Last Wednesday, I was invited to Sacramento with the reform seeking education group, Students First, to help push Senate Bill 441 through the Senate Ed Committee. In the end, 4 Senators voted yes. 4 no. 1 abstained. The bill will be heard again in three days.
The measure was quite modest.
1) Evaluate tenured teachers every 3rd year rather than every 5th year.
2) Create a 4 tiered rating system rather than 2 tiers commonly found today.
3) Allow parents to give input into the creation of the new evaluation system.
4) Allow student testing / results to become part of the overall evaluation.
Though, 40 or so teachers, parents, and community members testified on the bill's behalf, the 2 representatives from CTA and CFT were able to spew their classic fog of fear and confusion into the mic and with CTA's/CFT's campaign donations at risk some Senators were pushed or pulled to the no vote. The "no voting" Senators were either logically incompetent and took a vote based off their true belief, or they took a vote based off their future financial integrity.
Our current system of evaluation is illogical, this bill would have nudged it a tad forward into the right direction.
This bill lost due to who was supporting it and due to who was opposing it.
I must say though, I was quite pleased to have witnessed firsthand the architects of our downfall. I don't say this because this bill lost. This bill was good, but it wasn't the lone savior of education.
Here is what I witnessed that gave me such a negative opinion: Members of Senate Ed Committee didn't even listen to the testimony. They either side talked or walked out of the room for a good chunk of time. They would then re-enter, look around, ask their fellow Senator where they were in the agenda, and then get back to day dreaming.
Why even show up to Sacramento? Just text your yes or no vote from the comfort of your home.