May 4, 2015
Observations on California and its politics
The Capitol’s big guns came out last week – and they were aimed at a 66-year-old grandmother who dared to buck two of California’s most powerful political interests – teacher and cop unions.
Shirley Weber, born in Arkansas and reared in a poor neighborhood of Los Angeles, acquired a doctorate degree and taught at college for four decades before becoming San Diego’s first African American Assembly member in 2012.
This year, she introduced two bills that drew the ire of teacher and police unions, and they pounced last week as a deadline for committee action loomed.
One, Assembly Bill 1495, would make mild changes in the state’s teacher tenure law, responding to a judge’s ruling that the existing system shortchanges poor children.
Protecting tenure is a bottom-line, line-in-the-sand issue for the California Teachers Association and other unions. But Weber, a former president of the San Diego Board of Education, believes that more should be done to weed out bad teachers, who often wind up teaching – or not teaching – poor children.
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