The Blog

April 30 is Key Date for Important CTA Position Bills

Care about making sure students are safe and can benefit from the experience of seasoned educators? You can take some action to help that happen CTA will be urging lawmakers to approve two supported measures and to defeat three opposed bills in legislative committees on Tuesday, April 30. All CTA members can help win the battles by using the CTA Legislative Action Center  to contact your lawmakers electronically.

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New Web Site Spotlights Right Wing Zealots Playing the Part of Think-Tanks

The Beatles sang that “money can’t buy you love,” but it certainly can buy a lot of right-wing “thinking.”

New information cobbled together by two sources – the Center for Media and Democracy and its partner Progress Now – is shining a spotlight on efforts by right-wing zealots to package their corporate agenda as if it were the product of nonpartisan research.

Simply put, the bad guys are pretending to be good-guy researchers.  

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The War Against California Pensions

Originally posted at

Benjamin Gamboa doesn’t know John Arnold, but they are linked by a shared concern over the fate of public-employee pensions in California.

“I’m proud to have a pension,” the 30-year-old Gamboa says. “I believe every American should have a pension.”

The two men live in very different worlds. Gamboa is a research analyst at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California. Arnold is a hedge-fund billionaire from Houston, Texas.

There’s another difference between them: Arnold recently had a representative present at a secret “pension summit” held at a Sacramento hotel, where strategies to limit public employee retirement benefits were discussed; Gamboa, a union member, did not – representatives of labor were specifically not invited.

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Capitol News: CTA Members Testify before Assembly Education Panel as It Weighs Challenges of Implementing Common Core State Standards

Daly Jordan-Koch, chair of CTA's Curriculum and Instruction Committee and a fourth-grade teacher in the Vallejo City Unified School District, testified before the Assembly Education Committee last week during the first hearing on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) this year. He walked through the steps a local chapter and a local school district are following to ensure teachers get the professional development they will need to help their students prepare for higher education and the career challenges of the 21st century.

Daly said educators must be involved in the process because these new standards will dramatically change how teachers teach. Teachers must have the tools they need to help students succeed. Those tools begin width quality professional development and training. In San Juan, the teachers association and the district have developed several committees that include all educators to oversee implementation.

Jordan-Koch and others talked about the cost and complexity of implementing the multi-state CCSS. They also outlined the challenges of providing instructional materials to advance the new curriculum goals, train teachers, and provide the expanded computer access that will be employed in testing student mastery of concepts and information.

Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond spelled out the complex skills in reasoning and mathematics that students will be seeking to acquire under the CCSS.

Estimates put the cost of implementing the new standards, including developing a new curriculum, buying new textbooks, training teachers and acquiring the computers and new technology needed to use computer-based assessments, in the billions.

Assembly Member Joan Buchanan (D-Danville) expressed skepticism whether, even width intense efforts by the education community, the state would be able to meet a 2014 deadline for complete implementation of the CCSS.

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Fighting “Koch Addiction”: Anti-special Interest Bus Tour Hits the Capitol

The Patriot Majority Bus Tour made a stop Friday at the State Capitol as part of the effort of working women and men to expose the billionaire Koch brothers, who have pumped more than $400 million in political contributions to tilt the playing field against the middle class.

(At left) Flanked by foes of Proposition 32, the deceptive Special Exemptions Act that masquerades as political reform, Sacramento City Teachers Association President Scott Smith tells reporters that the measure would make it impossible for educators to advocate effectively for smaller class sizes, more funding for schools, and higher educational standards.

Derek Cressman, of California Common Cause, noted that Koch money is behind Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act.  Cressman pointed out that the Proposition, disguised as campaign reform, will further tilt the political playing field in favor of wealthy special interests, which outspend unions and working women and men by a ratio of 15 to 1 already.


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