California Educator

February/March 2023

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an option, your local union and advocate will discuss settle- ment with the affected teachers. In either event, throughout this process, it's important for you to be proactive. That means keeping track of layoff-related notices, turning in your paperwork on time, and staying in communication with your local union. Below is a timeline of the notices and paperwork that you should anticipate and the steps that you can take to protect yourself. Steps to Take to Protect Yourself As soon as possible: As soon as you can — and definitely before March 15 — review your personnel file. Because layoff order is based on seniority dates and credentials, you should make sure that the district has this information correct. If you are working toward further credentials, try to complete them and, if possible, get them on file before March 15. If you receive a layoff notice: If your district is con- ducting layoffs this spring, it must send out layoff notices by March 15. If you receive a notice, you must turn in your Request for Hearing form within seven days. When you receive the statement of reduction in force: After you turn in your Request for Hearing, the district will send you a document called the Statement of Reduction in Force. Once you receive this document, you must turn in your Notice of Participation form within five days. When you receive the notice of hearing: The district will then set a layoff hearing and send you a notice of hearing. At the hearing, you will have a chance to find out whether the district followed the rules when it laid you off. If the district got something wrong — for example, if it used the wrong seniority date for you, or if it did not credit you with all of your credentials — the hearing is your opportunity to challenge the layoff. It is common for districts to make mistakes. Every year, teachers who attend their layoff hearings catch their employer making mistakes and are able to save their jobs. Finally, you should work closely with your local union. Your union will provide an advocate who will assist members through the hearing, provide information, and guide you through this difficult time. Jean Shin is a CTA Staff Attorney. "Work closely with your local union. Your union will provide an advocate who will assist members through the hearing, provide information, and guide you through this difficult time." S T A T E L A W A L L O W S parents to opt out of state-mandated testing for their child. (The federal Every Student Succeeds Act affirms this right.) However, California also has specific regulations about what an educator can say to parents about opting out: Educators can inform parents of their right to opt out of high-stakes testing for their child, but cannot solicit or encourage parents to do so. The state's system of mandated and optional assessments is known as CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Perfor- mance and Progress) and includes Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, California Alternate Assessments, and the California Science Test. CTA believes tests should be used to inform instruc- tion and improve student learning. A true assessment of student Standardized Tests & Opting Out Know your rights when communicating with parents achievement and improvement is always done through multiple measures and can never focus on just one test score. To learn more about CTA's position on testing and opting out, and to access resources to help educators have conversations with parents (including materials in multiple languages), go to 33 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 3

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