California’s teacher tenure bill falls short in first legislative vote

California’s teacher tenure bill falls short in first legislative vote

A California bill designed to change how schools in the state retain and fire teachers fell short in its first legislative vote on Wednesday.

The Golden State’s powerful teachers unions and the education overhaul groups have long been in conflict over teacher tenure and layoff policies. Despite being a perpetual source of conflict at the Calif. Capitol, teacher tenure and layoff policies have little ever changed.

The latest attempt was made by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, a former teacher. The Concord Democrat’s AB 934 originally sought to provide school administrators with more time to evaluate struggling teachers before providing them with full job protections as well as to create an expedited process to dismiss inefficient teachers.

In addition, the measure sought to introduce the consideration of job evaluations into the state’s controversial seniority-based layoffs policy.

Two Democrats, viz. Sen. Loni Hancock and Sen. Carol Liu, on the committee urged their other members to approve the bill anyway to keep both sides involved in the negotiations.

Sen. Hancock, a Democrat from Berkeley, said, “We have never had anything other than a banal, stereotypical confrontation on this issue. We’re essentially dooming ourselves to every few years having this same process happen.”

But, EdVoice President Bill Lucia and other opponents continued to oppose the measure, arguing that it wasn’t ‘fully baked’ and ready to resolve the conflict. A legal battle over the issue is already in the court, and it may be headed next to the state’s Supreme Court.