The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board Endorses AB 1220

On Monday, the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board endorsed California Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s (D-San Diego) Teacher and Student Success Act (AB 1220), which is also sponsored by two teacher organizations, Educators for Excellence and Teach Plus. AB 1220 passed through the Assembly Education Committee last Wednesday in a bipartisan vote of 4-2. The legislation would lengthen the probationary period for granting teacher tenure to three years, with the option of a fourth or fifth year, and provide additional mentoring and professional development resources for teachers who show promise but need more time and support to achieve success. AB 1220 is also supported by education organizations including the Association of California School Administrators, Children Now, Families in Schools, United Way of Greater Los Angeles and The Education Trust—West.

The Editorial Board highlighted the fact that in forty-two other states, teachers receive tenure after being on the job for three to five years. States like New York and Connecticut have four-year probationary periods, and make tenure decisions on teacher effectiveness and student growth. In California, however, the current 18-month timeline often forces districts to grant or deny tenure before a teacher has been given adequate time and resources for growth. It’s clear that California’s current system is harmful to new teachers — that’s why a poll of traditional district school teachers in the state shows that 85 percent believe tenure decisions should be made after teachers have at least three years of classroom experience.

“AB 1220 may seem incremental, but it also makes sense,” concluded the Editorial Board. And California teachers, administrators, parents and community leaders agree.