I am writing because I wanted to share with you some disappointing news out of Sacramento today, as I believe it illustrates the broken political system that we face– and how politics continues to stand in the way of better public schools.
Working with classroom teachers, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber introduced a bill last year to strengthen California’s teacher tenure law. Currently, teachers are given only about 18 months before a school district must either grant them permanent employment (tenure) or let them go. This is simply not enough time for a teacher to receive the support necessary to demonstrate his/her potential, or for a principal to make such a consequential decision.
Dr. Weber’s bill originally proposed extending the pre-tenure probationary period to 3 years for all new teachers, and giving school districts the flexibility to extend that period to 4 or 5 years, if necessary. Last summer, my opponent in this race was one of the few members of the State Assembly that refused to support the bill, and then led the “surreptitious” effort to kill it.
Despite that effort, the bill appeared on track to pass out of the Senate Education Committee this week, before- in a last-minute, backroom maneuver- the bill was removed from consideration. The teachers who helped author and shephard this bill for the last few years flew to Sacramento today- the day they were originally scheduled to testify in support of the bill- to protest. It is a shame that they were not heard.
The fact is that we have a broken tenure system, we had a real opportunity to improve it, and Sacramento politicians failed to do so, yet again.
Our kids can’t afford more of these political games. I hope you will visit dontsilenceteachers.org, to learn more, to quickly contact your legislators, and to help spread the word.