Columnist claims lawmakers are racing to please teachers union

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Golden State is filled with powerful, well-connected people, but few wield as much influence over the state’s Legislature as the California Teachers Association.

Susan BonillaThe teacher union is so powerful that two state lawmakers who are eager to climb the political ladder have sponsored union-friendly, anti-student legislation in hopes of winning the CTA’s favor – and financial support – for their future races, opines Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters.

One of the ambitious lawmakers, Democrat Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, recently succeeded in passing her bill into law.

“Bonilla’s Assembly Bill 484, signed (by Gov. Jerry Brown) this week, suspends the state’s academic testing program, thereby suspending creation of test-based Academic Performance Index scores for the state’s schools and undercutting the basis for parents to take control of low-performing schools from districts,” Walters writes.

The CTA likes Bonilla’s new law because it temporarily frees teachers from being held accountable for their students’ academic success. It also eliminated data necessary for parents to take over schools, and replace teachers, under the state’s “Parent Trigger” law.

If Bonilla is fortunate, her CTA friends will remember her “good” work if and when she announces a run for the state Senate.

Not to be outdone, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan is offering union-backed legislation that, on its surface, reforms the process for firing teachers who abuse children.

The union has already killed another bill that would have truly expedited the firing process. Walters says Buchanan’s Assembly Bill 375 would only make “cosmetic changes to the process” for firing abusive teachers, and could end up making it more cumbersome than ever.

That’ll be a feather in Buchanan’s hat if and when she seeks union support for a state Senate run.

The kicker to all this is that Bonilla and Buchanan appear interested in the same state Senate seat, which will open up in three years, Walters notes.

No wonder the pair appear to be in a race to please the CTA, even if it means leaving teachers unaccountable and keeping pedophiles in the classroom.

“Both bills demonstrate the immense influence that the teacher unions enjoy in the Legislature and the lengths to which ambitious politicians will go to endear themselves to the powerful union,” he writes.

“No matter what happens, Bonilla and Buchanan have shown their obsequiousness to the CTA. And as they look forward to a Senate contest, that may be the important thing.”

By Ben Velderman at EAGnews.org

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