California Educator

APRIL 2010

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CTA-opposed measure would gut teachers’ rights G ov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) are attacking public educat ion and teacher rights in a new bill that will make it harder to keep quality teachers in local classrooms. Senate Bi l l 955 would gut teachers’ due process rights and protections against discrimination and unfair evaluation. Like the gover- nor’s anti-union initiatives that voters soundly defeated in 2005, the Huff bill would not save local school districts any money and does nothing to improve student learning. Instead of focusing on the real prob- lems facing our schools, such as larger class sizes and cuts to student pro- grams, the bill simply blames teachers. It undermines teacher experience in the classroom, eliminates educators’ right to a hearing before being laid off, Experts Continued from page 15 What students learn has a sense of history, meaning and purpose. Everyone — including principals, teachers, parents and kids — feels a sense of enthusiasm and joy in learning and achievement.” Richard Rothstein, author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right, believes good schools produce well-rounded students. “In good schools, students are not only expected to master math and reading. In good schools there are other subjects like science, history, art and music appreciation so students have the ability to be creative and express themselves. Good schools teach good citizenship, social responsibility and work skills.” Historically most schools have taught these subjects, but today there is a narrowing of curriculum and many schools are only teaching core subjects due to NCLB. It is tragic, says Rothstein, to have enrichment no longer offered in schools that serve mostly low-income students. “There will be consequences if we continue on this path,” says Rothstein, a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute who lectures about education policy issues. “When we eliminate or reduce the efforts of schools to promote good citizenship, create social skills and develop conflict resolution skills, we diminish culture in our students and do tremendous harm to society.” authorizes districts to ignore experi- ence when rehiring laid-off teachers, and reinstitutes a system of favoritism and discrimination. • • • • • • • • If approved, SB 955 would: Change the deadline to notify a second-year probationary teacher of non-re-election from March 15 to June 15. Allow districts to hold dismissal hearings between May 15 and Sept. 15, when teacher witnesses are often not available. Eliminate the March 15 RIF (reduction in force) notice to teachers and eliminate their right to request a hearing. Ignore teacher experience in the classroom when making layoff and rehiring decisions, and create a system based on performance evaluations, which many districts have not conducted for years. Allow district officials to fire employees for any reason, including for speaking out on student safety and employment issues. Give principals the power to discriminate against older teachers, setting back hard-won protections against age discrimination. Authorize school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to assign, reassign, and transfer teachers and administrators based on effectiveness and subject matter needs, and without regard to years of service. Scapegoat teachers during bad economic times. As California Educator went to press, SB 955 was headed for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee. LEN FELDMAN You are 1 degree of separation from changing your world. Which 1 will it be? 76 degrees of distinction – delivered 100% online, including: Administration and Supervision Guidance and Counseling Teaching – Instructional Leadership Teaching – Reading and Literacy Teaching – Special Education Humanities Let us help you get started today. 1.877.777.9081 • Respected. Affordable. Online. SEPTEMBER 2010 | 2009 33 APRIL 31

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