several lawmakers who voted down Padilla’s legislation last year, the Associated Press reports.

The game-changer was the CTA’s support for Buchanan’s bill – AB375. The legislation would reportedly streamline the dismissal process for teachers accused of certain offences, but retains the current panel – comprised of teachers and a judge – to make the final decision, the news service reports.

“Is it exactly the same? No,” Padilla said of Buchanan’s bill. “It achieved pretty much the core things I was trying to do.”

Padilla’s and Buchanan’s bills have some elements in common. Both would allow evidence that’s more than four years old to be used in the dismissal process, and would limit the appeal and discovery processes.

AB375 would also “remove current exemptions regarding who can be placed on leave, allowing teachers who are charged with homicide or certain drug offenses to be placed on leave,” the AP reports.

“An accompanying measure, AB1338, would require all school districts to have a policy on child abuse reporting and to review that policy with employees each year.”

Padilla told the AP he’s dropping his legislation to back Buchanan’s bill, presumably because it has the support of the CTA, as well as an apprehensive nod from the California Federation of Teachers, the state’s other large teachers union.

CFT President Joshua Pechthalt told the AP his union is “generally in agreement” with AB375.

State Republicans, meanwhile, are pursuing their own legislation to shorten the dismissal process and prevent an employee’s record from being expunged.

via Union backs watered-down bill streamlining teacher firing process – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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