Teacher Misconduct Bill a Test Case for California Legislature

In the wake of Mark Berndt and the Miramonte Elementary School child abuse case, California state senator Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles) introduced SB 1530 last March, which would have made moderate adjustments to suspension and dismissal procedures for teachers accused of “serious or egregious unprofessional conduct.” If you think I’m understating the scope of the bill, read the text for yourself or the summary of the Association of California School Administrators.

The bill passed the Senate easily, but was defeated in the Assembly Education Committee in a particularly underhanded way. Five members of the 11-member committee voted “aye,” two voted “no,” and four Democrats didn’t vote, leaving the bill one vote short. This was due to the efforts of the California Teachers Association, which viewed the legislation as a flaming overreaction fanned by troglodyte national media outlets like, um, Anderson Cooper of CNN.

Padilla vowed he would introduce the bill again during this session, and he has done so (SB 10). Its provisions are essentially the same as those of SB 1530. What happens to SB 10 will be an indication of what kind of legislative session we’ll have. Will it pass? Will it be watered down with amendments? Will it die quietly in committee? Or will legislators at least be honest and record a “no” vote when they want it defeated?

It’s all a matter of relative degree, of course. We’re only going to get a CTA-sanctioned education agenda. This will just tell us how brazen they’ll be about it.