Thursday, September 4, 2014

California Education Code & Teacher Retention Criteria

Long Beach Unified School District in conjunction with the Teacher's Association of Long Beach based their Teacher Layoffs on Section 44955 of California State Education Code pertaining to Reduction In Number of Employees. Their case for showing preferential treatment to those with Single Subject Credentials (especially towards those with a Math or Science emphasis) and Multiple Subject teachers with a Special Education Credential is examined below:

(d) (1) A school district may deviate from from terminating a certificated employee in order of seniority for either of the following reasons: The district demonstrates a specific need for personnel to teach a specific course or course of study and that the certificated employee has special training and experience necessary to teach that course of study or to provide those services, which others with more seniority do not possess.

A March 22, 2012 Review of the Teacher Layoff Process in California from the California State Legislator's Office gave the results of a survey on "skipping" criteria used by several Districts. It was explained, "State law allows school districts to retain certain junior employees if the district can prove certain types of trained and experienced teachers meet a specific need within the district. The most common types of teachers protected under this skipping criteria are special education teachers and language specialists (see the light bars in Figure 6).

Skipping Criteria Used By Schools Districts To Retain Junior Teachers

Although there were many very qualified teachers like me with a Master's Degree in Education and California State Bilingual Teaching Certificate (BCLAD) (affording me the title of Language Specialist),  LBUSD's emphasis was clearly on the Mathematics, Science, and Special Education "courses of study." As a result, junior teachers with credentials in these three specialized areas were able to "skip" over senior teachers who had been employed in the District longer than they had.

Additionally, special consideration was given to teaching AP (Advanced Placement) courses and completing a 1 day AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) class, both geared towards Middle and High School students, and GATE (Gifted and Talented Education). Can you imagine a 1 day AVID class taking precedence over a BLAD Certificate that takes years of study while acquiring a second language? It's almost unbelievable, yet so sadly true!

Finally, Single Subject teachers without those course qualifications who also had Multiple Subject Credentials (Multiple Credentials) were given "extra" weight in LBUSD's layoff criteria. As a result, teachers holding solely a Multiple Subjects Credential with less than 8 years experience, who taught the youngest students in Long Beach Unified School District, took the greatest "hit." 

Not only our teachers suffered due to LBUSD's massive layoffs, our students were also affected when class sizes increased from 20 to 30 students in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade and up to 35 students in every 4th and 5th Grade classroom in September of 2011!  Can you imagine trying to pacify 30 Kindergartners on the first day of school with no teacher's aide?  "It ain't easy!"

Take Heed Lest Our Youth Become Mere Numbers!
Besides the heart-wrenching feeling affecting every Reduction in Force (RIF) teacher, students have been left with overcrowded classrooms and less individual attention. This layoff process, beginning in 2010 and still continuing into 2014, has clearly not been beneficial to anyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment