The Blog

Darling-Hammond, Education Scholar, Slams Vergara, Praises Gov. Brown, Supt. Torlakson

One of the pre-eminent voices in the international education community, Linda Darling-Hammond, in a powerful op-ed in Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle titled "Supporting teachers is the way to improve schools" hits the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit that would undermine key protections for teachers that enable them to advocate for their students.

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The Sacramento Bee Thinks Teachers are Selfish

The Sacramento Bee has done it again – attacked teachers and two pro-education elected officials. In an editorial published on Thursday, "Teacher protections that hurt students are indefensible – unless you’re state’s top education official”, The Bee slams Gov. Brown and Supt. Torlakson for appealing the misguided “Vergara ruling” that would undermine teacher due process and seniority protections.

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State Board of Education Adopts Emergency Regulations Implementing Local Control Funding

First, they listened to testimony from Gov. Jerry Brown, CTA members and more than 300 other witnesses.  Then – as the governor, CTA, and most other witnesses urged-- the State Board of Education voted Thursday afternoon to adopt emergency regulations that will provide local school districts with a template and other instructions on how to implement the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula.

These regulations aim to ensure that districts focus needed attention on the three groups of costly-to-educate students at whom the supplemental and concentration grant elements of the LCFF are targeted: English learners, foster youth, and students living at or below the poverty line.

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Bullish Governor Urges State Board to Maintain Flexibility on LCFF

Gov. Jerry Brown surprised the State Board of Education and members of the audience by showing up at the Thursday morning hearing on the regulations about the Local Control Funding Formula.

The governor declared that he is “bullish on California schools” and urged the school board to maintain the flexibility that is currently in the draft regulations so that imagination can be paired with rigor.  He warned against making the regulations so restrictive that they force “rigor mortis” on schools.

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Governor Acts in Line with CTA Positions on 73 Recent Bills: Vital Ones Signed

During the final days of the 2013 legislative year and prior to the October 13 deadline for his signing or vetoing bills, Gov. Jerry Brown acted in concert with CTA recommendations on 73 measures.

The governor signed a number of vital CTA-backed bills that will help protect student safety, improve student testing and assessment, and make it easier for voters to approve parcel taxes for schools.  At CTA’s urging, he also vetoed measures that would have reduced Proposition 98 school funding and made it more difficult for districts to gain funding for their English learners.

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Capitol News: Legislature Sends Budget, Trailer Bills to Governor

AB 86, Education Trailer Bill, Details Actions Affecting Schools

If Governor Jerry Brown signs the state budget bill by June 30th widthout making any changes, public education will see $55.3 billion in Proposition 98 funding for 2013-2014. That figure includes $2.1 billion for the governor's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), $1.25 billion to implement the Common Core State Standards, and $4.3 billion to begin to pay down money the state has owed to schools from past years.

The trailer bills width the greatest direct impact on public education are AB 86, which contains the "education trailer language," SB 91, which deals width the Local Control Funding Formula, and AB 78, which governs how schools may use Proposition 39 funds to reduce their energy costs by adding "green technology."

Overall, the new state budget would:
  • Provide LCFF target base grants of $6845 for K-3, $6947 for 4-6, $7154 for 7-8, and $8289 for 9-12.
  • Increase the K-3 base grant by 10.4% for Class Size Reduction and the 9-12 base grant by 2.6% to encourage the provision of Career and Technical Education programs.
  • Establish LCFF supplemental grant of 20% of the base for students identified as English learners, foster care youth, or in financial need (as defined by eligibility in the Free or Reduce Price Meal Program).
  • Phase in the LCFF over eight years.
  • Allocate $250 million in one-time funds for Career and Technical Education.
  • Underwrite a 1.63% enrollment growth funding for the community colleges, pay down community college deferrals by $178 million in 2012-2013 and another $30 million in 2013-14, and provide $25 million in planning grants for adult education programs to promote regional collaboration between community colleges and K-12 school districts.
  • Maintain total revenue limit and categorical program funding for each district and charter school at its 2013 level.
  • Create new charter school accountability.
  • Empower districts to create local accountability plans widthout giving overriding authority to county offices of education.
Under state law, the governor has the power of the "line-item" veto to blue-pencil or reduce appropriations in the spending bills sent to him by the legislature. The constitution gives him until June 30th to sign the budget.

For more detailed information, see CTA's 2013-14 State Budget Highlights.

 

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Governor Scheduled to Release Updated Budget Proposal Tuesday Morning

Gov. Jerry Brown is slated to unveil his updated budget proposal – the May Revision – at a Capitol news conference beginning at 10AM on Tuesday, according to a media advisory from the governor’s press office.

The California Channel plans to webcast the news conference at www.calchannel.com.

The governor’s office said the budget documents will be available on line shortly after the news conference begins at www.ebudget.ca.gov.

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Capitol News: Governor's Special Session Aims to Take on Federal-State Healthcare Issues

Legislators have been convening in both the regular session and in a special session.  Gov. Jerry Brown called the special session to pave the way for enrollment in Covered California, the first-in-the-nation health benefits exchange created to implement the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Covered California is authorized to organize the private insurance market so that millions of Californians can secure health care protections widthin their budget. The plan will provide less expensive costs, more competition among insurers, and more information for consumers about price, quality and service.

Covered California will provide great benefits to those not currently covered, including Student CTA members, laid-off educators, and part-time employees.

Want to stay current on these issues? Sign up on the Health Access website to receive email alerts.

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"Early Returns": LA District Rescinds Furloughs Due to Prop. 30's Passage

(Photo above) Surrounded by hundreds of educators, firefighters, nurses, and other school supporters, Gov. Jerry Brown declares victory for Proposition 30 on Election Night at a Sacramento gathering.

Some 600,000 students in Los Angeles were facing the prospects of a school year shortened by 10 days – but that harsh result was averted by voters’ passage of Proposition 30 on November 6.

That would have been one local impact of the $6 billion in automatic or “trigger” cuts that would have hit K-12 public education, the community colleges, and the state’s higher education systems if Proposition 30 had failed.

Very quickly after the measure’s overwhelming passage, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that it would be rescinding the 10 lost instructional days and the attendant furloughs.

The leader of the Los Angeles’ district teachers association, United Teachers Los Angeles President Warren Fletcher, greeted the announcement by saying  “We are pleased to learn LAUSD intends to restore a full school year for students in the district—the first time since 2008.  The move follows the passage of Proposition 30 on Tuesday.”

“Our teachers took a risk last year, approving the Jobs Restoration and Furlough agreement, which included up to 10 furlough days,” UTLA’s Fletcher said. “As always, they put students first.  And now, we are on the cusp of having those furlough days cancelled and being able to provide our students width a full year of instruction.”

Got a similar situation in your local district to report?  We’d love to hear – please use our comments to add to the good news.

 

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Vote Today as If Your Future Depends Upon it: (P.S.: It Does!)

Voters’ decisions today in California’s elections will impact virtually every aspect of our lives. The passage of Proposition 30 will protect California’s K-12 public schools, the community colleges, and the state university systems from another $6 billion in devastating cuts….cuts that would come on top of slashes that have pared $20 billion from the education of our most important natural resource – our young people.

Voters’ defeating Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that would boost the political power of Super PACS and other wealthy special interests at the expense of the rest of us, will stop this cynical attack on middle-class workers, including educators, firefighters, and nurses.

Your vote matters – and the polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM.

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