Gov. Davis opposes controversial curriculum collective bargaining bill

The Associated Press
Thursday April 11, 2002

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gray Davis announced his opposition Wednesday to a hotly debated bill that would allow teachers to bring curriculum choices and textbook selection to the collective bargaining table. 

He said teachers should have a greater role in curriculum decision making, “but not in a way that links it to collective bargaining.” 

“I don’t want textbooks held hostage to issues involving wages,” Davis told reporters. “The collective bargaining process is the appropriate forum for negotiating wages and so forth, ... but we want textbooks in the hands of kids.” 

Davis was asked about a bill by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, that would allow teacher contract negotiations to include discussions of course content, textbook selection and other instruction issues. 

School officials strongly oppose the bill, saying those decisions should be made by elected school boards. The measure is backed by the 330,000-member California Teachers Association. 

Goldberg said there may be other ways to give teachers a bigger voice in curriculum decisions, but she won’t amend the bill unless opponents agree to negotiate. 

Davis’ opposition may block the bill this year, but it will be reintroduced until school administrators agree to give teachers a bigger role, she said. 

“We are going to have a war for a long, long time or they can say, ‘Of course, teachers are professionals. Of course, we want to be partners with them,’ Goldberg said. 

“The private sector has figured out you can’t make all the decisions at the top and get all the decisions right.” 

The bill is scheduled to be considered next week by an Assembly committee.