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Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

3 Teacher Requirement Reduction Bills Killed Before Final Floor Votes

COVID-19 bill requirements, Senate stall ends push for new requirements until next year

By Evan Symon, September 3, 2020 2:11 am

On Monday, a trio of bills aimed at simplifying and reducing the number of tests needed to become a teacher in California failed before getting to final floor votes in the Legislature, keeping the current 4 test requirement system in place for new California teachers for the near future.

A push to change teacher testing, requirements in California

Assemblyman Ash Kalra. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Assembly Bill 1982, authored by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-Paso Robles), Senate Bill 614, authored by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), and Assembly Bill 2485, authored by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), would have significantly altered teaching requirements in California.

AB 1982 would have exempted the California Basic Educational Skills Test from being required until the end of 2023, instead replacing it with coursework from accredited Universities, as well as from other education based tests such as SAT and ACT scores. AB 2485 would have offered a similar coursework replacement for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers, with expiration also occurring on December 31, 2023. SB 614 would also remove a test, Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, and have the new requirement be a basic writing skills test until July 2024.

Senator Susan Rubio (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

The bills were designed to shift requirements to be largely test-based to be more experienced based through what was learned in college and through student-teaching. The bills would also address the large teacher shortage in California by temporarily changing standards and skip “antiquated and expensive” tests.

“Teachers are better prepared to teach our children when they have real-life, hands-on experience, which is what the bill intended to provide to teacher candidates, in a real-time classroom setting,” said Senator Rubio last week. “Doing what we have done for over 20 years is not working. We need to do what’s best for students.”

Assemblyman Cunningham specifically addressed the teaching shortage.

“California’s teacher shortage affects school districts of every size, everywhere in our state,” explained Assemblyman Cunningham. “Given the shortage, we should be reducing barriers to entry into the profession. The state shouldn’t needlessly force successful college students to take a costly test that serves more as a wall than a gate.”

Bipartisan supported bills outlined the need for more teachers in California

While education bills are often divisive, all three bills had largely bipartisan backing, with the authors and co-authors from both parties throughout the state.

They also enjoyed widespread, nearly unanimous support. AB 1982 passed the Assembly 75-0 in June, with SB 614 getting a 38-0 vote in the Senate a month earlier. AB 2485 passed by an even greater amount, 78-0, also in June.

“California needs teachers badly,” Analisa Fuentes, a teacher who has also worked as a middleman for teaching unions and school districts, said in a Globe interview. “Parents want more teachers to reduce class sizes. Unions want more teachers to bolster members. Lawmakers want more teachers because they’ve been hearing from everyone how districts are hurting for more. Plus, with COVID-19 causing many early retirements, the need was greater than ever.”

“The bills got support for everyone by fine tuning the requirements for new teachers and everyone was ready for these to come up. But extenuating circumstances killed them.”

AB 1982 and AB 2485 were expected to move during the summer, but Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), the Senate education chairwoman, stopped them because they didn’t directly relate to COVID-19.

SB 614 also faltered due to the tightened session knocking out numerous bills. A stall by Senate Republicans over allowing debate to continue also helped stop the bills from being advanced if any last minute push had been attempted like with other bills.

The bill failures will allow the current system of 4 tests, the California Basic Educational Skills Test, the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, the California Subject Examinations for Teachers, and the California Teaching Performance Assessment, to continue until at least early next year.

All three bill authors have said that they are currently considering reintroducing their bills during the next session in early 2021.

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2 thoughts on “3 Teacher Requirement Reduction Bills Killed Before Final Floor Votes

  1. How about we get rid of the life sucking teacher’s unions first. Then we get the teachers back to teaching the “three r’s” instead of extreme sex education and anti-American/family indoctrination. The elephant in the room is getting bigger by the day. It is clear that our education system needs a total reboot. Getting the Universities that are even more corrupt to give them coursework replacement is putting the cat in charge of the mice. It seems that our representatives have another agenda at work here instead of addressing the real problems in our school system.

  2. The teachers and their unions are working themselves out of a job. There is a paradigm shift occurrring in California families as they see the truth about the their beloved “teachers.’ Parents are waking up to the fact that the teachers don’t really care about their children after all. The teachers and their unions only care about two things: money and power. Alas, woe is me! What a shock! So now parents are thinking about the reality that the only ones who really care about their children’ education is them: the parents! And they’re putting feet to those thoughts. Homeschool, pods, micro schools, private schools, some charter schools (without union teachers, that is), independent online schools: Those are the places our parents are seeking out now. Watch and see after the COVID. Homeschooling will quadruple. Micro schools and pods will become a lasting and growing trend, and the public schools will decay and languish away. About time.

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