So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

A graduate reacts with mixed feelings to student loan rate freeze

Pile of money

Tracy O./Flickr Creative Commons

For Orin Davis, 30, a freeze on his student loan interest rate is, generally, a good thing. After all, it would mean a small savings on the more than six figures in debt he incurred as a PhD student at Claremont Graduate University.

Davis studied organizational behavior and positive psychology at Claremont. He started his PhD in 2007, at the height of the market. By 2010, when he graduated, the economy and employment prospects had plummeted.

So Davis left California and headed East. Davis is now a positive psychology researcher and consultant in Boston. Though he has followed the news on the efforts to freeze student loan rates, Davis said it was hard to get clear information about what that would actually mean for him.

Davis said his feelings on the bill were mixed.

"On the one hand, my wallet finds it rather convenient," Davis said. "OK, basically I’m getting to keep more of my money...and yet, the thing I’m left wondering is, when is the other shoe going to drop?"

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SB1530 to speed firing of abusive teachers dies in state Assembly committee

Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images

Parents and children protest outside Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, California, February 6, 2012.

bill that would have made it easier to fire a teacher accused of sexually abusing a student died in the California Assembly Education Committee this evening on what one L.A. educator called a "remarkably tragic day for students," after fierce opposition from the California Teachers Association.

The failure of SB1530, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima, ends all three attempts at similar reform this legislative session introduced after a spate of sexual misconduct cases in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The bill would have given school boards the last word in firing teachers accused of "serious and egregious misconduct" — defined as offenses involving drugs or sexual conduct or violence toward children. 

In these instances, what had been decided by a three-person panel called the Commission on Professional Competence would have become an "advisory" decision by an administrative law judge. Evidence more than four years old could have been used in the investigation and during proceedings for such a case.

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California lawmakers discuss bill to speed teacher dismissal

Protestors march near Miramonte Elementa

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Protestors march near Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012.

A bill that would make it easier to dismiss a teacher accused of misconduct will be heard by the California Assembly Education Committee today and is being met by strong opposition from the California Teachers Association.

SB1530, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima, would give school boards the last word in firing teachers accused of "serious and egregious misconduct" — offenses of sex, drugs and violence against children.

In these instances what was decided by a three-person panel called the Commission on Professional Competence would be an "advisory" decision by an administrative law judge. Evidence more than four years old could be used in the investigation and during proceedings for such misconduct crimes.

The bill is one of three that remains alive after lawmakers responded to a call by the L.A. Unified school board to change state law governing the dismissal process after a spate of sexual misconduct cases at LAUSD schools.

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Only one teacher dismissal bill remains alive at state Legislature

California Stock Photo

Bill Ferris/Flickr.com

California State Assembly floor

Only one of three bills recently introduced in the state Legislature that aim to make it easier to dismiss teachers is alive today, and may continue on to change state law.

AB2028, sponsored by Republican state Assemblymen Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita and Steve Knight of the Antelope Valley, died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today — the end of the fiscal deadline.

The bill, which was significantly amended last month, would eliminate the four-year limitation on introducing evidence to be used in proceedings and allow the dismissal process to begin during the summer.

AB2028 passed out of committee in its amended form last month, but was put "on suspense" in the Appropriations Committee because it cost more than $150,000; a hearing was held today to take bills off suspense, but AB2028 died without a vote, said Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the Office of Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.

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Another bill to speed firing on teacher misconduct passes through committee

Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt

Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt was charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on children. His case has led to multiple bills introduced by the state legislators to expedite the teacher dismissal process.

Another bill that aims to make it easier to dismiss teachers passed out of the California Assembly Education Committee this afternoon with amendments that significantly narrow and strip away the bulk of its reforms. 

AB2028, sponsored by Republican state Assemblymen Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita and Steve Knight of the Antelope Valley, would eliminate the four-year limitation on introducing evidence to be used in proceedings and allow the dismissal process to begin during the summer.

The bill as originally proposed matched resolutions on employee dismissal approved by the L.A. Unified school board in March, said Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the Office of Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway. The board approved the resolutions, which call on legislators to make changes to the education code, after a spate of reported sexual misconduct cases earlier this year.

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