Currently the State Attorney is reviewing an initiative for the November ballot, the High Quality Teacher's Act of 2014. It was submitted by Matt Davis and appears that Students First is the sponsor. I have copied portions of the submittal below. With the Vergara case to start this month, there now appears to a second front in an all out assault on teacher tenure and LIFO.
Let me know what you think about this.
This Act shall be known and may be cited as the High Quality Teachers Act of
Section 2. Findings and Declarations.
The People of the State of California find and declare as follows:
(a) All California children deserve access to a high quality education.
(b) A high quality education begins with making sure our children have a high
quality teacher in every classroom. Students of high quality teachers are more likely to
go to college, earn higher salaries, and have lower rates of teen pregnancies. However,
California currently ranks near the bottom among states when it comes to identifying,
retaining, and promoting high quality teachers.
(c) For too long, California has gone backwards when it comes to providing a
high quality education to our children-the state's dropout rate is one ofthe highest in
the country, our K-12 schools badly underperform in terms of student achievement, and
California's low-income and minority children are disproportionately impacted by the
decline in California's public education system.
(d) Today, there are plenty of high quality teachers available, but local school
districts are not able to make sure all of our children have access to a high quality
teacher because local districts are currently forced to retain teachers based on how long
they have been on the job rather than based on whether or not a teacher is doing a good
job of teaching in the classroom.
(e) California is just one of eleven states that bases teacher layoff and
reappointment decisions primarily on how long someone has been teaching, which led
to a finding by the nonpartisan, independent Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) that
such a system can lead to a "lower quality of the overall teacher workforce." (LAO, "A
Review of the Teacher Layoff Process in California,"Mar. 2012, p. 17.) California needs
to follow the lead of states like Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee, and several others
and put in place a system which identifies and retains teachers based mainly on an
objective, comprehensive, and fair review of whether the teacher is doing a good job of
teaching children in the classroom.
(f) Teachers are more than just educators. They are role models that children
look to for examples of civic and moral standards. At six to eight hours a day, five days
per week, a teacher is poised to become the most influential person in a child's life after
his or her parents. Much of what a high quality teacher "teaches" is not detailed on a
syllabus. As positive role models, high quality teachers also set good examples inside
and outside the classroom of how young people should strive to be law-abiding
individuals and develop good character, integrity, responsibility, respect for others,
honesty, and trustworthiness. As future leaders of our communities, our state, and our
nation, it is imperative that our children have role models who conduct themselves
appropriately both inside and outside the classroom. It is a self-evident truth that
teachers convicted of violent, serious, or sexual crimes cannot be high quality teachers
because they have fundamentally and irrevocably failed in their duty to act as good role
models for our children and therefore must be immediately and permanently dismissed.
(g) A safe learning environment is guaranteed by our State Constitution, which
declares that every person, including our children, has a constitutional right to be safe
and secure in our public and private schools. (California Constitution, article I, section
28(a)(7).) Teachers convicted of a violent, serious, or sexual crime cannot be high
quality teachers because they undermine our children's constitutional right to a safe
learning environment. A teacher who threatens the constitutional rights of our children,
or who creates an environment where parents reasonably worry about the criminal
background of their child's teacher, does not possess the character and trustworthiness
necessary to qualify as a high quality teacher.
Section 3· Statement of Purpose.
The purpose of this measure is to provide every child in California with a high
quality teacher so that they can reach their full potential regardless of economic or
Section 4· Section 44955 of the Education Code is amended to read:
44955. (a) No permanent employee shall be deprived of his or her position for
causes other than those specified in Sections 44907 and 44923 and Article 3.1, and
Sections 44932 to 44947, inclusive, and no probationary employee shall be deprived of
his or her position for cause other than as specified in Article 3.1 and Sections 44948 to
(b )[Jl Whenever in any school year the average daily attendance in all of the
schools of a district for the first six months in which school is in session shall have
declined below the corresponding period of either of the previous two school years,
whenever the governing board determines that attendance in a district will decline in
the following year as a result of the termination of an interdistrict tuition agreement as
defined in Section 46304, whenever a particular kind of service is to be reduced or
discontinued not later than the beginning of the following school year, or whenever the
amendment of state law requires the modification of curriculum, and when in the
opinion of the governing board of the district it shall have become necessary by reason
of any of these conditions to decrease the number of permanent employees in the
district, the governing board may terminate the services of not more than a
corresponding percentage of the certificated employees ofthe district, permanent as
well as probationary, at the close of the school year. Except as othenvise provided by
statute, the seFViees of no permanent employee may be terminated under the provisions
of this section ..... hile any probationary employee, or any other employee vvith less
seniority, is retained to render a service 'Nhieh said permanent employee is certificated
and competent to render.
(gl In computing a decline in average daily attendance for purposes of this
section for a newly formed or reorganized school district, each school of the district shall
be deemed to have been a school of the newly formed or reorganized district for both of
the two previous school years.
As be'h\'een employees who first rendered paid service to the district on the same date,
the governing board shall determine the order of termination solely on the basis of
needs of the district and the students thereof. Upon the request of any employee TNhose
order of termination is so determined, the governing board shall furnish in VtTiting no
later than five days prior to the commencement of the hearing held in accordance vvith
Section 44949, a statement of the specific criteria used in determining the order of
termination and the application of the criteria in ranking each employee relative to the
other employees in the group. This requirement that the go~;erning board provide, on
request, a "V\'Fitten statement of reasons for determining the order of termination shall
not be interpreted to give affected employees any legal right or interest that vvould not
exist vmhout such a requirement.
(3)(A) liVhen terminating the services of a certificated employee or employees .
pursuant to paragraph (1) who are assigned to positions as classroom teachers, the
order in which certificated employees shall be terminated shall be based on
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, performance shall be iudgedprimarily
upon the evaluation and assessment of each certificated employee conducted pursuant
to Article 11 (Section 44660 to Section 44665) of Chapter 3 ofthis Part. Performance
evaluation and assessment ratings shall be averaged based on the three most recent
years ofperformance evaluation and assessment data. In the event that three years of
performance evaluation and assessment data does not exist for an employee, the
performance evaluation and assessment rating shall be averaged based on the two
most recent years ofperformance evaluation and assessment data. In the event that
two years ofperformance evaluation and assessment data does not exist for an
employee, the performance evaluation and assessment rating shall be based on the
most recent performance evaluation and assessment data.
(C) Under no circumstances shall a certificated employee with a higher
performance evaluation and assessment rating be terminated before a certificated
employee with a lower performance evaluation and assessment rating.
(D)(i) liVhen two or more certificated employees assigned to positions as
classroom teachers receive identical performance evaluation and assessment rating
scores pursuant to Article 11 (Section 44660 to Section 44665) of Chapter 3 oft his Part,
then the order of termination shall be based on the specific needs of the schools within
the school district and the students thereat 'When required to choose pursuant to this
clause between two or more employees receiving identical performance evaluation
and assessment rating scores, the governing board shall identify the specific needs of
the schools within the school district or the students thereofthat justify the order of
termination. which shall be provided in writing to the affected employees.
(ii) 'When two or more certificated employees assigned to positions as classroom
teachers receive identical performance evaluation and assessment rating scores
pursuant to Article 11 (Section 44660 to Section 4466.1:\) of Chapter 3 of this Part and
are not distinguishable on the basis of the specific needs of the schools within the school
district or the students thereof. then the order of termination shall be based on
seniority, with an employee with less seniority being terminated before an employee
with more seniority. 'When required to choose pursuant to this clause between two or
more employees receiving identical performance evaluation and assessment rating
scores on the basis of seniority, the governing board shall provide an explanation of
why the employees were not distinguishable on the basis of the specific needs ofthe
schools within the school district or the students thereof. which shall be provided in
writing to the affected employees. The governing board shall develop guidelines to
govern situations involving employees who first rendered paid service to the district
on the same date and thus have equal seniority.
(iii) The use of seniority pursuant to this subparagraph shall represent the sole
and exclusive exception to subdivision (d).
(c)(1l Notice of such termination of services shall be given before the 15th of May
in the manner prescribed in Section 44949, and services of such employees shall be
terminated in the inverse of the order in which they vvere employed, as determined by
the board in accordance vmh the prm'isions of Sections 44844 and 44845. In the event
that a permanent or probationary employee is not given the notices and a right to a
hearing as provided for in Section 44949, he or she shall be deemed reemployed for the
ensuing school year.
[gl The governing board shall make assignments and reassignments in such a
manner that employees shall be retained to render any service which their seniority and
qualifications entitle them to render. However, prior to assigning or reassigning any
certificated employee to teach a subject which he or she has not previously taught, and
for which he or she does not have a teaching credential or which is not within the
employee's major area of postsecondary study or the equivalent thereof, the governing
board shall require the employee to pass a subject matter competency test in the