Legislation

Decrying $12 Trillion in Student Debt, NEA, CTA and Affiliates Press for Degrees Not Debt during Statewide Tour

(Photo above) Lily Eskelsen García, president-elect of the National Education Association, tells reporters in Los Angeles on Thursday morning that NEA, California Teachers Association, the Community College Association, the California Faculty Association, and Student CTA are working together on the “Degrees, Not Debt” program to help increase student aid and reduce student debt. The efforts are being supported by Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who joined the NEA and CTA leaders at an afternoon news conference in Oakland.

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CTA Hosts Meeting of Community of Practice, Advocates for Youth with Disabilities

(Photo below)  At right, Ed Amundson, the CTA Liaison to the California Community of Practice (COP), a coalition advocating on behalf of youth with disabilities and their families, arranged for the organization to hold its August 13 meeting at the CTA Governmental Relations Office in Sacramento.

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Legislators Beat One Key Deadline in August as Second One Looms

On the legislative schedule, Friday, August 15, is listed as the last day for state Senate and Assembly fiscal committees to meet and send measures to the floor of their respective houses. This year, lawmakers wrapped up that duty a day early.

 

Facing long agendas, the two key “money” committees – the Assembly Appropriations Committee and its Senate counterpart, the Senate Appropriations Committee -- reviewed and winnowed down the number of bills in their suspense files.

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State Revenues up Another 4.5%, Controller Chiang Reports

Voters’ approval of Proposition 30 in November 2012 is still paying dividends for California, its schools, and its students, according to the July 2014 “cash report” issued by State Controller John Chiang.

Total revenues for July, which is the first month of the state’s 2014-2015 fiscal or accounting year, are outpacing estimates in the Budget Act by $231.9 million or $4.5%.

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Urge Legislators to Help Reduce Student Absences, Truancies

You can help fight absenteeism and truancy by contacting your state Senator and asking her or him to vote for AB 1866, by Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima).  Use the Contact Your Legislator link at cta.org to identify your Senator and send an email in support of the measure.

 

AB 1866 will help reduce student truancy and absenteeism by creating the state’s first system for collecting and reporting student attendance data. The bill is part of a five-measure package of legislation sponsored by California Attorney General Kamala Harris to address state policy on student attendance.

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At San Jose Conference, Chapter Presidents Master New Skills, Discuss Challenges with Supt. Torlakson

More than 700 new and experienced CTA Chapter Presidents gathered in San Jose this past weekend to network, learn new skills, and find out more about the challenges facing our schools and educators in the years ahead.

The 60th annual Presidents Conference gave the presidents a chance to work with CTA leaders and staff on issues ranging from bargaining and education reform to political action.

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Write the Chronicle to Let Readers Know Why Entrepreneur Tuck, the Would-be Superintendent, is Wrong

Marshall Tuck, the entrepreneur who would like to be the state’s education chief, has fired off another attack on our basic rights, rights hit by a recent flawed ruling by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. The ruling, in Vergara v. State of California, attacks teachers’ job protections, due process, and seniority rights.

 

In an opinion piece that is an insult to all of our highly dedicated colleagues, Tuck praises the bad ruling.

 

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Pension legislation signed

Educators may notice a little extra going out of their paychecks into to the California State Retirement System (CalSTRS) beginning this month, but that’s a good thing since the money will not only come back to them at retirement, it will stabilize the retirement system into the future.

After years of attempts to close a shortfall in the teachers retirement system that has mounted to $74 billion, the Legislature in June approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension plan that provides increased contributions from educators, school districts and the state.

“For roughly the last 10 years our highest priority and our members’ most pressing concern has been to secure the long-term stability of the Defined Benefit Program,” said Harry Keiley, chair of the Teachers’ Retirement Board and member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association.

The historic action calls for member contributions to increase from 8 to 10.25 percent over the next three years. School and community college district contributions will increase from 8.25 percent to 19.1 percent over seven years while the state’s portion would increase from the current 3.041 percent to 6.3 percent in the next three years. The increases began to take effect July 1.

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Educators Urge Senate Education Members to Vote for Key Cosponsored Bills

(From right) Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) discusses two key CTA cosponsored bills with three educators, Liz Esquiel Waterman, a fourth-grade teacher at Terra Bella Elementary in Terra Bella;  Chantaine Fauntleroy, a teacher at Bret Harte Middle School in Hayward; and Deborah Adams Behm, a fifth-grade teacher at Stone Elementary in Alvord.

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Teachers Seek Charter Accountability, Employment Fairness

(Photo above) CTA Legislative Advocate Seth Bramble explains some of the finer points of two CTA-backed measures to a group of educators, including (from r.) Deborah Adams Behm, a fifth-grade teacher at Stone Elementary in Alvord, Chantaine Fauntleroy, a teacher at Bret Harte Middle School in Hayward, and (not pictured) Liz Esquiel Waterman, a fourth-grade teacher at Terra Bella Elementary in Terra Bella.

The teachers came to Sacramento today in support of two CTA-backed measures that will separately increase transparency and accountability for charter schools and provide employment equity to a small group of educators not now receiving fair treatment.

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