Many California politicians have taken a crack at education reform in recent years, but the latest effort by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a 2014 gubernatorial candidate, is an interesting one to say the least.
"I'm going to raise a half-million dollars," he told KQED in an interview. "I'm going to hold a press conference and tell them, 'tell me the worst teacher. I want the worst teacher story.' ... We'll have thousands of people send in videos."
Donnelly said after his campaign selects a “winner,” it will offer $250,000 to the teacher’s school district to fund the lengthy teacher dismissal process.
The other $250,000, Donnelly said, would be used to find the state’s best teacher, and allow him or her to travel around California sharing techniques and practices.
The process of firing a teacher in California is arduous and expensive. Stories of teachers keeping their jobs after beating students and encouraging suicide attempts have haunted the state's school system for years. Donnelly has made education reform a highlight of his 2014 campaign.
“The key to this campaign is going to be getting people involved who might have never been involved in politics before," he told KQED. "And we’re going to do it by organizing around issues that people care about.”
The move isn't the first controversial one for Donnelly this week. On Monday, Donnelly announced that he would be withdrawing his son from public school in response to Gov. Jerry Brown's signing of Assembly Bill 1266, which drastically expands the rights of transgender students.
Donnelly specifically took offense to the section of the bill that allows transgender students to use restrooms of their preference, a concept he said "horrified" his sons.
"Allowing teenage boys and girls in the same locker room, showering side by side, is a bad idea," he wrote in a letter. "This will take the normal hormonal battles raging inside every teenager and pour gasoline onto those simmering coals. The right to privacy enjoyed by every student will be replaced by the right to be ogled."