Future Educators Join Efforts to Kill Bad Bill
CTA and Student CTA activism helped kill Assembly Bill 1220 by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) in July. The bill would have lengthened the probationary period for educators from two to three years.
Probationary teachers, paid less than teachers with due process protections, are at-will employees who can be dismissed without citing cause at any time. In addition to the hardship that extended probation would have caused new educators, it has a significant impact on students. Additionally, AB 1220 would have discouraged many prospective and aspiring educators from entering the profession at a time when California faces a severe teacher shortage.
“Due process is very important — how can you improve as a new educator if you’re not told where there is room for growth?” — Student CTA President Miyuki Manzanedo
Among other efforts, the 14-member Student CTA board rallied colleagues to post their opposition to AB 1220 on social media and spread the word with strategic tagging. SCTA President Miyuki Manzanedo joined a CTA lobbying team in Sacramento in June, meeting various legislators and their staff.
Manzanedo says she made her point at every single meeting, reminding legislators of AB 1220’s impact on the teacher shortage: “As it is, aspiring educators have to take all these assessments and pay all this money to get their credential and become an educator. Finishing your third year of teaching and being let go without any explanation would be very disheartening. Due process is very important — how can you improve as a new educator if you’re not told where there is room for growth?”
AB 1220 was withdrawn from consideration by Weber. “I’m glad that the community and legislators understood that the bill would hobble the profession,” Manzanedo says.
Transparency and Accountability in Privately Run Charter Schools
- AB 276 by Assembly Member Jose Medina (D-Riverside) clarifies that charter schools and charter management organizations must comply with the Brown Act and other transparency laws.
- AB 1871 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) requires that all low-income charter school students have access to at least one free or low-cost meal each school day.
At press time, both of these CTA-co-sponsored bills had been referred to the Senate Appropriations suspense file. We hope they will be brought onto the Senate floor for a vote.
State Budget Delivers Historic $9 Billion Surplus, Funding for Neighborhood Public Schools
Prop. 98 guarantees a minimum level of funding to be spent on K-14 education. The amount is determined by a formula that depends on student enrollment and such factors as growth in per capita personal income and state General Fund revenues.
CTA President Eric Heins praises the adoption of the 2018-19 state budget, which he says makes good on a long-standing commitment to California’s students.
“We must do everything possible to attract the most qualified to our profession, and then support and retain them as they begin their career.” — CTA President Eric Heins
“With this budget, the state is looking at a $9 billion surplus by the end of the fiscal year, fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula two years ahead of schedule, with millions more in funding for higher education and much-needed funding for health and human services, which begins to address the homelessness crisis impacting our students and our communities. Also significant is the certification of the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee and the continuous appropriation of the LCFF, including cost-of-living adjustment. This ensures certainty for educators and students in future years.”
The budget includes one-time funding for much-needed beginning teacher induction during the state’s critical teacher shortage, including $75 million for a Teacher Residency Grant Program.
“We must do everything possible to attract the most qualified to our profession, and then support and retain them as they begin their career,” says Heins. He also notes the increases in funding for special education, school safety, the state preschool program, and child care and health care for low-income families.
Heins credits Gov. Jerry Brown for his leadership in helping pass Propositions 30 in 2012 and 55 in 2016, which laid the groundwork for the increased revenues leading to today’s surplus. He notes that even with these increases, however, California ranks 44th in the nation in per-pupil funding.
“It’s clear we still have more work to do to increase per-pupil funding, but we are now moving in the right direction.”
On June 27, in addition to signing off on the state budget, Brown signed SB 866, a trailer bill prohibiting government agencies such as school districts from publicly disclosing information about the site and time of new employee orientations. It also mandates that unions, not employers, collect forms workers use to join a union or cancel their membership, and that employers respect union preferences in collecting dues. Other language requires employers to meet and confer with unions about sending out mass communications to workers about their right to join or not join a union.
The Legislature will recess in September. The swearing in of new legislators takes place in December, and the session resumes in January.