By JEFF FROST
—In the late evening of September 30, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. completed his actions on the bills that reached the governor’s office before the 2016 legislative session ended. During the course of 2016, 1,059 bills reached Governor Brown, and he signed 898 of them. The governor vetoed 159 bills, and he allowed two to become law without his signature.
According to an October 2 Los Angeles Times column, this year’s veto rate of 15% is the highest of Governor Brown’s second tenure in office, and it is slightly higher than his six-year average veto rate of 13%. In a news quote, the governor indicated that he would have been inclined to veto more bills but acknowledged that “he needs to get along with the legislature.” As a part of this process, the governor did sign three bills that CATESOL supports. These bills include:
Guidance on Supporting EL Students With Disabilities
AB 2785 (Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop a manual providing guidance to local educational agencies (LEAs) on identifying and supporting English learners with disabilities. Specifically, AB 2785 will do the following:
1. Require, on or before July 1, 2018, the CDE to develop a manual providing guidance to LEAs on identifying and supporting ELs who qualify for special education services;
2. States that the goal of the manual is to provide state guidance to educators on the identification and support of ELs with disabilities and to promote a collaborative approach among teachers, school administrators, other personnel, and parents in determining the most appropriate academic placements and supports for these pupils;
3. Require the CDE, in developing the manual, to review manuals produced on this topic by other states and to consult with a stakeholder group comprising experts and practitioners who have expertise or experience in either special education, English learner education, or both. The bill will require the manual to include all of the following topics:
a) Guidance for accurately identifying English learners with disabilities, including guidance on avoiding the over-identification and under-identification of these students;
b) Information on second language acquisition and progress;
c) A sample pre-referral or intervention program;
d) Guidance on referral processes;
e) Guidance on the use of assessments, including the use of multiple measures as well as assessment accommodations for both language and disability; and
f) Guidance on the development of individualized education programs for English learners.
Community College Part-Time Faculty
AB 1690 (Jose Medina, D-Riverside) requires California Community College (CCC) districts to have collective bargaining agreements with part-time faculty. More specifically, the bill will require community college districts that do not have a collective bargaining agreement with part-time faculty in effect as of January 1, 2017, to commence negotiations with exclusive representatives for part-time, temporary faculty regarding specified terms and conditions, as follows:
a) Provides upon initial hire, the requirements for the evaluation of part-time faculty members, as specified, including, but not necessarily limited to, a contract or regular faculty peer evaluator who has expertise in the subject matter of the part-time, temporary faculty member’s assignment.
b) Require the evaluation of part-time faculty members at least once every six semesters or nine quarters of service, exclusive of summer and intersession terms.
c) Requires the placement on a seniority list for assignments, following six semesters or nine quarters of satisfactory service, as specified. The seniority for all assignments shall be determined based on the first date of hire at the applicable college and seniority lists shall be by campus unless otherwise locally negotiated between the community college district and the exclusive representative for part-time, temporary faculty.
d) Maintains the faculty member’s workload for semester 7 or quarter 10 and beyond and as new assignments become available due to growth or attrition, these assignments shall be offered in seniority order to those part-time, temporary faculty members who have qualified to be placed on the seniority list, as specified, and previously successfully completed that same assignment. Provides that these assignments may be made up to a maximum annualized load, exclusive of summer and intersession terms, in the range of 60-67% of a full-time equivalent load.
e) Provides that in cases in which a reduction in assignment needs to occur due to program needs, budget constraints, or more contract faculty hires, the reduction shall occur first from among those part-time, temporary faculty members who have not yet qualified to be placed on the seniority list, and thereafter in reverse seniority order (i.e., use of “last in, first out” for reductions in assignments), as specified. Provides that each new assignment successfully completed shall be added to the part-time, temporary faculty member seniority list.
f) Provides that the procedures governing refusal or rejection of offered assignments, diminution or loss of seniority rights, and additional leave or break-in-service provisions shall be locally negotiated between the community college district and the exclusive representative for part-time faculty.
g) Requires that in cases in which a part-time faculty member, subsequent to qualifying to be placed on the seniority list, receives a less than satisfactory evaluation, as defined, the faculty member shall be provided a written plan of remediation with concrete suggestions for improvement, as specified. Provides that the faculty member shall be evaluated again the following semester and if the outcome is less than satisfactory, the faculty member shall lose all seniority rights and may be dismissed at the discretion of the district. Provides that appeal and grievance rights and procedures, if any, shall be subject to local collective bargaining.
h) Provides that in all cases, part-time faculty assignments are temporary in nature, contingent on enrollment and funding, and subject to program changes, and no part-time faculty member has a reasonable assurance of continued employment at any point, as specified.
Community College Part-Time Faculty
SB 1379 (Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia) will require California Community College districts (CCD) to have collective bargaining agreements with part-time faculty that include:
1. Requires, as a condition of receiving funds allocated for the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) in the annual budget act, on or after July 1, 2017, any community college districts that do not have a collective bargaining agreement with part-time, temporary faculty in effect as of January 1, 2017, to commence negotiations regarding the rights of those faculty, as specified.
2. Establishes legislative intent that the rights of part-time, temporary faculty, as specified in this bill, shall be included as part of the usual and customary negotiations between the CCD and the exclusive representative for part-time, temporary faculty.
3. Establishes legislative intent that the CCD establish minimum standards for the terms of reemployment preference for part-time, temporary faculty through the negotiation process that complies with all of the following:
a) The standards include all of the following
• The length of time the faculty have served at the college or CCD;
• The number of courses faculty have taught at the college or CCD;
• The evaluations of faculty required pursuant to existing law, and any other related methods of evaluation that can be reliably used to assess educational impact of faculty as it relates to student success; and,
• The availability, willingness, and expertise of faculty to teach specific classes or take on specific assignments that is necessary for student instruction or services.
b) Additional standards may be considered and established through the negotiation process, as necessary. These standards shall reflect the process and procedures for assigning part-time, temporary faculty to teach courses or staff non-classroom assignments, and for evaluating part-time, temporary faculty.
4. Requires, as a condition of receiving SSSP funding, a CCD and the exclusive representative of the part-time, temporary faculty to negotiate in good faith all of the following:
a) The terms of reemployment preference for part-time, temporary faculty assignments based on the minimum standards established, up to the range of 60-67% percent of a full-time equivalent load. These terms shall also contain policies for termination, including, but not limited to, the evaluation process, as negotiated; and,
b) A regular evaluation process for part-time, temporary faculty.
5. Requires a CCD that has a collective bargaining agreement in effect as of July 1, 2017, that has satisfied the aforementioned requirements, and that executes a signed written agreement with the exclusive representative of the part-time, temporary faculty acknowledging implementation shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section while the bargaining agreement is in effect.
6. Provides, in all cases, that part-time faculty assignments shall be temporary in nature, contingent on enrollment and funding, and subject to program changes, and no part-time faculty member shall have reasonable assurance of continued employment at any point, irrespective of the status, length of service, or reemployment preference of that part-time temporary faculty member.
These three policy proposals are a welcome addition to the broader policy discussion in which CATESOL is engaged in the state Capitol. The battle to improve the working conditions and status for part-time faculty in our community colleges has been a difficult one. The signature of AB 1690 and SB 1379 are a major victory for CATESOL members who are on part-time status. Additionally, the passage and signature of AB 2785 (O’Donnell) is a much-needed opportunity to provide more guidance to school districts in how best to provide services to students with disabilities who are also English learners.
Jeff Frost is CATESOL’s legislative advocate.
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