Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula Impacts Students and Bargaining
We still have a lot of questions around the proposed new state funding formula for K-12 schools. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) as outlined in the governor’s proposed 2013-14 state budget would dramatically change how schools are funded and by pushing resources to the local level, directly impacts local bargaining. Under the LCFF districts would receive base-level funding and an additional 35% for each English learner, low-income student and foster youth. Another 35% per student is added to districts that have high concentrations of high-needs students. The plan consolidates most categorical programs to provide this additional and flexible funding for districts. Under this proposal money for professional development would now be decided at the local level, rather than dedicated funding from the state. Currently under the plan, money for implementing the new Common Core State Standards would also be part of this new formula and decided at the local level. Educators must be prepared to have a say in those decisions. CTA is pushing the governor and the Legislature to allocate additional money for Common Core implementation.
Governor Brown recently released a detailed overview of the proposal and district funding breakdowns. Hearings have also started in the Legislature. CTA continues to question the quality and the uniformity of the data used in the new formula. State Council committees will continue to review the new funding details at our meeting next month. With so many unknowns, the best advice for local chapters is to NOT rush into any settlements between now and mid-May when the revised state budget proposal is released, avoid contingency language and consult with your local staff.
Time for Immigration Reform
CTA and NEA are part of a broad coalition of unions and community-based organizations calling for comprehensive immigration reform as Congress gets ready to debate the issue. As educators, we have witnessed for far too long the impact of the nation’s current broken system on our students, their families and our communities. As outlined in CTA policy, we need an immigration system that values keeping families together, provides a path to citizenship for those aspiring Americans who are working in our communities and expands the Dream Act to ensure all students have an opportunity for higher education. Take action now by signing the Student and Family Petition. CTA and NEA will participate in the national rally in Washington, DC on April 10. And be sure to share your story on how the broken immigration system hurts our students.
CORE Group Files NCLB Waiver Request
Not to be confused with the Common Core State Standards, a consortium of nine California school districts – working through a consulting firm called California Office to Reform Education (CORE) – has filed a request for an NCLB waiver with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The request is unique because the waiver program is targeted toward states and Duncan’s office rejected California’s waiver proposal earlier this year. CORE’s actions have raised many concerns. Their waiver proposal talks about the importance of local flexibility and involvement, but unfortunately teachers were not included in the process and not one local teachers’ union signed the waiver request as required by law. The proposal talks about local control, but every district in the waiver would have to adhere to all requirements in the plan. State and federal officials have also questioned the legality of the filing. The nine districts are Clovis, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Sanger, and Santa Ana. The State Board of Education discussed the CORE waiver this week and will submit comments to Duncan. Meanwhile, the state is working on a second California waiver application and CTA is supportive of that effort.
CTA Human Rights Conference Honors Civil Rights
The discussion of racism and privilege in our schools and society took center stage at this year’s Human Rights Conference with guest speaker and author Tim Wise. More than 500 educators attended the event. CTA honored 12 educators who received the 2013 Human Rights Awards recognizing them for their outstanding commitment and dedication to advance human rights and promote quality education for all students.
Apply Now for IFT Grants! Deadline April 30
Have an innovative idea to enhance student learning in your classroom, but need a little extra help to make it happen? The CTA Institute for Teaching is accepting applications to support teacher-driven education reform. Grants of up to $5,000 are available to educators. Teams of teachers or local chapters can apply for grants of up to $20,000. Teachers at Warren High School in Downey created a community garden that is not only teaching students’ science and math, but is also bringing parents and community members to the school to work beside teachers and students in the garden. Meanwhile the Inglewood Teachers Association started a Parent University where teachers and parents worked together to develop a curriculum that includes interactive workshops and field trips. More than $360,000 in grants were awarded to CTA members last year. All of this money is from a special voluntary dues donation. Be creative. The ideas and possibilities are endless. For more information, visit www.teacherdrivenchange.org. The application deadline is April 30.