AB 221: Third Party Organizations: Teacher Placement

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Bill prohibiting untrained teachers in low-income schools parked – new bill to be introduced

(Sacramento) – California was poised to be the first State Legislature in the nation to address the flawed model of Teach for America and other similar programs.  Assembly Bill (AB) 221, authored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, would have banned undertrained teachers from teaching in Title 1 schools.  Assemblymember Garcia will not pursue the bill at this time and will instead work on new legislation for introduction by next month’s deadline that will continue to keep the focus on third party provider programs like Teach for America.  AB 221 faced a two-year legislative deadline – the measure needed to pass the Assembly Floor and progress to the Senate in order for the measure to continue in the legislative process this year.

“The truth is that the opposition is funded by billionaires and poor brown and black students don’t have a paid lobbyist or organization walking the halls and making donations.  It’s politically easier for some of my colleagues to maintain the status quo at the continued expense of poor students,” stated Assemblymember Cristina Garcia.

Since the 1980’s, well-funded organizations like Teach for America have touted their model as the solution to closing the state’s student achievement gap and recruiting individuals into the teaching profession. California’s achievement gap, particularly with students of color, is well documented and historic, particularly in math and science. New standards and strategies, such as requiring better educator training and preparation, have proven effective and practical at establishing a foundation  that creates an equitable education system  for all California’s children. Yet, Teach for America and programs like it only give trainees about 18 hours of training before they enter a classroom in a low-income community often teaching the most vulnerable students, including special education students.

“We can’t use our kids as training grounds when we know it has a long-lasting and detrimental effect on a child’s future,” added Garcia. “Research tells is that experience is necessary. Proper training is necessary, but we are choosing to ignore that. We are choosing to sacrifice our most vulnerable students and trivializing the education profession.” 

“I have the audacity to believe in the promise we make to all kids – to provide them with a quality education and remove the barriers that stand in the way of their potential, regardless of the zip code or race they were born into,” concluded Garcia.

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The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.

Contact: Ashley Labar, 916-319-2058