Why LAUSD Board of Education Member George McKenna III Supports AB 1220

Today, the Los Angeles Daily News posted an op-ed authored by LAUSD Board of Education Member George McKenna III in support of the Teacher and Student Success Act (AB 1220), a teacher tenure bill that will be voted in in the California Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, July 12. This legislation was proposed by Assemblymember Shirley Weber at the encouragement of teacher organizations Teach Plus and Educators for Excellence.

A former teacher himself, McKenna describes why an extended timeline for teachers to earn tenure and additional mentoring and development opportunities for new teachers would have been beneficial: “only after a few years of classroom teaching was I able to demonstrate the effectiveness necessary to be considered successful — not only to my supervisors, but also to myself.”

Under the current system in California, districts are forced to make a final tenure decision within 18 months. This short timeline forces administrators to make important decisions before teachers have had the chance to reach their full potential. AB 1220 will improve California’s tenure laws by giving new teachers the time and support they need to achieve success in the classroom. It will also bring California’s system in line with 85 percent of unionized public school teachers in the state who think that tenure decisions should be made after teachers are able to gain at least three years of experience in the classroom.

“As a career educator, I know that AB 1220 is what our districts need,” concluded McKenna. “Every Californian who believes in the promise of a quality public education should call their state senator and urge him or her to vote for this commonsense legislation. It’s time we put our students — and our teachers — first.”