FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2016
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Employee Unions Reject Seniority Related Transparency
Senate Education Committee Rejects Teacher Reassignment Legislation
SACRAMENTO: Members of the Senate Education Committee have taken action to defeat legislation authored by Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), which would have required the California Department of Education (CDE) to keep track of the number of teachers who are reassigned to other classrooms or released due to seniority, a process known as “bumping.” The bill not only required school districts in California to report all “bumping” activities, it also would have required the CDE to keep a list on its website.
The largest amount of opposition to SB 1224 came from the California Teachers Association (CTA) and other school unions. California Professional Firefighters registered their opposition to the Huff measure as well.
“Over the years, I have made a number of attempts to modify the process by which teachers are laid off or reassigned,” said Senator Huff during the committee hearing. “Such decisions based upon seniority alone do not best serve our kids because they are quality blind decisions.”
Under current California law, the seniority-based layoff or “Last-In, First-Out” (“LIFO”) statute forces administrators to let go of passionate and motivating newer teachers and keep ineffective teachers instead, just because they have seniority. When classrooms and programs are consolidated during tough budget years, these newer, younger teachers are bumped first. These decisions are often only based on date of hire. This puts new teachers at a disadvantage and results in a discernible degradation in the continuity of teaching, negatively impacting students.
Without knowing how many teachers are bumped in any given year, lawmakers are left with an absence of helpful data that could be used to assess how the LIFO statute affects student learning and classroom achievement, as well as teacher employment.
“This bill would not have changed any behavior under current California law, but would have facilitated the gathering of information to better equip legislators to make informed decisions related to education,” said Senator Huff. “Even a watered down bill like this could not get approval from the powerful school unions and the education committee they control.”
Senator Huff represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.