The Blog at CTA

Assembly Panel Approves Two Key CTA-backed Measures

(Photo above) Backed by three lawmakers, labor and education coalition members, and her colleagues, California Virtual Academy’s Sara Vigrass, an elementary teacher; (at podium) tells reporters during a recent Capitol news conference that without due process and other protections, teachers’ ability to advocate for their students is undermined.

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The Latest <em>Time</em> Cover is a Sensationalist Outrage

Suggesting that due process makes it nearly impossible to fire teachers, Time's latest cover purposefully leaves the impression that there are many, many teachers in our public schools who should be fired, but are not, solely because of due process laws. Nothing could be further from the truth!

On Monday, Nov. 3, this cover will be in every supermarket checkout line and newsstand across the country—and it’s already online.

TIMEfail

Since when do tech millionaires know anything about teaching children? Why should they determine the lives and careers of educators? Why don’t they volunteer to teach for a week and then share their new wisdom?

 

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Journalist, Educator Derides "Shibboleths" about Due Process

Steve O’Donoghue, a long-time journalism teacher who now leads the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative, warns readers in an op-ed published in Sunday’s Sacramento Bee, Focus on teacher tenure distracts from schools’ real problems, that the Vergara lawsuit and the focus on changing “tenure” are diverting attention from the actual challenges facing public education.

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Educators Appeal Meritless Vergara Lawsuit, Say Ruling Hurts Students and Teachers

The organizations representing more than 400,000 California educators today filed an appeal of L.A. Superior Court Rudy Treu’s meritless ruling in Vergara v. State of California.

The notice of appeal filed by CTA and the California Federation of Teachers asks the appeals court to reverse the ruling that undermines students’ education in California by striking down five provisions of the Education Code.

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Vergara Verdict Flawed, Like Lawsuit Itself

Like the Vergara lawsuit itself, today’s ruling is deeply flawed. CTA, CFT and the state of California will appeal. We will appeal on behalf of students and educators. Circumventing the legislative process to strip teachers of their professional rights hurts our students and our schools. 

During the nearly two-month trial, numerous defense witnesses, including superintendents, principals, teachers, and nationally-recognized education policy experts testified that these laws work well and benefit students in well-run school districts all over the state. The plaintiffs put on administrators from poorly-managed school districts like Oakland, who attempted to blame the challenged statutes for their district’s problems, rather than poor management and an incredibly high teacher and administrator turnover rates.

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Educators Urge Lawmakers to Support Bill to Protect Students and Due Process

(Photo above from r.) CTA educators Don Bridge, Deborah Adams, and Mary Jan Roberts learn during a Tuesday meeting with Sen. Correa’s chief of staff, Amy Jenkins, that the senator is not only supporting the CTA-backed measure, but he’s also agreed to sign onto the bill as a principal co-author.


A team of CTA members was in the state Capitol on Tuesday meeting with legislators and legislative staff in support of a measure backed by CTA and EdVoice that would protect students by streamlining the dismissal process for certificated employees who have been charged with egregious misconduct, including specific drug crimes, child abuse and sexual misconduct.

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Trial Underway for Meritless Lawsuit Targeting Teachers' Rights

The Vergara trial attacking due process for teachers facing dismissal, seniority/experience-factored layoffs, and the two-year probationary period began in Los Angeles this morning. After plaintiff attorneys opened by previewing a case they claim will show these teacher rights are unconstitutional, attorneys for the State of California, as well as attorneys for intervening parties CTA and CFT laid out strong arguments for why their case would show that the plaintiffs claims are completely without merit, and that these laws actually provide students with a quality, stable teaching force.

Students Matter, the shadowy organization behind this lawsuit, did not let a weak case stop them from pulling out all the stops for a huge noon press conference. Silicon Valley billionaire David Welch and lead attorneys and case plaintiffs all addressed the media, trying to make a case, where, frankly, there is none. Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin was on hand to lend support, showing the connection between some of the same groups of anti-union corporate education "reformers" and this case. Fortunately CFT President Josh Pechthalt and CTA Board members Leslie Littman and Toby Boyd were there to give educators a voice and to tell our side of this story.

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Under Guise of Protecting Children, New Initiative Would Attack Basic Fairness

A new initiative threatens to set aside a basic element of American justice – the principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.

Proponents of the new measure suppposedly designed to “protect children” are proposing to suspend without pay a certificated educator merely accused of “egregious misconduct.” Proponents are also proposing to allow unfounded accusations to be placed in an educator’s personnel file forever.

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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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Senate Education Defeats Two Opposed Measures; Third Moves Over Educators’ Objections

At the urging of educators, the Senate Education Committee  on Wednesday again defeated two measures that would have respectively undermined effective teacher evaluations and undercut educators’ right to a fair hearing on misconduct allegations.  At the same time, despite educators’ objections, the panel approved an opposed measure that would privatize higher education online coursework.

All three bills were slated for “vote only” proceedings, but the author of one, Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), offered some amendments and testimony aimed at moving his CTA-opposed  SB 441.

Continued objections by representatives of Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, CTA and other employee organizations led Senators to defeat the measure.  That action came despite extraordinary efforts by StudentsFirst – the so-called “education reform” group started by disgraced former Washington D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee – which brought dozens of witnesses to the Capitol in hopes of swaying lawmakers.

The defeat of SB 441, a flagship bill for StudentsFirst, is widely viewed as a rebuff to the organization, which has been reported to rely heavily on anti-union groups for funding.  Recent news reports have uncovered the fact StudentsFirst has received millions of dollars from the Walton family, founders of the non-union WalMart superstore chain.

The panel also defeated SB 531, by Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale).  That bill would have rolled back  due-process protections for certificated faculty and eliminated the May 15 deadline for layoff notifications related to reductions in force.  The bill would also have let school boards ignore the rulings of impartial panels reviewing their personnel actions.

The panel’s approval of SB 520, the CTA-opposed higher education measure by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), sends the online privatization measure to the  Senate Appropriations Committee.

Educators will seek to defeat the bill there.

 

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