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CTA Executive Director Joe Nuñez State Council Speech - January 2014

 

Good Morning State Council. I hope everyone had a good holiday break, took some time to relax, and enjoy friends and family. You know I’m saying that because we are going to have a busy year ahead.  When I spoke to you in October, I said I wanted to use these Sundays to give you a progress report on the work we are engaged in together ... to highlight some of our efforts and to let you know how we are progressing on the goals of the association. And that’s exactly what I want to do today. 

Dean talked to you about the state budget and I don’t have a lot to add, only to say it is truly good to have a Governor who makes a promise, and keeps it … staying focused on his commitments. The budget certainly reflects a priority for education and repaying schools the money they are owed. K-12 school districts are getting a nearly 11 percent increase. Only once in the past 30 years has public education received an increase of more than 10 percent.  

And thanks to the passage of that historic initiative, and an improving economy, the pay back of all deferrals is on track to be paid back two years ahead of schedule. So, we know the governor is focused, but we may have to keep lawmakers focused as well. Some are already looking to start new programs to spend those dollars, rather than seeing this budget as a down-payment on what they owe you. Unfortunately while we were all on holiday the CTA schedule doesn't match the budget schedule and GR staff were hard at work.  

And this year, not only was it the budget, but some serious preparation for the State Board of Education's adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula regulations and the basic template for the Local Control Accountability Plan. The adopted regulations and template are largely the outcome of months of work and collaboration between CTA ... the ACLU and Public Advocates ... which is a coalition of community and civil rights groups ... staff from the State Board of Education ... Department of Finance ... and the CDE. 

A CTA staff team from various departments and the field spent hours and hours looking through hundreds of detailed documents to figure out how to make the regulations work best for students ... schools ... local district ... and CTA chapters. It was kind of a Wild West hearing at the State Board of Education on January 16. More than 500 people were there to testify. CTA was in the house. Some of you were there. Steve Dillon was number 172 and Jesse Aguilar was number 163.  

The Governor showed up unexpectedly to testify. He started by thanking the CTA for helping to pass Prop.30 ... because without that good work, we wouldn’t be here today discussing these regulations. He also set the stage with a call for flexibility and local control.     

The regulations for the LCFF and the LCAP are inextricably linked and together give local educators and our local chapters an opportunity to further participate and guide district budgets. The LCFF regulations consist of four parts:    

FIRST PART:  

The most important part of the LCFF/LCAP is the meaningful inclusion of the participation of bargaining units ... administrators ... parents and students in the district planning process ... which is a requirement of the statute and truly is a cornerstone of the subsidiarity concept on which LCFF is based.   

SECOND PART:  

A local school district must demonstrate, in its LCAP, how supplemental and concentration grant funding will be used to increase or improve services for English Learners, low income and foster youth students. The regulations keep the flexibility to use district wide and school wide programs ... but with heightened scrutiny to ensure money is being spent to support those students. In addition, districts must include within their LCAP an explanation of how expenditures meet the LEA’s goals for its subgroups in the state’s priority areas.     

THIRD PART:  

This one is a little technical. A proportionality formula is included to roughly measure whether services to the targeted student populations are increased or improved compared to services provided to all students, in proportion to the increase of funds districts received for those kids. The goal is to ensure that the intent of funding equity is being followed.  

FOURTH PART:   

County Superintendents do have to review and sign off on district’s Accountability Plan. But only to ensure that dollars were spent according to the plan. They don’t get to scrutinize the plan and say they don’t like it or tell a district to change their plans. They are only checking to see if the district rational matches the spending plan. 

The LCAP paperwork has three sections.    

Section 1:  

The district must describe the process used to engage the education community and how this engagement contributed to the development of the accountability plan.   

Section 2:  

Lists the goals the LEA has for all students, and for each subgroup ... whether those goals differ for any individual schools within the district ... how those goals align to the state and local priority areas ... and progress made toward achieving those goals.  

Section 3:  

Consists of the actions, services and expenditures that will be used to meet each of the district’s identified goals to increase services to students.   

What’s exciting about these regulations is that are actually simple and pretty direct. And that schools boards and districts must, and I mean must, involve educators ... parents ... and community stakeholders in the discussions about setting priorities for districts and how the money will be spent. We fought off attempts to create new detailed, lengthy regulations and forms that would have created more bureaucracy and need for superintendents to hire outside consultant to fill out forms. 

I know it’s big change, but it’s exciting to see this new funding formula come to life, and for the first time in years, rather than categorical dollars coming from the state that can only be used for specific purposes, you will be at the bargaining table making the decisions on those dollars and how to best use them for students.  

I know your local staff is ready to support you and provide you with the help you need. Now is the time to assert your right to consult on the LCAP and prepare a timely demand to bargain any impacts and effects of the LCAP on bargaining unit members. Prepare you're bargaining teams with training and prepare for the paradigm shift to bargaining offense, and to push back on district bargaining delays. 

Data on funding for 2013-14 & 2014-15 is now available and credible estimates can be made. It’s time to prioritize local bargaining goals and pushback on delays from the district. And thanks to the lessons we’ve learned from CTA’s Quality Education Investment Act … there are even some best practices to consider when thinking about where to focus those dollars in ways that improve instruction and support educators. 

So work with your local staff and make some history at local bargaining tables. And let me tell you there is already a lot of good work going on at local bargaining tables. Since our last meeting in October, there have been many settlements and some pretty impressive ones in all corners of the state. On average, contracts settlements are coming in with about 3.5 percent salary increases. 

But to share a few top achievers:  

United Teachers of Santa Clara ... Montebello TA ... Pierce Joint Unified TA in Colusa County ... and Hartnell College Faculty Association all negotiated 5 percent salary increases. El Dorado Union High School and Roseville Secondary TA … a 5.25 percent increase … retroactive to 2013, along with health care increases … Associated Teachers of Placer 6 percent ... Rosemead TA here in LA County 6.3 percent … and Sierra Plumas TA 6.5 percent.   

After the pay freezes, cuts and furlough days we all experienced ... it’s good to know some money is coming back to turn the tide. Now, of course we also have some bad actor districts … Alpine gets that honor right now. I ask you to let Alpine that they don’t stand alone … we all stand with them. I made my contribution yesterday. I hope you made yours. If you didn't, I'm sure they will still take donations today. 

To update you on a few other projects:   

CTA IPD staff continues to do tremendous work in providing support and training to local chapters and members on the Common Core State Standards. Thanks to a $250,000 grant from NEA, CTA is partnering with the CDE, West-Ed and Secondary Literacy Partners to organize five regional seminars. The first seminar was held earlier this month before the Good Teaching Conference in San Jose, where more than 200 CTA members participated. The seminars offer curriculum, literacy strategies across content areas, assessments, and performance tasks. Additional seminars are scheduled for Pasadena, Anaheim, Stockton, and San Luis Obispo. Share this information with your colleagues. There are flyers outside. You can register at cta.org/conferences. 

Staff has been helping chapters bargain implementation agreements around the Common Core. Lennox ... El Centro ... and Riverside City Teachers’ associations negotiated Common Core Implementation Committees with a majority of union members. San Leandro negotiated an MOU for Instructional Innovators – educators who will play a major role in demonstrating classroom practices aligned to the standards to their colleagues.  

Brentwood TA established a Common Core Workgroup that includes paid stipends for BTA members. This is how we seize control of the implementation and begin to transform our profession as outlined in CTA’s Strategic Plan. CTA Staff worked with the Moreno Valley Education Association to host its first ever community conversation at March Mountain High School. The meeting was held to address achievement gaps for African American and Latino students and to get parent input on how to address those gaps. The conversation drew parents ... students ... small business owners ... community groups ... and the local police department in helping to make changes. 

CTA continues to work toward our goal of organizing charter schools.  The Charter School Organizing Project ... which is a joint effort with NEA ... has established a database of union charter schools with collective bargaining agreements and key elements of chapter organization. We are holding regional meetings of union charter leaders.  

One of the first meetings was held in San Diego County where the group is focusing on building a consortium to lead the way and connect with non-unionized charter schools. We also conducted extensive research with non-union charter educators to find out what issues they are most concerned about, how they view unions now and what would motivate them to join a union. Charter organizing is essential in growing and building a stronger CTA.   

And finally, I do want to just mention that this is an election year. I know it’s only January, but there will be some battles ahead. You’ll hear more from the Political Involvement Committee Today. There are possible initiative threats and we will have to lead efforts to re-elect Tom Torlakson as Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

We have seen over the last four years ... just how important it is to have a classroom teacher in that office. While other states are suffering and regretting those Race to the Top dollars … we said NO in California and we had a Superintendent and Governor who supported that decision. 

The lead candidate running against Torlakson ... Marshall Tuck ... would have sold California down that R-T-T-T road in a flash.  Tuck is a product of the Eli Broad Leadership Academy and ran Mayor Villarigosa’s schools here in Los Angeles. He already has the support of Students-First and electing him is a top priority of Michelle Rhee. And as proof, she’s getting her wealthy friends to make contributions to his campaign. Tuck has already raised more than $530,000 … that’s more than Torlakson or any other candidate in the race. In a race that never gets much media attention, we are going to have to make our voices heard. It’s never too early to talk to parents and community members about Torlakson and the outstanding work he’s done for public education.  

This year we will also have some key legislative races and the opportunity to elect some fellow educators, including, Tim Sbranti and Patrick O’Donnell.  CTA leaders and staff are already putting together plans and coalitions to ensure these victories ... and with the leadership of all of you I know we will prevail!    

Thank you for all the work you do every day … inspiring students … standing up for public education … and leading our union. In the simple words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The time is always right to do what is right.”   

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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