April 16-17, 2013
CTA and CFT Join to Intervene in Lawsuit
CTA was joined by the California Federation of Teachers in filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit aimed at overturning due process and other protections for educators. The lawsuit, known as Vergara v. State of California, was filed by a group of corporate special interests and billionaires with a catchy name who want to push their agenda on California public schools. The lawsuit by Students Matter alleges California Education Code provisions governing due process, dismissal and layoff are unconstitutional. The group admittedly took their battle to the courts after voters defeated an initiative and legislation failed in the state Capitol. The lawsuit is baseless and meritless, and hurts student learning. It's trying to legislate from the bench in an effort to keep educators and parents out of education policy decisions.
Democrats Pass Resolution In Support of Educators and Against False Education Reformers
The California Democratic Party sent a clear and loud message in support of educators and proven education reforms this past weekend by approving a resolution, "Dispelling the Corporate 'Reform' Agenda." The resolution was sponsored by CTA, CFT and California Faculty Association delegates at the Democratic convention. Nearly 200 CTA members were delegates. The resolution calls out "the billionaires funding StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform who are supporting candidates and local programs that would dismantle a free public education for every student and replace it with company run charter schools, non-credentialed teachers and unproven, untested so-called reforms."
Rhee Under Fire, while Gates Does a 180
The Democratic Party Resolution follows on the heels of the release of a confidential memo that shows StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee was aware of and took no action on the widespread cheating scandal that rocked Washington, DC public schools while she served as chancellor. Meanwhile, in contrast to Rhee, Bill Gates reversed course earlier this month by funding a new study that shows tying test scores to teacher evaluation does not improve teacher effectiveness. His letter in the Washington Post is worth the read.
Getting Ready for the May Revised Budget and Sacramento Happenings
Lawmakers have held a few hearings and have asked a lot of questions about the Governor's proposed state budget and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The Department of Finance has released new reports that show how much money districts would receive under the LCFF compared to the current funding system. In some good news, state revenues continue to come in above estimates. Some are predicting that there will be an additional $4 billion for the revised budget in May. AB 375, the teacher dismissal bill by Assembly member Joan Buchanan that ensures student safety while protecting the rights of educators, was approved by the Assembly Education Committee. This CTA-supported bill streamlines the process and reduces costs, while protecting students and educators. The California Department of Education is getting ready to submit a new ESEA state waiver to the federal Department of Education. This state waiver counters a district waiver proposal submitted by a consulting group called CORE or California Office to Reform Education. CORE represents nine school districts and submitted a district waiver request without the support of any local teacher unions, which is something Secretary Duncan said is necessary. State and federal officials also question the legality of the district waiver.
Join CTA's Teacher Leadership Cohort
Does your passion lie in quality instruction or being an advocate for teaching and learning? CTA is excited to announce the launch of a new program, called the Teacher Leadership Cohort. With a grant from NEA, the program is designed to develop a cohort of twenty-four teachers from across the state to assume new or expanded roles as strong advocates for the teaching profession. It is our opportunity to lead our profession. Cohort members will develop local projects around teacher effectiveness to share with colleagues. If you are interested, apply today. The application deadline is May 10. More information is also available at www.cta.org/ipd.
Celebrate Day of the Teacher and ESP Day
I want to take a moment to thank you for everything you do! Whether you are in Pre-K or higher education; working in the classroom, in the school office or in the cafeteria; YOU are making a difference for California students. I thank you for all of your hard work as we get ready to celebrate California Day of the Teacher and Education Support Professionals Day (ESP). Day of the Teacher is May 8, while ESP Day is May 22. Keeping with our sesquicentennial, the theme is "California Teachers: Honoring our Past, Guiding the Future." This year, I'm asking you to take a moment and breathe, and to think about some of your own accomplishments. Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. It has been an incredible year and you deserve it. I also ask you to stop and thank a colleague or a mentor. It's what these days are meant for.