Monday, October 24, 2005

Real School Administrators oppose Prop.74

October 21, 2005
Superintendents join rest of school community in flunking governor’s measure.
An organization of California’s 58 county schools superintendents has voted to oppose Proposition 74. In a statewide vote last week, the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) rejected Proposition 74. California’s school superintendents joined the school boards, state superintendent of public instruction and teachers in urging a “No” vote.

“Proposition 74 is not reform,” said Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, one of the CCSESA members who voted to oppose the governor’s “ill-considered” measure, said, “the governor's ill-considered Proposition 74 is a simpleminded proposal that contradicts everything we know about making better schools.”

Jordan said Prop. 74 would “stifle young teachers and drive some of our best and brightest teachers out of the profession. If you had to devise a formula to guarantee that the old guard will strangle at birth all renewal and innovation in the system, you couldn't do better than by instituting Prop. 74.”

Needing 100,000 new teachers, Jordan said superintendents voting to oppose Prop. 74 concluded it would make a teaching career less attractive. “Becoming a teacher is difficult enough. In the last few years, the state has raised the bar considerably. Now is not the time to make entry into the career even more burdensome,” said Jordan.

Under current law, teachers can be fired at any time for a number of reasons, including unprofessional conduct or unsatisfactory performance in the classroom. “The governor is basing his campaign on stories about isolated examples. Existing state law already allows administrators to fire bad teachers for unsatisfactory performance or unprofessional conduct, no matter how long they've been teaching. “Teacher ’tenure’ is really nothing more than the right to due process,” said Jordan.

“Prop. 74 was written without the input of informed educators or administrators. It disregards proven reforms and adds new complications and costs. Implementing Prop. 74 would costs tens of millions in administrative overhead, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. That's money not spent on reducing class size or buying textbooks and supplies,” Jordan said.

“Prop. 74 is not only a deterrent to recruitment, it's a direct attack on thousands of young California teachers who are already in the system. It would apply retroactively, stripping due process rights from teachers in their third, fourth and fifth years of teaching.

Jordan pointed out that “only one state, Missouri, one of the poorest and most struggling state school systems in the nation, has a teacher probation period as long as five years.”

She said she and other superintendents concluded that “Prop. 74 is bad for our schools, our teachers and our students.”

The California School Boards Association voted to oppose Prop 74 because it will “impose new unreimbursable costs, add to and complicate collective bargaining, create an environment for more grievances and take away districts’ ability to define unsatisfactory performance for themselves.”

The League of Women Voters of California voted to oppose Prop. 74 because of its fatal flaw that retroactively strips due process rights from 18,000 third, fourth and fifth-year teachers who have already completed their probation period.

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