AB 934: A Bad Deal for California Students

SM_Vergara-Equal Opportunity_12.21.15

In a disappointing reversal, AB 934 — a bill originally introduced in April by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla to address the broken teacher employment laws challenged by Vergara v. Californiahas emerged in the California Senate Education Committee a mere shell of its former self. 

The bill no longer seriously addresses the outdated laws challenged in Vergara v. California that are harming California students and teachers. While AB 934 was once an honest attempt to support effective teachers and prioritize quality in California’s education system, the bill is now the product of backroom deals in the state capital with the state’s most powerful special interest groups. Plain and simple: the new bill is a bad deal for California students.

Students Matter strongly opposes this new version of AB 934 and urges members of the California Legislature to reject this backroom deal and instead prioritize the needs of students and hard-working teachers — not special interests. Click here to see how the bill was recently amended.

What would the new AB 934 do?

  • Teacher Tenure (Permanent Employment): Instead of making teacher tenure an earned professional benchmark based on demonstrated quality of instruction, AB 934 now doubles down on an unconstitutional tenure timeline that deprives administrators of the time needed to fairly – and accurately – evaluate probationary teachers.
  • Teacher Dismissal: The new AB 934 does nothing to streamline California’s arduous dismissal process that allows grossly ineffective teachers to remain in the classrooms and deprive students of valuable learning time – adding to the bureaucratic red tape that handcuffs schools from doing what’s best for our kids.
  • Teacher Layoffs/”Last In, First Out”: AB 934 leaves in place the state’s quality-blind “Last In, First Out” layoff system – a system that 76 percent of public school teachers and 82 percent of California voters oppose.
  • Teacher Evaluations: The new AB 934 would not require districts to use any evaluation system when making employment decisions, failing to ensure recognition for great teaching and ignoring whether or not educators are actually helping their students succeed.

Current Status

UPDATE: On June 29, 2016, the California Senate Education Committee rejected the gutted version of AB 934, after hearing from students, parents and teachers across California that they opposed this bad deal.