California Educator

JUNE 2010

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CTA opposes Steinberg “favoritism” measure C TA is working to defeat a new, unnec- essary measure by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacra- mento) that would change how teachers are assigned, laid off and rehired. The CTA-opposed SB 1285 is similar to an earlier CTA-opposed bill, SB 955 by Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar). Like the Huff bill, SB 1285 would both undermine teachers’ protection against discrimina- tion and unfair treatment and would let districts move experienced teachers out of lower-performing s chools, w hich would be detrimental to improving stu- dent learning. Because Sen. Steinberg “g utted and amended” a bill on an unrelated subject that had already made it to the Assembly, SB 1285 has avoided vetting and scrutiny by t he S enate E ducation Committee. Steinberg’s parliamentary maneuver to circumvent Senate review leaves it up to the Assembly to review and debate. The measure ignores the real source of the problems in schools throughout the state — budget c uts that have reduced school funding by as much as 18 percent and more than $17 billion over the past two years. These cuts come at a time when even research commissioned by the gover- nor’s office shows that California schools need 40 percent more funding to ensure all students reach the state’s rigorous academ- ic standards. The current educator layoffs reflect the state’s funding cutbacks and decisions to increase class sizes dramatically to cope with these funding shortfalls. Contradicting his own stated goals of the bill and contrary to all research about the importance of teacher experience, Sen. Steinberg is proposing to allow districts to skip over more experienced teachers at schools in the lowest three deciles in order to retain teachers with less than five years of experience. Research shows that teacher effective- ness increases dramatically as a teacher gains experience, but the Steinberg mea- sure would require districts to keep less ex- perienced educators at the lower-decile schools, where students desperately need the benefit of the skills that come with ex- perience. Experts also point out that SB 1285 is unnecessary, as current law gives school districts flexibility in skipping over less se- nior teachers during layoffs to maintain or achieve compliance with constitutional equal protection requirements. The Stein- berg measure would allow districts to re- hire laid-off teachers out of seniority order, undermining teacher rights without add- ing any civil protections for students. The bill’s efforts to “level” experience at all school sites will in reality cause insta- bility and unnecessary teacher transfers. Administrators will be forced to follow es- sentially a mathematical formula, instead of making decisions based on the best fit for the needs of the students. CTA members have been urging Sen. Steinberg and other lawmakers to focus their attention first on passing a budget that protects education funding, rather than looking for ways to blame teachers. LEN FELDMAN ☛ Notice of CalSTRS changes July 1, 2010 To comply with new IRS rules, beginning July 1, 2010, a CalSTRS member who retires under the age of 60 must have a six-month break prior to returning to work in CalSTRS- eligible service. Those who return to work for any employer performing CalSTRS- creditable service during that six-month period will be penalized with a dollar-for- dollar offset to their benefit. For questions, call CalSTRS at (800) 228-5453. 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 JUNE 2010 | 2009 33 31

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