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Teacher Bills Create Rift in the Assembly

On Wednesday, the Assembly Education Committee considered more than 30 bills including some of the teacher evaluation proposals and school facilities bond measures.

Teacher Measures Fail - Yesterday the Assembly Education Committee heard four bills related to teacher evaluation, seniority and probationary/permanent status.  Taking a page out of the anti-vaccination folks playbook, CTA members filled the hearing room to oppose the bills, forcing many advocates to wait in the hallway or in the gallery above the hearing room.  Action on these bills created a rift among Democratic education leaders.

The bills heard were the four other teacher-related bills—not the leadership teacher evaluation proposals that have already passed from their respective policy committees (AB 575 and AB 499). The bills heard this week included:

  • AB 1044 by Assembly Member Baker (R-Dublin) - allows layoff policies to deviate from last in, first out (LIFO)
  • AB 1078 by Assembly Member Olsen (R-Modesto) - makes changes to the teacher evaluation system (known as the Stull Act)
  • AB 1248 by Assembly Member Chavez (R-Oceanside) - extends the probationary period for employees to three years and allows removal of permanent status in certain circumstances
  • AB 1495 by Assembly Member Weber (D-San Diego) - add requirement to the current evaluation system to include pupil achievement and outcomes as described in the LCAP

The three bills by Republican authors were sent to an “interim study,” meaning the Legislature will consider the proposals together during the recess after the end of the legislative session. This could result in a two-year bill proposal next year, or (more likely) these proposals will not be resurrected. Assembly Member Weber was the only Democrat to vote against the motion to send these bills to interim study, ostensibly because her bill was next on the chopping block.

The rift became tangible when Assembly Member Weber presented her AB 1495.  Assembly Member Weber demanded an up or down vote on her measure, rather than having it sent to interim study.  During the debate, Assembly Member McCarty (D-Sacramento) said he would be willing to support an amended version of her bill by deleting her proposal to create a third tier of evaluation results.  Weber refused this amendment, suggesting it would take out the “heart of the bill.”  Assembly Member Thurmond’s (D-Richmond) comment regarding his unwillingness to support her bill because it includes student test scores as a possible measure was met with a challenge by Weber that Thurmond to take bold action by supporting her proposal.  She specifically referred to Thurmond’s “aye” vote in a previous committee hearing on AB 575 (O’Donnell/Atkins) that requires test scores as part of an evaluation system.  The major difference here is Assembly Member O’Donnell’s bill is the Assembly leadership’s effort to change teacher evaluations.

Bond Bills Pass Amid Tension - This rift seems to have spilled over into the school facilities bond conversation.  During the same hearing two bills proposing school facilities bonds were passed: AB 148 by Assembly Member Holden (D-Pasadena), and AB 1088 by Chair O’Donnell (D-Long Beach).  While the tension in the room made for interesting conversation between Weber and O’Donnell, Weber ultimately voted for both measures.

Here is a roundup of all the actions taken in the Assembly Education Committee this week:

AB 47 - McCarty (D): State Preschool Program

States the intent of the Legislature that the State Budget shall include an appropriation for the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) sufficient to provide all children who are eligible for the program, and whose parents wish to enroll them, the opportunity to enroll in the program in the year before they enter kindergarten. Amendment taken will strike the intent provision in the bill and insert the following:

“No later than January 1, 2017, there shall be access to the state preschool program for all children who are eligible for the program in the year before they enter kindergarten, and whose parents wish to enroll them. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide sufficient funding in the state budget for this purpose.”

Action: Passed as Amended 6-0

AB 148 - Holden (D): K-14 School Investment Bond Act of 2016

Enacts the K-14 School Investment Bond Act of 2016 to provide funds for the construction and modernization of education facilities, to be operative only if approved by voters at an unspecified 2016 statewide election. Amendment taken will amend the bill to provide additional funds for school districts that meet all of the conditions, rather than making it a priority for funding.

Action: Passed as Amended 5-0

AB 233 - Lopez (D): Child Care and Development Services: Rates

Provides a 12-month eligibility determination process for specified child care and development programs and makes changes to the administration of various programs. Amendments taken will:

  1. Strike the 12-month eligibility language in two sections in the bill and instead add a new subdivision in EC 8263 to apply the 12-month eligibility determination to all child care and development programs
  2. Reinstate the provision requiring physical exams and immunization for enrollment and instead adds language clarifying the provisions that apply to Alternative Payment Programs (APP)
  3. Reinstate the provision requiring an APP to verify provider raters once a year
  4. Specify that an Alternative Payment child care provider may direct a parent to pay family fees directly to a provider upon agreement by a child care provider to collect the fee

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 288 - Holden (D): Public Schools: College and Career Access Pathways

Authorizes the governing board of a community college district to enter into a College and Career Access Pathways partnership with the governing board of a school district with the goal of developing seamless pathways from high school to community college for career technical education or preparation for transfer, improving high school graduation rates, or helping high school pupils achieve college and career readiness.

Action: Passed 6-0; Consent

AB 306 - Hadley (R): Attendance: Children of Military Personnel

Authorizes a parent of a pupil enrolled in a school district of residence to submit an application for a pupil to attend a school in any school district of choice if the parent with whom the pupil resides is enlisted in the military and is on active military duty. Provides the procedures to be following for the submission and processing of said application. Authorizes a district of choice to adopt specified, written standards for acceptance of applicants pursuant to these provisions. Amendment taken will strike “enlisted in the military and is” from the bill language so the provision applies to all pupils who reside with a parent on active military duty.

Action:  Passed as Amended 6-0

AB 517 - Gallagher (R): HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Act: Educational Material

Requires a school district to provide a parent or guardian time to inspect any written audiovisual educational material used in comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention education. Authorizes the parent or guardian to make copies of material that has been or will be presented by an outside consultant or guest speaker. Requires the district to inform parent or guardians of their right to make such copies and of the relevant credentials of the consultant or guest speaker. Amendment taken will require that, as part of the notice provided to parents about outside consultants and speakers, information be provided on the consultants’ “training in comprehensive sexual health education and HIV and AIDs prevention education.”

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 531 - O'Donnell (D): School Finance: Budget Calculations

Amends existing law that provides the formula for funding under the Public School System Stabilization Account. Makes the formula for school districts with less than a specified amount of units of average daily attendance applicable (ADA) to districts with a specified amount of units of ADA or less. Specifies that the limitation on the combined assigned or unassigned fund balance does not apply to moneys in a committed reserve.

Action: Passed 6-0

AB 580 - O'Donnell (D): School Employees: Training: Pupil Mental Health Issues

Requires school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to provide in-service training every school year to teachers of pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and to classified staff who have regular personal contact with pupils, on early identification of pupils with mental health issues. Authorizes such training to be in an online format outside of a regularly scheduled staff meeting. Amendments taken will:

  1. State that, for classified employees, the training may occur at a time other than a staff meeting, but that in all cases will occur during regular work hours
  2. Replace “during the first six weeks of the school year” to “the beginning of the school year” and change “staff meeting” to “staff meeting or meetings”
  3. Require that the training is provided to all certified staff

Action: Passed as Amended 6-0

AB 625 - Bonta (D): School Finance: Apportionments: Compliance Audits

Requires the State Controller and Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) or their respective designees to meet before each audit, develop an audit plan, and coordinate the audit before the Controller conducts an audit of the books and accounts of a school district that has received an emergency apportionment. Requires the audits to continue until the Controller determines the district is financially solvent. Amendment taken will change bill language to read:

“The Controller, the Superintendent, and the head of the affected district’s governing board, or their respective designees, shall meet before each audit to discuss the terms of the audit and the timeline under which it will proceed.”

Action: Passed as Amended 6-0; Consent

AB 710 - Brown (D): Youth on Probation: Local Control Funding Formula

Amends existing law that relates to the public school financing system and local control funding formula. Includes a youth who is on probation as an unduplicated pupil. Requires a local control and accountability plan to also include a description of the annual goals to be achieved for youth on probation for each state priority. Requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to add appropriate data collection questions to the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS.) Amendment taken will specify that the CDE modify CALPADS to collect data on the probationary status of the pupil, included the beginning and ending dates of the probation.

Action: Passed as Amended 5-2

AB 734 - Kim (R): School Intervention: Parent Empowerment: Petition

Authorizes a charter school requesting school intervention to appeal the final disposition to the county board of education if the local educational agency (LEA) does not implement the options specified in a Parent Empowerment Program (PEP) petition. Authorizes approval of the appeal if the county board finds the LEA acted in violation, or that it did not act in good faith. Provides that if the county board approves the appeal, the LEA must implement the option requested in the petition.

Action: Failed 2-4

AB 803 - Hadley (R): School Districts: Reorganization: New Districts

Establishes separate procedural requirements for an action to form a new school district within the boundaries of a single district within a single county. Authorizes an action to be initiated by a qualifying petition. Requires the county board of education to hold a public hearing upon receiving a petition or resolution proposal. Requires the county superintendent of schools, if the petition or proposal is granted, to call an election regarding the petition or proposal.

Action: Failed 2-5

AB 812 - Weber (D): Limited Academic English Proficiency: Assessments

Requires that students of “limited academic English proficiency” be identified and annually assessed for academic English proficiency, and requires a study on best instructional practices for these students. Amendment taken will delete the bills current contents and instead require, contingent upon an appropriation provided for this purpose, an evaluation of the LAUSD Mastery of Academic English program, through a partnership with the UCLA Center X, to support data collection and analysis, focused around policy questions regarding identification, assessment, curriculum, instruction, professional development, and definitions of proficiency, with a specified timeline for completion.

Action: Passed as Amended 6-0

AB 889 - Chang (R): Concurrent Enrollment in School and Community College

Authorizes the governing board of a school district to authorize a pupil to attend a community college during any session or term as a special part-time or full-time student and to undertake one or more STEM courses offered at the community college if that pupil has exhausted all opportunities to enroll in an equivalent course at the high school of attendance, or at an adult education program. Provides specifications for related partnership agreements.

Action: Passed 7-0

AB 934 - Bonilla (D): Education Technology: K-12 High-Speed Network

Requires the K-12 High-Speed Network (HSN) advisory board, on or before January 1, 2017, to identify strategies to address the lack of technical expertise at K-12 public schools and engage all relevant stakeholders to identify strategies to support public schools with, at a minimum, network designs, network implementation, and network maintenance.

Action: Passed 6-0; Consent

AB 949 - Gonzalez (D): Physical Education: Competition Cheer

Requires the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), in consultation with the California Department of Education, to develop guidelines, procedures, and safety standards for the purpose of classifying competition cheer as an interscholastic sport by July 1, 2017. Amendments taken will:

  1. Define Competition Cheer to mean a sport wherein teams participate in direct head to head competition with another team with an objective scoring system
  2. Specify that CIF shall seek Title IX compliance with the Office for Civil Rights, but until or unless that compliance has been achieved, schools shall not count Competition Cheer towards Title IX compliance.

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 975 - Frazier (D): Local Agency Public Construction Act: Bid Criteria

Prohibits local public agencies and schools districts form disqualifying prospective bidders on public works contracts based on a bidder’s involvement in a claim filed by the bidder or the project owner. Amendments taken will strike the provisions of the bill and, instead, insert the following language:

  1. “Any public agency requiring prospective bidders to complete and submit questionnaires shall not disqualify a prospective bidder through its uniform system of rating bidders based solely on whether a prospective bidder has filed a claim against a project owner through the courts, mediation, or arbitration;” and
  2. “Any school district requiring prospective bidders to complete and submit questionnaires shall not disqualify a prospective bidder through its uniform system of rating bidders based solely on whether a prospective bidder has filed a claim against a project owner through the courts, mediation, or arbitration.”

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 1012 - Jones-Sawyer (D): Pupil Instruction: Course Periods Without Content

Prohibits school districts  from assigning students in grades 7-12 to any course period without educational content for more than one week in any semester, and to courses that students have already completed. Provides the procedures to be followed by a district if any of its schools has not satisfied these provisions. Authorizes public complaints.

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 1025 - Thurmond (D): Pupil Health: Interventions Pilot Program

Requires the California Department of Education to establish additional pilot programs to encourage inclusive practices that integrate mental health, special education, and school climate interventions following a multitiered framework. Amendments taken will:

  1. Strike the requirement that the CDE develop and implement the federal “Now is the Time” grant
  2. Specify the term of the project at three years and adding a sunset date of January 1, 2020

Action: Passed as Amended 6-0

AB 1044 - Baker (R): School Employees: Reduction in Workforce

Requires, by July 1, 2018, school districts adopt layoff policies that include a teacher’s evaluation rating as a significant factor in determining the order of dismissal.

Action: Referred for Interim Study 4-3

AB 1078 - Olsen (R): Teacher Evaluations

Makes changes to the Stull Act. Requires the State Board of Education to revise, update, and adopt guidelines that school districts may use in the development of teacher evaluation. Requires that the updated guidelines includes a determination of a teacher's overall performance.

Action: Referred for Interim Study 4-3

AB 1088 - O'Donnell (D): Education Facilities: Bond Act: Greene Act

Places the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act on an unspecified statewide general election, to be operative only if approved by voters at the unspecified statewide general election. Makes changes to the School Facility Program (SFP). Amendment taken will give the State Allocation Board authority to require school districts seeking modernization funds from any bonds passed by voters after January 1, 2016 to reestablish modernization eligibility.

Action: Passed as Amended 5-0

AB 1099 - Olsen (R): School Accountability: Control and Accountability

Requires each school district and county office of education (COE) to post information on its website, if it has one, regarding its procedures for evaluating teachers and principals. Also requires the local control and accountability plan (LCAP) of each school district and COE to contain a listing and description of specified expenditures at each schoolsite. Amendment taken will delete requirement that aggregate data on the number of certificated teachers at each schoolsite that receive satisfactory or unsatisfactory evaluations be posted on the internet.

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 1145 - Medina (D): Pupils: Early Commitment to College Program

Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction, by November 1, 2016, to submit specified data on the Early Commitment to College Program (ECCP) to the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) and requires the LAO to submit a report on whether the program should be continued to the Legislature, by November 1, 2017. Amendment taken will require that the report contain any available information about participants’ university and other postsecondary program enrollment rates, and any state or local factors contributing to the program’s success or failure.

Action: Passed as Amended 6-0; Consent

AB 1153 - Calderon I (D): Local Control and Accountability Plans: Posting:Rubrics

Requires the State Board of Education (SBE), by January 31, 2017, to consider revising the template for the local control and accountability plan (LCAP) to include a section or appendix sufficient to monitor actual progress on outcomes related to the evaluation rubric adopted by the SBE. Also requires each school district and county superintendent of schools to post their respective populated evaluation rubric on their respective websites.

Action: Passed 6-0; Consent

AB 1198 - Dababneh (D): School Facilities: School Finance: Credit Enhancement

Relates to credit insurance. Creates the California Credit Enhancement Program (CCEP) within the California School Financing Authority (CSFA) to provide lower cost alternatives for school facility financing through a leveraged public-private partnership program. Provides for school districts and community college districts. Creates the California Credit Enhancement Program Advisory Board and the California Credit Enhancement Account within the California School Finance Authority Fund. Amendments taken will:

  1. Specify that the purpose of the CCEP is to establish an account to insure or guarantee facility bonds issued by the CSFA on behalf of charter schools
  2. Require the CFSA to adopt specified regulations
  3. Specify that nothing in this bill shall be construed to require the CSFA or the state to deposit or appropriate funds for the purpose established by this bill
  4. Delete the Advisory Board and authorize CSFA to consult with subject matter experts in developing the regulations.

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 1248 - Chavez (R): Teachers: Permanent Status

Extends the probationary period for employees at districts with more than 250 average daily attendance (ADA) to three years and specifies instances where permanent status can be taken away.

Action:  Referred for Interim Study 4-3

AB 1258 - Chau (D): Elementary and Secondary Education: Computer Science

Establishes a Computer Science Start-Up Courses Grant Pilot program and a Computer Science Educator Training Grant Pilot program, for the purpose of providing grants to school districts to establish and maintain computer science courses and provide professional development for educators to teach computer science. Amendments taken will:

  1. Specify that the grant funds may be used for one-time purposes associated with the costs of establishing or expanding computer science courses
  2. Provide that the grant applications for both programs shall be on a form developed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) and that the form include, at a minimum: an itemized budget for the one-time use of the grant funds, an identification of local matching resources constituting a 50% match, and an agreement by the grant recipient to provide the SPI the data needed to complete the required report
  3. Add “students from groups historically underrepresented in the field of computer science” to the mentions of the students who are proposed to benefit from these programs in grant-making, program design, and reporting requirements
  4. Require the Start-Up Courses program require in its application a specific plan for the development of courses
  5. Amend the requirements of the report required to be submitted to the Legislature
  6. Require that the plan submitted as part of the application for the Educator Training Program be developed in consultation with teachers
  7. Delete provision requiring that the funds for this program be continuously appropriated, limit administrative costs to 5%, specify that the local matching requirement is 50% and that in-kind donations are eligible sources for the local match
  8. Define “sufficient funds” as enough funds to support at least two grants in at least one of the programs.

Action: Passed as Amended 6-0

AB 1426 - Levine (D): Charter Schools: Classroom-Based Instruction

Reduces, for specified charter schools, the amount of classroom-based instruction that must be offered and classroom-based attendance that must occur in order to receive full attendance-based funding. Amendments taken will strike the bill’s current contents and instead:

  1. Provide that the independent study portion of a blended learning program shall be subject to the existing funding determination process for independent study, for specified charter schools that offer no less than 60% and no more than 80% of the minimum required minutes of instruction as a classroom-based program
  2. Require the State Board of Education to adopt criteria for the determination of funding for blended learning charter schools that include facilities costs
  3. Provide that a blended learning charter school shall be deemed a classroom-based school for purposes of eligibility for specified facilities funding

Action: Passed as Amended 7-0

AB 1428 - Gray (D): California State Lottery: Education Finance

Requires the California State Lottery Commission to collect, and make publicly available on the commission’s website, information related to the separate lottery education accounts of each school district and county superintendent of schools.

Action: Passed 6-0; Consent

AB 1495 - Weber (D): Teachers: Evaluation

Requires the development of teacher evaluation procedures to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act. Provides the sources that may be used, if multiple measures of pupil progress, pupil academic growth, pupil achievement, and pupil outcomes are used for evaluations. Provides a school district may consider an employee's eligibility for professional development to assist an employee in areas of improvement. Requires the use of a specified number of rating levels of professional achievement.

Action: Failed 3-2

Erin Evans-Fudem, Legislative Counsel
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC