By Maureen Magee
With teacher employment rules high on the public agenda, a flurry of new bills has been introduced to the Legislature that would change how California educators are hired, fired and evaluated — even as a landmark legal dispute on the matter hangs in the balance.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, has been concerned about teacher tenure and evaluations since her days on the San Diego school board.
“I was consistently told you cannot evaluate a teacher based on student performance — it was gospel. And then I found out the Stull Act required it, but that no one did it,” Weber said. “For a teacher, to be judged ‘in need of improvement’ in their mind is the kiss of death. I want to get at that because to be in need of improvement is to be human.”
With AB 1495, Weber’s bill would add a third teacher rating of “needs improvement” to the state’s minimum requirement for evaluations. It would also call on districts to put teachers who are not rated fully satisfactory first in line for professional coaching, and eliminate provisions that put them at risk of dismissal or other adverse actions.