By Mackenzie Mays – Politico
SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) is claiming that Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon downgraded his office in the state Capitol after he rebuked the Assembly Education Committee for embracing a bill that would effectively ban Teach For America in California.
Kiley said he and his staff were moved to a smaller office Monday after Rendon approached him on the Assembly floor “and used a great deal of profanity” in regards to his opposition to a bill that would block the national nonprofit from working in the state’s low-income classrooms.
Rendon spokesperson Kevin Liao responded Tuesday in a statement: “No assemblymember is guaranteed a particular office. The Speaker has the authority to determine office assignments.”
The lone Republican on the Assembly Education Committee, Kiley was the only lawmaker to vote against CA AB221 (19R) by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) at its first hearing last week. Proponents of the bill say that TFA unfairly places untrained teachers in front of the state’s low-income and minority students — who need the most help.
The bill was caught in a brewing clash this session between teachers unions and charter school advocates, though TFA says associations between its programs and the charter movement are often overstated. Unions back A.B. 221, while charter groups and school administrators oppose it.
Kiley, a TFA alumnus, called the bill unconstitutional and “the most shocking bill I’ve seen.” In a heated exchange at the Assembly Education Committee hearing, Kiley accused Democrats of being beholden to special interests and failing students.
At a hearing last week, Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) muted Kiley’s microphone and suggested that the assemblyman was being disrespectful to the bill’s author.
“If you so much as mention these facts and bring any public attention to it, I think it is deeply threatening to the speaker and the majority party because it highlights just how badly our government is failing our citizens,” Kiley told POLITICO.