Alex Padilla, a Democratic California state senator, has sponsored S.B. 1530, which would make it easier for school districts to dismiss teachers accused of sex, violence, or drug offenses involving children. The bill was a response to a scandal at Miramonte Elementary School, where the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) paid a suspected child molester $40,000 in a settlement when it tried to fire him.
The bill passed the state senate with bipartisan support, but an assembly committee stopped it. How could it do such a thing? An editorial in the San Bernardino County Sun gives the answer:
Debate in the Assembly Education Committee took on an ominous tone when the opposition — teachers union officials and a busload of local teachers — took the floor. They said there already are sufficient rules to protect children, that the bill lacks due process, and that the bill was meant to give cover to the LAUSD officials who are to blame for the recent Miramonte scandal. Someone even called it un-American.
It’s hard to overestimate the power that the CTA [California Teachers Association] has in Sacramento. The group is one of the largest political donors in the state, and when the group stands up against legislation, it usually dies or has a very hard road to success.
The bill needed six votes to pass the committee. It got five.
Shame on the Democrats who either voted no — Tom Ammiano of San Francisco and Joan Buchanan of Alamo — or abstained — Mike Eng of Monterey Park and Das Williams of Santa Barbara.
Padilla said last week that he hasn’t given up hope on this bill. Although the committee is not scheduled to meet again this legislative session, it could do so if there were sufficient pressure to reopen debate and hold another vote on this important bill, he said. We urge lawmakers across the state to counter the pressure of the teachers unions and pass this important bill before one more student is harmed.