AB 1220 Will Give California Public School Teachers More Time for Tenure

On Thursday, for the Times of San Diego, Chris Jennewein reported on AB 1220, a bill designed to give California’s public school teachers additional time to earn tenure scheduled to be considered in committee later this month. Introduced by Assemblymember Shirley Weber of San Diego with the support of Teach Plus and Educators for Excellence, AB 1220 would provide new teachers with an additional year of probationary period, as well as the option to add another one or two years, if necessary, along with access to additional mentoring and development resources. AB 1220 would also align California’s teacher tenure laws with those of forty-two other states where tenure is granted after three to five years.

Assemblymember Weber, a former professor and San Diego Unified board member, described how giving new teachers more time to receive tenure will empower both these teachers and their students to achieve, “For students to succeed, we must provide teachers with what they need to achieve success in the classroom. AB 1220 will provide the extra time and support essential for teachers to demonstrate success and be recognized for their hard work.”

Veteran teachers also think that California’s current system could do much more in terms of setting up new teachers for success. In fact, a poll of traditional district schoolteachers in California found that 85 percent believe tenure decisions should be made after spending at least three years in the classroom. Los Angeles Unified teacher of the year (2013-14) Lester Vasquez agreed, “Teachers will tell you that they need more than two years to develop and to earn tenure. By raising the benchmark for tenure, AB 1220 benefits teachers, principals and students in California’s public schools.”

As California faces a continually growing teacher shortage, AB 1220 provides critical additional support for new teachers. By rewarding great teaching and ensuring success for teachers just starting out in the classroom, AB 1220 will attract new, motivated and inspiring teachers into public schools and will benefit students across California.