The Blog at CTA

Educators help pass two bills out of committee: AB 1478 to make charters transparent and accountable and AB 699 to prohibit discrimination of immigrant students

safe schools

Educators met with assembly members and staff this week to advocate a YES on AB 1478, which will ensure charter school governance is transparent and that monitoring and oversight of charter schools are conducted to protect public education and be in the best interest of our children. The bill was passed out of Assembly Education Committee on a party line 5-2 vote. 

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Imperial Charter School Teachers Beat Back Attack on Their Union as They Battle for Students

Current and former ISTA members and charter school teachers celebrate the victory. They include (from l.) Karina Renteria, ISTA Vice President Leonor Noris, Francisco Montaño, Elizabeth Godoy; and Rebecca Veliz.

Determined members of the Imagine Schools Teachers Association (ISTA) have beaten an attempt by anti-union forces to sever their affiliation with the California Teachers Association and the National Education Association.

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Parents, Community Members, Educators Battle Rocketship Charter’s Efforts to Overturn Local Decisions

(From r.) Led by Terri Jackson, a sixth-grade history and math teacher at Stewart Elementary School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District and CTA Board Member, and Guy Moore, a high school teacher and president of the Mt. Diablo Education Association, some of the more than two dozen parents, community members, administrators, and classroom educators prepare to urge the California Board of Education in Sacramento not to overturn two local decisions barring a notorious charter school company from taking over a local site.

Two local school boards – the Mt. Diablo and the Contra Costa Board – both turned down efforts by the Rocketship Charter School company for opening a charter school in a low-income area in Contra Costa. Despite the fact both decisions were unanimous, operators of the charter schools are taking their case to the California State School Board in Sacramento on Thursday.

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Matt Damon Joins Diane Ravitch Tour

Matt Damon Diane Ravitch book tour Reign of ErrorAfter a stop in Sacramento last week where she shared the stage with CTA Secretary-Treasurer Mikki Cichocki , Diane Ravitch continued her tour promoting her new book Reign of Error Wednesday Night at CSU Northridge. Matt Damon, whose educator mother was in the audience, brought some Hollywood star power to the event, introducing Ravitch and lauding her stands on major education issues.

Ravitch wasted no time in her hour-long presentation, exposing what she calls hoaxes being perpetrated on the public and on the education community, largely by corporate and billionaire so-called reformers. "America is not falling behind," noted Ravitch, sharing recent data that ties the US with Finland, a nation often ranked at the top in education.

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New Study Shows Mixed Results in Charter Comparison

A new Stanford study comparing the performance of traditional public schools and charters comes to largely the same conclusion reached in a 2009 survey by the same group. While acknowledging some growth in charter achievement over the last four years, the study answers the question “Are charter schools better than traditional schools?” width “Yes,” “No” and “It depends.”

Improving on results from four years ago, about a quarter to a third of charters outperformed local district schools in reading and math, while at the same time 19% performed “significantly worse” in reading and 31% performed “significantly worse” in math.

It’s often difficult to meaningfully compare charter school results to traditional schools because of the vast array of both types of schools, and factors like parental involvement that may give some charter students an edge. On the other hand, a well-run traditional school may have an advantage over a fly-by-night or exploitative charter operation that isn’t bound by the same rules and accountability as its public counterpart.

The latest study confirms that a well-run charter width a committed staff and a sound program is a viable educational opportunity for many students, but also that short-sighted “shut down the school and replace it width a charter” solutions promoted by so-called reform groups are more concerned width labels rather than the actual substance of what makes a successful school.

CTA represents many charter school workers and over the years we have found that the best charters are those that treat their teachers as professionals, and provide pay and benefit packages that keep their schools from becoming revolving doors for teaching staffs. Other charter operators who see public education as a money-making venture and who “stack ‘em deep and teach ‘em cheap,” or who see teachers as cogs in a one-size-fits-all machine, undermine the potential of charter schools as a creative and viable alternative to the traditional public school model.

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Capitol News: Improving Charter School Governance

On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, the Assembly Education Committee approved a proposal co-sponsored by CTA that requires charter school governing boards to comply width a statute that promotes transparency and accountability to parents and the public in the operation of public schools and expenditure of public funds.

Overall, the goal of AB 913 (Chau) is to have charter schools operate width integrity to ensure their employees (some of whom are represented by CTA) are not deemed ineligible to participate in governmental pension plans by the IRS. Charter school employees are part of the public education system and should receive the protections and benefit plans afforded to all public educational employees, including participation in CalSTRS and CalPERS.

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