The Contra-Costa County State Senate Race (7th dist) is getting interesting.

Fascinating: a state senate candidate’s friends have insured that I will not vote for him.

An advert put out by JobsPAC, in support of Steven Glazer, complains that Susan Bonilla voted for AB1619, 2014. The ad carries the teaser, ‘ “Why does Susan Bonilla WANT US TO HAVE BAD TEACHERS” ‘ (sic). It claims “bad teachers are holding our kids back….” and that “Susan Bonilla voted for a bill (AB 1619, 2014) that would preserve the status quo – where firing bad teachers is nearly impossible, and moving up as a good teacher takes years.” They even referred to it as “EXTREME LEGISLATION” in all caps and a scary looking font.

Yes, the bill pretty much preserves the status quo, thank goodness. This is just more of the same “reform” aimed at crippling education. It is not “nearly impossible” to fire bad teachers – it is nearly impossible to fire teachers without due process. And “moving up as a good teacher takes years” is exactly how you create a good teacher.

Due process is that inconvenient little thing that means you can’t fire someone because you don’t like them. You have to do your homework and show that they 1) did what you say they did; 2) what they did was bad for the students; and 3) that it is part of a pattern of behavior that has persisted in spite of attempts at correction. The opposite condition leaves the door open to abuse by those in authority, such as firing (or threatening to fire) the teacher that caught you with your hand in the cookie jar or who wasn’t interested in that romantic evening you suggested. Due process is a check on power. You and I should be wary of permitting anyone to be without that protection – we might be next.

A teacher is not born, but built. There are people with the temperament to be good teachers, but they don’t start life with any skills. Building teaching skills is not complete with four years of undergrad work and two years of graduate work. Those are skills that grow over decades of experience by continuous training and mentoring. And, guess who turn out to be the best mentors? Teachers, of course.

The Chamber of Commerce, who created JobsPAC, are not educators. They are pretty good at helping their members retain more of their profit, but don’t count on them to understand diddly about how good education works.

Here is the state Campaign Finance Page, for further digging. I have not delved into it; I leave that as a project for the interested student.

Go visit Diane Ravitch’s Blog for more meat. I highly recommend her to you.

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