Credit: California Assembly Republican Caucus

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen discusses the education bills that she and other Republican legislators assembled with her during a Sacramento press conference in March.

Assembly Republicans announced bills Wednesday that would change state laws that establish teacher tenure and a layoff system based on seniority – two employment protections for teachers that a California Superior Court judge threw out in his sweeping Vergara v. the State of California ruling last year. (Updated with correction below).

The legislation was among a suite of bills that the 28-member Republican caucus announced. Included is a bill to strengthen the law on teacher evaluations, which hasn’t been changed in four decades, and one to eliminate a cap on school district budget reserves that has angered school education groups. Another bill requires school districts to provide more details on spending in their annual budget accountability plans, the Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) that the State Board of Education requires. Civil rights groups also have called for more budget transparency.

As defendants in the lawsuit brought by the nonprofit Students Matter on behalf of nine students, the state and California’s two teachers unions have filed an appeal of Judge Rolf Treu’s Vergara decision. Treu ruled that five employment laws violated the rights of poor and minority children, saddling them with the state’s worst-performing teachers. An appeals court ruling probably won’t happen until 2016 at the earliest. Democrats, who control the Legislature, at this point are watching the appeals process play out before deciding whether to change laws.

Republicans, however, said there is no reason for delay.

“We have seen throughout history that cases can take years to resolve in courts,” Kristin Olsen, Assembly Republican leader, said in an interview. “Systemic problems have been failing kids for years. We need to take action now and hope Democrats will become partners.”

Assembly Bill 1248, introduced by Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, would extend the probationary period from two years to three before awarding tenure, which grants legal protections to new teachers. In addition, a teacher would need positive evaluations in each of those years in order to be considered for tenure. A teacher deemed to be ineffective in two consecutive annual evaluations would lose tenure status and once again be placed under probation.** Chavez’s bill presumes there would be other changes to the current teacher evaluation law, which are specified in AB 1078.

AB 1078, by Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, would update the 40-year-old law on teacher evaluations, the Stull Act, parts of which, Olsen noted, “school districts have largely ignored.” The Stull Act requires evaluations every other year for most tenured teachers and every five years for teachers with 10 or more years of experience. It’s currently a pass-fail system, with teachers branded either effective or ineffective.

Olsen’s bill requires annual evaluations for all teachers and introduces four evaluation categories focused on improvement: highly effective, effective, minimally effective and ineffective. It requires the State Board of Education to update the guidelines for teacher evaluations under the Stull Act by July 1, 2016 and encourage districts to include student surveys and peer evaluations as part of the process.

The Stull Act requires that student performance, including scores on state standardized tests, be a component of a teacher’s evaluation. However, teachers unions have opposed linking test scores to an evaluation, and, according to Olsen, most districts don’t comply with the law. In 2012, in response to a lawsuit brought by the nonprofit advocacy group EdVoice, a Superior Court judge ordered Los Angeles Unified to include measures of student performance in evaluations, although the decision applied only to that district.

AB 1078 also addresses the issue of compliance with the Stull Act. It would prevent the state board from granting any waiver from the Education Code to a district that fails to use test scores and other measures of student performance. Districts often seek waivers of various sorts from the board.

Olsen said this year’s version is “more modest” than her previous bills on teacher evaluations, which never made it out of the Assembly Education Committee. Compared with previous bills, AB 1078 gives districts more discretion in determining elements of an evaluation, and it does not specify what percentage of an evaluation test scores and other student performance measures must comprise, she said.

AB 1044, by first-term Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, would repeal the “last-in-first-out” statute that requires all teacher layoffs to be based on seniority. Districts would negotiate new criteria with their teachers unions. Seniority could still be one factor, but the bill would require that a “significant” component be based on a teacher’s “evaluation rating.” Districts could make exceptions for special cases, such as teachers in high-need subjects or with special training; the current law already permits this.

AB 1226, by Chavez and Assemblyman Eric Linder of Corona, would require school districts to describe their plans for teacher training, including setting specific goals and committing money for them, as part of their LCAPs that they update annually. State law has set eight priorities that districts must account for in their LCAPs; professional development would become the ninth. If they persuade Democrats to vote for the bill, Chavez and Linder still face a possible veto from Gov. Jerry Brown, who has opposed any changes so far to the LCAP law.

AB 1099, also by Olsen, would likely also be opposed by Brown if the bill reaches his desk. It would require LCAPs to include a detailed accounting of all district expenses as well as spending at the school level, along with a breakdown of extra money allotted under the new spending formula to low-income students, children learning English and foster children. The state board resisted doing what Olsen calls for when creating regulations for LCAPs last year, saying that it wanted to give districts latitude in spending.

Olsen said her bill is consistent with Brown’s position that spending under the new formula should be transparent for parents and the community. She agrees with the governor that school boards need flexibility to determine how the money will be used.

The bill also requires districts to publish an explanation of how they evaluate teachers and principals and list the aggregate number of teachers receiving satisfactory and unsatisfactory evaluations, by school.

As part of the state budget, legislators last year passed a limit on how much money districts could put aside for potential fiscal emergencies. The cap limits districts’ reserves to between 3 percent for Los Angeles Unified and 10 percent for tiny districts in the year after the state put any amount of money into a newly established education rainy day fund. Although the Legislative Analyst’s Office says that would occur infrequently, the California School Boards Association said the cap would jeopardize districts’ financial stability and violated the principle of local control over spending decisions. AB 1048, authored by Baker and Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach, would repeal the cap. Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, has introduced a similar bill, Senate Bill 774.

**Correction: An earlier version state incorrectly that a teacher identified as ineffective in two consecutive evaluations would be dismissed. That teacher would be placed under probation, without tenure protections.


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  1. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    New USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll shows voters overwhelmingly reject seniority-based layoffs.

  2. el 1 year ago1 year ago

    I think all these proposals are a waste of time and completely missing what could be done of value. This one: Assembly Bill 1248, introduced by Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, would extend the probationary period from two years to three before awarding tenure, which grants legal protections to new teachers. In addition, a teacher would need positive evaluations in each of those years in order to be considered for tenure. A teacher deemed to be ineffective in … Read More

    I think all these proposals are a waste of time and completely missing what could be done of value.

    This one:

    Assembly Bill 1248, introduced by Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, would extend the probationary period from two years to three before awarding tenure, which grants legal protections to new teachers. In addition, a teacher would need positive evaluations in each of those years in order to be considered for tenure. A teacher deemed to be ineffective in two consecutive annual evaluations would lose tenure status and once again be placed under probation.**

    Makes it possible, even likely, that a teacher not thought to be effective would be kept on without protections for several years. The current system encourages principals to show ineffective teachers the door before the second year is up.

    This one:

    AB 1044, by first-term Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, would repeal the “last-in-first-out” statute that requires all teacher layoffs to be based on seniority.

    Makes layoffs more painful, more time-consuming, and more disruptive for a district at a difficult time, and does nothing to solve the problems of alleged poor teachers in districts that are not laying off due to budgetary disruption.

    I’m still looking for the conversation where we all really understand what the current process is for dismissing a teacher with tenure, and better understand where it works well and where it has not worked well. What needs to change about the rules and statutes in order to make the process more fair to all parties, and usable? What I see now is that most dismissal processes seem to end in a voluntary resignation or retirement, and that some districts have had a lot more trouble than others in using any process to address problem staffers. How much of this is related to the fact that administrators are stretched very thin and are given other priorities?

    Replies

    • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

      el, thank you for pointing out that it is mostly grand-standing as no one seems to pay attention to what actually happens at schools. Indeed, supervising teachers is not a simple task when principals are responsible for the jobs of several people. And why is that? Because school budgets have been cut to the bone with the principals left holding the bag. Sure, there are bad teachers and everyone knows who they are but it is much … Read More

      el, thank you for pointing out that it is mostly grand-standing as no one seems to pay attention to what actually happens at schools.

      Indeed, supervising teachers is not a simple task when principals are responsible for the jobs of several people. And why is that? Because school budgets have been cut to the bone with the principals left holding the bag.

      Sure, there are bad teachers and everyone knows who they are but it is much easier to let inertia take over or, when things are really bad, “counsel” them into quitting or retiring early. This is never addressed by the Legislature which is interested in getting brownie points for the next election and/or next “job” after being termed out.

      Simultaneously, idiots out there keep asking unions to do what they are not legally allowed to do. Has it ever occurred to these idiots that no teacher wants to pick up the pieces after a kid has gone through a bad teacher’s classroom? Of course not. Unfortunately, allowing teachers to have a significant say on getting rid of other teachers will inexorably leads to a “Lord of the Flies” scenario. People are people and checks and balances are needed.

      Meanwhile, the problems continue to fester and the hand-wringing goes on and on.

    • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

      "I think all these proposals are a waste of time and completely missing what could be done of value" I don't know if all of these proposals are a waste of time, but I will concede that most of them certainly are IMHO. "Makes it possible, even likely, that a teacher not thought to be effective would be kept on without protections for several years." Judge Treu already addressed this problem in his ruling. He claimed … Read More

      “I think all these proposals are a waste of time and completely missing what could be done of value”

      I don’t know if all of these proposals are a waste of time, but I will concede that most of them certainly are IMHO.

      “Makes it possible, even likely, that a teacher not thought to be effective would be kept on without protections for several years.”

      Judge Treu already addressed this problem in his ruling. He claimed that it wasn’t fair not to give less-than-effective teachers more time to prove themselves. Since, as he argues, there are too many ineffective teachers out there, we should increase the Permanent Employment Statute to 3-5 years; thus, we should give those ineffective newbies more time to “develop their competence.” Hmm. It is interesting and ironic how that word “fair” seems to pop up and make things difficult for kids at one point and difficult for teachers the next within the same context.

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        How can one argue that seniority or length of experience should be the sole basis for layoffs and then claim we shouldn't give new teachers more time to gain that experience when the 18-month tenure process in California is the shortest in the nation? Isn't it worth giving new teachers more time to develop their craft? We all agree it's a hard job and there's no replacement for on-the-job experience. El, if you think all … Read More

        How can one argue that seniority or length of experience should be the sole basis for layoffs and then claim we shouldn’t give new teachers more time to gain that experience when the 18-month tenure process in California is the shortest in the nation? Isn’t it worth giving new teachers more time to develop their craft? We all agree it’s a hard job and there’s no replacement for on-the-job experience.

        El, if you think all these proposals are a waste of time then please explain why districts and schools shouldn’t have to give a detailed accounting of expenses in the LCAP.

        • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

          "How can one argue that seniority or length of experience should be the sole basis for layoffs and then claim we shouldn’t give new teachers more time to gain that experience when the 18-month tenure process in California is the shortest in the nation?" Who is arguing that? Currently, in CA, there are other factors besides seniority that must be considered when addressing the layoff issue. In Treu's judgment he kinda cushions that with "or one … Read More

          “How can one argue that seniority or length of experience should be the sole basis for layoffs and then claim we shouldn’t give new teachers more time to gain that experience when the 18-month tenure process in California is the shortest in the nation?”

          Who is arguing that? Currently, in CA, there are other factors besides seniority that must be considered when addressing the layoff issue. In Treu’s judgment he kinda cushions that with “or one that must be considered” for CA. It was a little sloppy of him but he does kinda address it. Hmm. Additionally, I do not think el or myself would argue that, so was that just a question in general for those who do?

          BTW: “Highly qualified” is also a factor and so is specialized or multiple credentials. There were multiple teachers who I personally witnessed who had the seniority but not the credential so they were let go in favor of someone who had less than five years experience.

  3. Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

    Many are aware that a conservative judge recently put a stop to President Obama's executive directives to change some conditions for deporting undocumented immigrants. Now the judge may have been wrong headed, but at least in his efforts to link his ruling to law, precedent, and the Constitution he went on for 800 some pages to develop a rationale. That seems a legitimate and professional effort. The judge in the Vergara case on the other hand, … Read More

    Many are aware that a conservative judge recently put a stop to President Obama’s executive directives to change some conditions for deporting undocumented immigrants. Now the judge may have been wrong headed, but at least in his efforts to link his ruling to law, precedent, and the Constitution he went on for 800 some pages to develop a rationale. That seems a legitimate and professional effort.

    The judge in the Vergara case on the other hand, dealing with issues of law, precedent, and the CA Constitution on statutes related to teachers went on for 16 pages. A rationale for his ruling? A legitimate and professional effort?

    Could it be that Republicans, in yet another effort at implementing the “Shock Doctrine,” are trying to take political advantage of a crisis? Yet another “manufactured crisis?”

    The judge, in his ruling, makes a limited effort (in 16 pages what else could it be but limited) to base his opinions on two key testimonies. One by a “researcher” at Harvard, Raj Chetty and another by Professor Rothstein at UC Berkeley.

    Chetty, in a much debunked “study,” alluded to increased wages (around $4 a day) that students with an “effective” teacher would earn over a “lifetime” compared to students who had “ineffective” teachers. How did Chetty define effective v. ineffective in his “study?” Using “value added methodology (VAM), that is, using student test data to rank teachers. Now it would be possible to go over the RAND report debunking VAM, the National Research Council report debunking VAM, the American Statistical Assoc. report debunking VAM, but that is just being redundant. Let’s sum it up this way; How bad is the idea of using student test data to rank (or evaluate) teachers? It’s so bad that even two of its most visible proponents, Bill Gates, and Arne Duncan, have admitted it’s a terrible idea.

    Needless to say, the CA Republican trying to explain their proposed legislation, brings up using student test data to evaluate teachers. Where are you Bill and Arne? Still crying in the wilderness? (Yes, there is something added to Stull by a “neo-lib” some time ago saying data from state tests should be used in evaluation, but it doesn’t stipulate how, where, or when or to what significance.)

    Then the judge, in one of his “ain’t it awful” pronouncements with no rationale, brings up a comment by Rothstein that he “estimated” perhaps 1% to 3% of CA teachers may be underperforming. A clarion call for action for the judge. For Rothstein? Not so much. As Rothstein explained in a NY Time editorial, disrupting and destabilizing the due process rights of 99% to 97% of teachers to deal with a tiny number of possibly ineffective teachers made no sense and could have negative consequences for the education system.

    And then, as CA Attorney General Harris lays out in her rebuttal to the judge, at no time in the trial, and certainly nowhere in the judge’s ruling, was it ever explained how you identify these “bad” teachers, where the “bad” teachers might be found, or how the “offending statutes” were connected to the hiring of the alleged “bad” teachers.

    The due process rights of teachers evolved and were implemented by legislators across the US, they are not the offspring of union actions. This is because legislators saw that school management was prone to abusing teachers, abusing the education system, and undermining students access to quality education. (Not all school managements, but too many.)

    Due process is a fundamental part of the US Constitution. It is there, at least in part, because of the historical legacy of the Salem Witch Trials. In Salem innocents were savaged based on what was called “spectral evidence,” that is “evidence which cannot be seen.” As Atty Gen Harris has asserted, no established connection “can be seen” between statutes on teachers’ due process rights, permanent status, dismissal (or evaluation for that matter) and disadvantaged students’ rights to an education. To suggest there is uses “spectral evidence,” and we know where that leads.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      So, Gary, you commend the 800 page ruling for its length, though you believe the decision wrong-headed while berating the Treu's 16 page ruling that you believe was also wrong-headed.. So how does the length of the decision have any bearing on its credibility? The recent USSC ruling in Citizens United v FEC written by moderate Justice Kennedy was less than 30 pages. Does what the author have to say make any difference … Read More

      So, Gary, you commend the 800 page ruling for its length, though you believe the decision wrong-headed while berating the Treu’s 16 page ruling that you believe was also wrong-headed.. So how does the length of the decision have any bearing on its credibility? The recent USSC ruling in Citizens United v FEC written by moderate Justice Kennedy was less than 30 pages. Does what the author have to say make any difference or is it simply that all perceived conservative rulings, be they long or short, are unsatisfactory jurisprudence in your opinion?

      The appellate court will not be swayed to overturn a decision based upon length but rather on substance. It is unlikely that either the abuse of discretion standard or the de novo standard will be used a basis for review. Therefore, the substantial evidence review will be employed.

      For this standard the appellate court explains:

      “The appellate court reviews the record to make sure there is substantial evidence that reasonably supports the trial court’s decision. The appellate court’s function is not to decide whether it would have reached the same factual conclusions as the judge or jury. The appellate court just decides whether a reasonable fact-finder could have come to the same conclusion based on the facts in the record. If there is a conflict in the evidence and a reasonable fact-finder could have resolved the conflict either way, the appellate court will not overturn the trial court’s decision. Because the judge or jury at the trial saw the witnesses and heard what the witnesses said, they were in a better position to decide what actually happened and who was telling the truth…”

      Under this review it is very difficult to overturn the trial judge even if the appellate judges disagree. The burden is on the appellant. And the appellant has an uphill battle, particularly given the quality of their defense at trial. Just as for teachers, the defense lawyers at trial should not be deemed ineffective.

      • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

        Harris' appeal specifically addresses three areas: 1) A higher court must review the statutes because they address changes in law and have substantial legal impact. This area addresses the "de novo" standard. The court will take this issue seriously. It is a standard review when discussing law. With regards to issues of law/statutes, the appellate court often decides differently than the trial judge, especially if it changes was has been in practice for a lengthy … Read More

        Harris’ appeal specifically addresses three areas:

        1) A higher court must review the statutes because they address changes in law and have substantial legal impact.

        This area addresses the “de novo” standard. The court will take this issue seriously. It is a standard review when discussing law. With regards to issues of law/statutes, the appellate court often decides differently than the trial judge, especially if it changes was has been in practice for a lengthy amount of time.

        2) Because some Plaintiff’s dismissed key parties before trial, the ruling “applies only to parties that have no role or duties under the challenged laws.”

        This area touches upon both the substantial evidence standard and perhaps the abuse of discretion standard. It is rather a weak argument and the appellate court will likely side with the trial judge.

        3) Lack of a detailed ruling.

        This area obviously addresses the substantial evidence standard and it touches upon the “de novo” standard since the ruling is seen as incomplete; only an independent examination of the evidence from the beginning may shed light on the corners that were turned in the judge’s ruling. Because this argument invokes the “de novo” standard and asks for justifications that are not in the ruling, the appellate court could go either way here. My guess is that a review will highlight many of the judge’s leaps in logic for his ruling.

        It is clear that Harris’ appeal touches all of her bases as she rounds them for home. I am not as firm or concrete in my predictions as Don is, but my guess is that the appeal reaches home plate called safe.

        • don 1 year ago1 year ago

          What is your source for the specific content of the appeal you mention in your comment? A de novo review is for questions of law, as in some disagreement over its meaning or intent. I don't see that at issue here. But then again, I'm not an attorney. This case is about the effect of the law. The court will review the evidence to see if a reasonable fact-finder could come to … Read More

          What is your source for the specific content of the appeal you mention in your comment?
          A de novo review is for questions of law, as in some disagreement over its meaning or intent. I don’t see that at issue here. But then again, I’m not an attorney. This case is about the effect of the law.
          The court will review the evidence to see if a reasonable fact-finder could come to the same conclusion, irregardless of the measure of elaboration in the ruling.
          Some critics of the ruling may find its brevity a problem, but I doubt that will have any effect on the appeal because the length of the ruling is immaterial and isn’t an issue of law.

          • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

            "De novo is a Latin phrase meaning 'from the beginning.' In de novo review, the appellate court does not defer to the decisions made in the trial court and looks at the issue as if the trial court had never ruled on it. This type of review is generally limited to issues involving questions of law. If the issues involve questions of law — like the interpretation of a contract or a statute — the … Read More

            “De novo is a Latin phrase meaning ‘from the beginning.’ In de novo review, the appellate court does not defer to the decisions made in the trial court and looks at the issue as if the trial court had never ruled on it. This type of review is generally limited to issues involving questions of law. If the issues involve questions of law — like the interpretation of a contract or a statute — the appellate court does not assume the trial court’s ruling is correct but looks at the issue from the beginning (de novo), exercising its independent judgment. But this kind of review is still not a new trial because the appellate court does not look at new evidence and bases its review on the evidence in the record from the trial court.”

            Any change in law, any nullification of law/statutes, any challenge to law/statutes, any thing that addresses current law/statutes at all will always be viewed through the de novo standard lens upon appeal. While de novo trials are rare, they are common and considered the norm when a judge states in his ruling that “all Challenged Statutes are unconstitutional.” The judge ruled those statutes unconstitutional, Don. It is right there in Treu’s ruling. The panel of appellate judges are in a perfect place to compete an independent or de novo review regarding the statutes constitutionality.

            “The court will review the evidence to see if a reasonable fact-finder could come to the same conclusion, irregardless of the measure of elaboration in the ruling.”

            First, in de novo that is not the case. That is only the case for substantial evidence reviews.

            Second, “irregardless” is not a typo.

            “Some critics of the ruling may find its brevity a problem, but I doubt that will have any effect on the appeal because the length of the ruling is immaterial and isn’t an issue of law.”

            The brevity, by itself, is not the issue. At issue is whether or not the judge completely justifies his “fact-finding” decisions in his ruling. When a ruling addresses the constitutionality of a statute, it must be thorough. Was Treu thorough? You claim it to be a “yes,” that it is one of the tersest and most concise rulings you have ever seen; however, many law profs at Stanford and UCLA say otherwise. Who should I bank the ethos trust on in this stalemate? Hmm.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              No one can say what the appellate court will do as far as standard of review. What I do know is that Treu's decision, if upheld, will open the doors to a great deal of progressive education litigation because the long-standing "below prevailing standards" rule will be replaced by that of "real and appreciable impact" and that is much easier to prove in court. So what this case really comes down to … Read More

              No one can say what the appellate court will do as far as standard of review. What I do know is that Treu’s decision, if upheld, will open the doors to a great deal of progressive education litigation because the long-standing “below prevailing standards” rule will be replaced by that of “real and appreciable impact” and that is much easier to prove in court. So what this case really comes down to is this: do progressives want to maintain the status quo and current employment statutes for the 350,000 teachers or so or do they want to usher in an era of greater judicial activism for any number of issues affecting for California’s most vulnerable school children? The appeal says the big money is on the former. But progressives have a lot of soul-searching to do.

              Then there are those more focused on controversy over prefixes.

            • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

              "No one can say what the appellate court will do as far as standard of review." There is a certain degree of truth in that. "What I do know is that Treu’s decision, if upheld, will open the doors to a great deal of progressive education litigation because the long-standing “below prevailing standards” rule will be replaced by that of “real and appreciable impact” and that is much easier to prove in court." I fully agree with this … Read More

              “No one can say what the appellate court will do as far as standard of review.”

              There is a certain degree of truth in that.

              “What I do know is that Treu’s decision, if upheld, will open the doors to a great deal of progressive education litigation because the long-standing “below prevailing standards” rule will be replaced by that of “real and appreciable impact” and that is much easier to prove in court.”

              I fully agree with this statement as I have stated it before myself on multiple threads here. However, I would argue that there is enough so-called “big money” to be equally thrown at the former and the latter from all players on and off the field–not just progressives.

    • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

      Gary, who the bad teachers are is so obvious in almost all cases, the union could police their own and defend the 97-99% but they chose to be militant. If the union actively attempted to fire 2% over a career and pressured their own members to only miss days if truly sick and cooperate with principals, this lawsuit would have never happened. It is like Geoffrey Canada said, everyone knows they are lemons … Read More

      Gary, who the bad teachers are is so obvious in almost all cases, the union could police their own and defend the 97-99% but they chose to be militant. If the union actively attempted to fire 2% over a career and pressured their own members to only miss days if truly sick and cooperate with principals, this lawsuit would have never happened. It is like Geoffrey Canada said, everyone knows they are lemons but they still dance. If it weren’t obvious this lawsuit wouldn’t have won, and if the union had chosen a middle ground, it would have won. I never understood why a union would want to justify false sick days or help bad teachers. If you’re a good 3d grade teacher and have a bad 2d grade teacher, you have to re-teach things which already should have been learned. But they chose unity. Education is too important. A kid born in the bottom quintile has a 6% chance of making the top quintile and a kid born in the top quintile has a 39% chance. This is largely due to bad education and the lemons all ending up at school poor kids attend because those with money make an obviously bad teacher uncomfortable. I saw it at my school, teachers defended one teacher like she was a liberal cause and she wasn’t, at all, she missed over 2/3 of the days for 5 reasons and was seen in cafes on days she called in sick and was drummed out of several previous schools which was unavailable as info so it was anecdotal, yet they defended her. Gary trust me, you’re way out in left field with an unreasonable, untenable position. If you had proposed a reasonable due process middle ground since 2005, this would have never happened. You are extreme. Let me ask you a personal question Gary, have you ever called in sick when you were healthy just because it’s in the contract? Do you have colleagues who do so? How often do they go a year with no sick days, which I do 90% of years?

  4. Jerry Heverly 1 year ago1 year ago

    I looked it up in the dictionary. The current definition of chutzpah: Republicans introducing legislation in the California legislature. cf: quixotic; pointless; sham; laughable.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Vergara has started a nationwide movement. There is strong bipartisan support looking for modernizing teacher employment statutes. Jerry, you can laugh it off if that makes you feel better. But this movement is no joke.

      • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

        Was it Vergara, truly, that started it all?

        Or was it Scott Walker? Or Haslam? Or Christie? Or the North Carolina legislature? We shouldn’t forget Duncan, Cuomo, or Obama–they certainly helped birth that baby, too.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        Vergara is merely a symptom of a broader and longer-term anti-union effort (temporally apropos reference to scott walker, below btw--the sponsoring state rep on the bill he just signed said he's been fighting this fight for 23 years. The same rep has also submitted a bill to remove prevailing wage requirements for government contractors). What v did do differently is turn the attack to the statutes themselves, but that's just a new weapon in an … Read More

        Vergara is merely a symptom of a broader and longer-term anti-union effort (temporally apropos reference to scott walker, below btw–the sponsoring state rep on the bill he just signed said he’s been fighting this fight for 23 years. The same rep has also submitted a bill to remove prevailing wage requirements for government contractors). What v did do differently is turn the attack to the statutes themselves, but that’s just a new weapon in an old war. And nice attempt to frame the transition away from unionization as ‘modernization’.

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          The unions went too far when they knowingly defended bad teachers many times. If the union would have simply come up with their own way to ensure teacher quality, and high attendance, Vergara wouldn't have been necessary. The public would support the union fighting for better pay, better health benefits (which are often quite lousy) and more academic help such as tutoring for disadvantaged children if only they didn't make such an effort … Read More

          The unions went too far when they knowingly defended bad teachers many times. If the union would have simply come up with their own way to ensure teacher quality, and high attendance, Vergara wouldn’t have been necessary. The public would support the union fighting for better pay, better health benefits (which are often quite lousy) and more academic help such as tutoring for disadvantaged children if only they didn’t make such an effort to make it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers and for there to be an environment in which it is acceptable to resist principals and new reforms and in which it is not generally expected a teacher show up as many times as possible. In SF, you don’t even have to explain, if you take your days off to go to the movies it’s considered perfectly acceptable. The best teachers don’t do that, but many do miss days when they are perfectly healthy. The union has never spoken out on this issue or tried to change this practice. If they policed their own they would get more pay for members, similar to the plumbing union.

    • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

      2 very liberal newspapers, a fairly liberal President, and many liberals agree. This is like Nixon with China. There comes a time when right is right. The union is just wrong on this issue. I find it odd how Gary and others on here try to always dismiss the pro reform side of this argument as a few crazy, greedy billionaires who don't understand education. I've seen polls where 3/4 … Read More

      2 very liberal newspapers, a fairly liberal President, and many liberals agree. This is like Nixon with China. There comes a time when right is right. The union is just wrong on this issue. I find it odd how Gary and others on here try to always dismiss the pro reform side of this argument as a few crazy, greedy billionaires who don’t understand education. I’ve seen polls where 3/4 of Californians feel it is too difficult to fire a bad teacher, and it was on the cover of Newsweek. This shows how out of touch the union is. I feel the union made a historic mistake which will cost good teachers a higher salary when they decided to dig in and keep the paradigm as it is and fight this as long and hard as possible. The union even defended Mark Berndt and I feel that was an insanely bad decision. The truth is, if you guys agreed to firing the bottom 5% and pressured all teachers to not call in sick and work harder and were a part of reforming this, you could trade it for a higher salary, but instead you are having it taken from you by the courts so you no longer will be able to trade it.. It makes you look really out of touch and ridiculous. You say things I don’t believe you believe are true to defend a completely untenable situation which is hurting children and enhancing inequality and the achievement gap. I feel you guys made a huge mistake on this one. You would have gained a lot of points otherwise. It’s like Nixon and China or Clinton and Welfare Reform. Sometimes a right thing is so obvious and takes decades to reach. This will go down in history as such.

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Good point, Jerry. We have the unholy alliance of neo-cons from the Republican side joining hands with the neo-libs from the Democratic side and all dancing to the tune that it is vital to undermine the public sector unions to the point they struggle like the private sector unions. The growing inequities and dangerous concentrations of wealth that occurred in absolute parallel with that undermining of private sector labor is to be studiously ignored because … Read More

      Good point, Jerry. We have the unholy alliance of neo-cons from the Republican side joining hands with the neo-libs from the Democratic side and all dancing to the tune that it is vital to undermine the public sector unions to the point they struggle like the private sector unions. The growing inequities and dangerous concentrations of wealth that occurred in absolute parallel with that undermining of private sector labor is to be studiously ignored because there was the other parallel development that deposited the bulk of the nation’s wealth into the offshore bank accounts of the same cabal of billionaires who form the legion of self-styled school reformers {sic}.

      The fact that teachers’ unions make up the larger part of the public sector, and those unions in particular keep pointing to the fact that the wealthiest nation on Earth has just about the largest population of children living in poverty need to be silenced, or those off-shore accounts could be at risk of being accessed to remedy poverty. Oh the humanity! Wealthy people paying taxes and doing their fair share to maintain a just and equitable society.

      There being no actual empirical evidence to support persecution of the teachers’ unions, and their members labor rights, means you need to stage show trials like those that were common during the two Red Scares that are dark stains on this country’s history. In this case you have Welch, Hasting, Broad, and the Waltons, substituting for A Mitchell Palmer and Joe McCarthy. And there are always the headline hunting newspaper editors to play lapdog to the wealthy. Always.

      • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

        Maybe the poor performance of teachers in a system where we provide enough food for all in food stamps and school lunches, and shelters, is partially responsible for so many people being in poverty. If you have a poor education, you don't make much money. Why is it poorer nations get better results on test scores? So now this is a conspiracy to silence teachers for speaking out about poverty? Gary, you never … Read More

        Maybe the poor performance of teachers in a system where we provide enough food for all in food stamps and school lunches, and shelters, is partially responsible for so many people being in poverty. If you have a poor education, you don’t make much money. Why is it poorer nations get better results on test scores?

        So now this is a conspiracy to silence teachers for speaking out about poverty? Gary, you never even admit many teachers miss days they don’t have to miss or bad teachers stay on, and all of us real world parents know this is true. You act like us saying this is part of some vast right wing illuminati conspiracy or something. You’re really out of touch.

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        Gary is rightfully entitled to the standard liberal ideology that capital growth, job growth and economic progress in general is due to rising unionism and redistribution of wealth, even if it is a rather moribund view of macroeconomic theory. But likening the constitutional challenge of Vergara to the McCarthy trials is out there. It debases the quality of education discussion, if I may say so. I suppose when mainstream conservatives and liberals agree on … Read More

        Gary is rightfully entitled to the standard liberal ideology that capital growth, job growth and economic progress in general is due to rising unionism and redistribution of wealth, even if it is a rather moribund view of macroeconomic theory. But likening the constitutional challenge of Vergara to the McCarthy trials is out there. It debases the quality of education discussion, if I may say so. I suppose when mainstream conservatives and liberals agree on union overreach, it is bound to incite angry political rhetoric from far left ideologues. His polemic is to be expected when the interests of civil rights proponents are viewed as competition with economic interests of unions by old-line union activists, even if those economic interests are those of a very small minority of teachers for whom both sides agreed at trial that the quality of instruction is ineffective. OTOH, if you think the interest of the class of students represented by Vergara is illegitimate and is being used as nothing more than a foil in what is actually a union-busting conspiracy of billionaires to privatize public education, then the internal logic of Gary’s comment follows. Cast in the light of competing interests – the constitutional rights of employment versus the constitutional rights of education – the Vergara case speaks to whether we will as a society find common ground or fight a pitched and debilitating battle to the bitter end over a child’s right to an equitable education.

        • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

          Do we get to pick and choose when and for whom we measure for growth and progress, and what we consider to be causal factors in that process? Does illegal immigration count? If the case is a foil, it's success would come at the expense of students. It makes no sense to conflate those two things when one would work against the interests of the other. The competing interests you should have contrasted are economic … Read More

          Do we get to pick and choose when and for whom we measure for growth and progress, and what we consider to be causal factors in that process? Does illegal immigration count?

          If the case is a foil, it’s success would come at the expense of students. It makes no sense to conflate those two things when one would work against the interests of the other.

          The competing interests you should have contrasted are economic freedom and constitutional right to education. Fighting the wrong enemy is the surest way to long and debilitating, let alone futile and even counterproductive, battle.

          • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

            Navigio, I didn't get the drift of your comment. You say I should have contrasted "economic freedom and the constitutional right to education" as opposed to " the constitutional rights of employment versus the constitutional rights of education." That's a distinction in need of explanation. And what was your point about illegal immigration as well as the case as a foil coming at the expense of students? Care to elaborate? Read More

            Navigio, I didn’t get the drift of your comment. You say I should have contrasted “economic freedom and the constitutional right to education” as opposed to ” the constitutional rights of employment versus the constitutional rights of education.” That’s a distinction in need of explanation. And what was your point about illegal immigration as well as the case as a foil coming at the expense of students? Care to elaborate?

  5. FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

    Gary, I find your comments deeply offensive. You will do or say anything and focus on the most obscure points to retain a system that has been terrible for my children. My son had to spend 1st Grade under a teacher who showed up 50 days and called in sick for 5 reasons and was seen in cafes hanging out on days she called in sick. She'd been driven out of other … Read More

    Gary, I find your comments deeply offensive. You will do or say anything and focus on the most obscure points to retain a system that has been terrible for my children. My son had to spend 1st Grade under a teacher who showed up 50 days and called in sick for 5 reasons and was seen in cafes hanging out on days she called in sick. She’d been driven out of other schools but I only know this by talking to other parents as per union requirements, the information is “private” and “not available”. She is probably at a new school and those parents aren’t told 22 of 22 were coming to meetings asking for a replacement. Current laws are so extreme Mark Berndt received $40,000 when laid off despite the fact a grand jury had indicted him for molesting over 100 children. He was ultimately sent to prison for 26 years and will be there until his 80s, commisary account full due to the union. You may act like you nitpick between one minor fact, one official, but HOWEVER THEY BROUGHT THIS SUIT you would comb through it looking for something negative to say and your goal is to keep IT NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO FIRE BAD TEACHERS AND 100% OF PAY, PROMOTION, JOB SECURITY, ETC. BASED ON SENIORITY ONLY. You find some excuse, but say it was another judge, another school, another district, you’d be making the same or similar argument. You don’t care about the children as much as you do about teacher job security. You don’t care that many teachers call in sick when not sick and don’t even need an explanation in most districts. You don’t car that California is near last and so is the U.S. You wan tto MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO which is FAILING! You’ll say or do anything to do that. Every time anything happens like this, you find some obscure point.

    Gary, how about focusing on the fact that millions of children are suffering because thousands of bad teachers stay on the job for decades. That’s way more important than whether one superintendent made a mistake, and I’ve never seen one they couldn’t manufacture some argument against if the union looked into it. You are being disingenuous here. You never ever state one of these obscure facts about anyone trying to keep tenure and seniority. You may say you want an alternative, but what you want is the exact same system which has failed us for 30 years and kept teachers with no fear they have to listen to a principal, be honest about any days off, work harder or put children first. You are not winning Gary, you’re defending a system which is failing children. Our children are losing and hopefully this will change that.

  6. Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

    So a bunch of Republicans decide to jump on the bandwagon provided by the transparently skimpy ruling of a Republican appointed judge. Is that right? What a coincidence! Has anyone noticed that the "star witness" of the plaintiffs in the Vergara trial, whose claim was that various statutes relating to teachers' due process rights prevented him from doing a competent job as superintendent of LAUSD, was forced to "get out of Dodge," because of substantial questions … Read More

    So a bunch of Republicans decide to jump on the bandwagon provided by the transparently skimpy ruling of a Republican appointed judge. Is that right? What a coincidence!

    Has anyone noticed that the “star witness” of the plaintiffs in the Vergara trial, whose claim was that various statutes relating to teachers’ due process rights prevented him from doing a competent job as superintendent of LAUSD, was forced to “get out of Dodge,” because of substantial questions about “competence?”

    So, maybe the competence difficulties related to something other than the statutes?

    Just sayin’

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      The editorial boards of two of the nation’s most liberal newspapers don’t see it your way, Gary.

      .nytimes.com/2014/06/12/opinion/in-california-a-judge-takes-on-teacher-tenure.html?referrer=&_r=1

      .latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-deasy-resigns-as-lausd-superintendent-20141017-story.html

      • Tom 1 year ago1 year ago

        Floyd and Don have you figured out Gary, and you are a dinosaur. Give it up.

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          Yikes, Tom. A “dinosaur”? Really? I guess I could take offense at such a charge, but first I need to know a few things:

          1) Are referencing one of those good conservative, dinosaurs, like the ones in the Creation Museum [sic], with people riding on them?

          Or

          2) is it the regular scientifically defined kind of dinosaur that died out millions of years before humanoids first appeared?

          Inquiring minds want to know.

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