A bill to overhaul teacher evaluations in California was killed Thursday night on the eve of its final vote.
The bill's author, Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), issued a statement that said, in part:
“After working on this bill in a transparent and collaborative manner for more than two years, I could not in good [conscience] allow the proposed amendments to be voted on without a full public hearing. There would not be sufficient time for myself or the stakeholders I’ve been working with, to review the amendments that were being proposed. I believe this issue is too important to be decided at the last minute and in the dark of night."
Assembly Bill 5 had been headed for a final vote Friday. The Senate Education Committee had approved the legislation late Wednesday, despite fierce opposition from school districts and education advocates. Teacher unions were in support of the bill.
The move comes at a critical time for Democrats, who were trying to win teacher support for the Proposition 30 tax increase on the November ballot that would prevent deep cuts to public education and public safety.
Edgar Zazueta with L.A. Unified School District had said the bill undermines the district's efforts to establish teacher evaluations that include student scores on state standardized tests — a requirement of the recent Superior Court ruling in Doe v. Deasy.
“The fear is that it’s going to be a step backwards to what’s going on in Los Angeles,” Zazueta says.
But school districts, as well as the state PTA and educations groups — including EdVoice and Students First — argued AB5 would strip their authority over evaluation standards and greatly expand the collective bargaining authority of teachers’ unions.
In an effort to win over opponents, Fuentes had reinstated the statewide requirement that districts include student test scores in evaluations, but the influence of test scores would have had to be negotiated with teacher unions.