Sacramento Bee: Supreme Court Should Hear Vergara Appeal After AB 934

On Wednesday, the California Senate Education Committee rejected Assemblymember Susan Bonilla’s AB 934 in a 5-2 bipartisan vote, with two committee members not voting. The bill was originally introduced to address the state’s broken teacher employment laws at issue in the Vergara appeal, but would have failed to do so after amendments were made under pressure from special interest groups. The gutted version would have left in place the state’s quality-blind layoff system, doubled down on an unconstitutional teacher tenure timeline that ignores teacher quality and failed to streamline the arduous dismissal process for ineffective teachers who fail to improve.

Assemblymember Susan Bonilla appears before the California Senate Education Committee on June 29, 2016
Assemblymember Susan Bonilla appears before the California Senate Education Committee on June 29, 2016

 

The Sacramento Bee editorialized on the bipartisan rejection of AB 934, arguing that the bill “should have gone farther” and calling on the California Supreme Court to “[step] into the vacuum left by the Legislature” and review the student plaintiffs’ appeal of Vergara v. California. They cited Senator Loni Hancock, who spoke up during Wednesday’s hearing to recount the story of her own grandson whose parents had to remove him from his local public school after an experience with a grossly ineffective teacher that the district was unable to dismiss.

While noting their support for increased school funding and smaller class sizes, the Editorial Board also argued that school administrators should be empowered to discipline the small percentage of teachers who are ineffective. “That’s in the best interest of children and ultimately of the vast majority of dedicated, talented and, yes, heroic, public school teachers,” the board concluded.