The Blog

Alpine Teachers Approve New Contract

Educators go back to classrooms Tuesday after huge affirmative vote 

ALPINE – Alpine Teachers Association members approved a new contract with the Alpine Union School District by a 96 percent margin, immediately returning to their classes Tuesday morning, February 25.

The action ends their three-day strike over significant cuts in salary and health benefits.

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At Region 3 Conference, CTA Family Works to Get Food to Hungry Children

CTA members, leaders and staff kicked off this past weekend's Region 3 Leadership Conference in Pasadena by packing 10,000 meals in three hours to help children in Vietnam and the Philippines.

They raised $3,595 for a charity, Stop Hunger Now.

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Write the Bee to Let Readers Know Rep. Miller is Wrong on Vergara Case

Undeterred by the facts, U.S. Congressman George Miller and an educator coauthor have authored a Sacramento Bee Op-Ed that slams teachers for having due process rights.

The retiring congressman and one Los Angeles Unified School District educator have teamed up to declare that the Vergara v. State of California assault on teachers’ due-process protections is a good thing.

Unlike the congressman, teachers know that these procedures have for more than 80 years protected academic freedom and helped attract and keep highly qualified teachers for our students.

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Assembly Member Honors CTA Boys and Men of Color Program During Capitol Tour

(Photo above) Assembly Member Steve Bradford (D-Inglewood) introduces CTA member Keith Brown and his students to Dotson Wilson, clerk of the Assembly, during a Thursday tour of the Capitol.

Assembly Member Steve Bradford (D-Inglewood) welcomed 19 Bret Harte Middle School students and their teacher, Keith Brown, to the state Capitol on February 20. Brown, who is vice chair of CTA’s School Safety and School Management Committee, has been a leader in the CTA Boys and Men of Color program.

Backed by the California Endowment, the program aims to help increase the graduation rates of young men of color, who are at greatest risk of dropping out of school, as well as to help them succeed in school, career, and life.

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Teachers, allies form mass picket line on first day of Alpine strike

Alpine Teachers Strike

(Photo above) Alpine Teachers Association member school nurse, Jessica Starr, speaks with a San Diego FOX 5 reporter about how the imposed cuts leave her with an $11.00 per hour salary, despite the fact that she has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Starr is also a parent of children in the school district.

Update - After a raucous school board meeting Thursday night, Alpine district officials have agreed to go back to bargaining table. Stay tuned.

Alpine Teachers Association members began day one of their Unfair Labor Practice strike with 93 percent member participation and educator and community support from as far away as Imperial County. 

The district proposed a 7.58% salary cut and an $8,000 health benefits cap effective January 1, 2014, that will leave many ATA members with 30% - and in one case 60% - less per year in total compensation. Because the district will extract double health benefits cuts for May and June, some members will receive NO pay in those months. 

After rejecting the unacceptable proposal from the District, ATA voted to take to the picket lines, which began this morning at Joan MacQueen Middle School and then disbursed to the district’s five school sites.   

Media outlets converged on the scene providing teachers the opportunity to share their personal stories. Parents walked the line with ATA members, including one providing lunch to the picketing teachers.  

ATA members, supportive parents, students and community members will pack the Alpine School Board meeting tonight to demand that the district return to the bargaining table and offer an acceptable contract.   

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Parents, Students, CTA and Allies Prepare to Launch Defense against Meritless "Vergara" Attack

(Photo above) Joined by parents, students, teachers, and other members and allies, CTA President Dean Vogel stresses that the Vergara v. State of California suit is an outright attack on teachers’ rights in the form of a meritless lawsuit. (Photo by Mike Myslinski)

CTA and its allies held a news conference this morning near the Los Angeles Superior Court where anti-union attorneys have tried to make a case that the professional and due process rights that have been in place for teachers for more than 80 years harm California’s students.

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Alpine Teachers to Strike, Beginning Feb. 20

Alpine Teachers Association members will go out in an Unfair Labor Practice strike, beginning at 6:00 a.m., February 20, as the result of a decision made at yesterday's general membership meeting.

Although ATA members were hopeful that the district would return to the bargaining table with fair, reasonable settlement proposals, they were met instead with a rehash of the same offer the district had made in a previous proposal rejected by ATA members on February 5: a 7.58% salary cut and an $8,000 health benefits cap effective January 1, 2014, that will leave many ATA members with 30% or more less per year in total compensation. Because the district will extract double health benefits cuts for May and June, some members will receive NO pay in those months.

“Unfortunately, the district is intent on building their reserve fund and breaking teachers’ backs financially, based on faulty financial assumptions,” said ATA President Gayle Malone. “Ultimately, it is the students and the entire community who will suffer.” 


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Report Concludes Increased Parent Involvement Can Benefit Students and School Community

A new report from the nonpartisan, nonprofit EdSource urges districts to view new directives to involve more parents in local schools as a mandate that could benefit individual students and the entire school community.

The publication – The Power of Parents: Research underscores the impact of parent involvement in schools – which was completed in collaboration with the New America Media, focuses on requirements in the Local Control Funding Formula that schools find ways to get more parents involved in their children’s education.

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Kimberley Gilles of San Ramon Valley EA Takes Home Top NEA Foundation Award

At the recent NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington DC, Kimberley Gilles, an educator at Monte Vista High School in Danville in the Bay Area, received one of public education’s top honors: the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000.

Known as the Academy Awards of public education, the NEA Foundation’s gala is an annual celebration of the men and women who work in America’s public schools. The NEA Foundation presented nearly 40 awards to exceptional educators and dedicated supporters of public education over the course of the program. Gilles is a veteran teacher in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and a member of the San Ramon Valley Education Association.

“Gilles has been selected for this award by her peers because she has attained the highest teaching standards, as illustrated by her exemplary instruction, advocacy for the profession and staunch support of public education,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “In her classroom, she shares her passion for social justice to inspire students to lift up their own voices through reading and writing.”

Watch Gilles' heartfelt acceptance speech here:

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Police Officer Seeks Truth: False Claims Tinge Reed Pension Lawsuit

Leave it to a trained investigator to run down the truth behind false claims. 

In an incisive op-ed,  Jim Unland, the president of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, takes on claims by San Jose Mayor Charles Reed that the public retirement “reform” initiative the mayor’s been pushing won’t “eliminate” the public pensions of law enforcement and public safety personnel, including firefighters.

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