The Blog

Sacramento and Delta Educators Urge Lawmakers to Vote for Schools

(Photo above from l.) Sen. Kathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) listens intently as John Anderson and other members of a half-dozen member team from her area talk about the importance of kindergarten in helping students – particularly those living below the poverty level and those learning English, as well as youngsters of color – master the skills that will help them succeed throughout the academic careers.

 

Educators from a wide area around Sacramento  – some from the Delta Service Center and others from the Capital Service Center – came to the state Capitol on Tuesday to speak with their local lawmakers.

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Grassroots Efforts Help Defeat CTA-Opposed Bill to Shorten Layoff Notice

Sen. Bob Huff (at podium) and Sacramento Educator David Fisher testify in the Senate Education Committee Wed. morning during the panel’s consideration of the CTA-opposed bill by the Senator.

Responding to communications from educators around the state, members of the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday defeated a CTA-opposed bill that would have given certificated educators less time to find new jobs when layoffs are threatened.

SB 559, by Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), would have allowed districts to send out preliminary notices before May 15, compared to the current March 15 deadline.  The bill would have delayed the current final notification deadline from May 15 to June 15.

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Lawmakers Expected to Take Up CTA-backed "Binocular Vision" Measure in January

Not all bills coursing through the legislature make it to the governor’s desk.  Some “die” because they are voted down in committee or on the floor.  Some die because they do not move from the originating house to the other before deadlines occur.

The measures that do make it through the first house – either Assembly or Senate – and then to the second house before the legislature adjourns at the end of its first year of a two-year session earn the title “two-year” bills.  Such measures can gain consideration in January of the second year.

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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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Legislature Closes 2013 by Sending Key Measures to Governor

Both houses of the legislature recessed for the year Thursday night, marking the end of the first half of the 2013-2014 session.

Lawmakers sent the governor a number of major measures, including two important CTA-backed ones.

 AB 375, by Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and Principal Co-author Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), will streamline the teacher dismissal process while protecting students and safeguarding due process. (Click here for more information about the bill and a speedy way to contact the governor in support of it.)

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Supt. Torlakson, Assembly Member Bonilla Outline Ambitious Plan to Improve Student Assessment

Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (pictured above) and Assembly Member Susan Bonilla (D- Concord) unveiled a plan to bring the state’s student assessment system in line width the new common core state standards.  The package has more than 12 short-and long-term recommendations that would apply technology to the testing process and speed assessment results to teachers in  time to use the data to help their students excel.

The plan is extremely ambitious. It reflects an incredible amount of resources and work that must be done to implement the common core state standards and develop the new  comprehensive assessment program.

Teachers are pleased the efforts aim to eliminate unnecessary testing as a way of providing more instructional time.  In fact, as part of the implementation process, the proposal includes suspending all non-federally mandated student testing in 2013-2014, including the second-grade STAR exam.

The newest efforts build on the common core standards and aim to measure student progress toward achieving them.  CTA supports comprehensive assessments of students based on the recently adopted common core standards, as well as the elimination of duplicative, non-federally mandated testing that robs students of instructional time.

The new assessments will seek to measure students’  understanding of and ability to use these important educational concepts  detailed in the common core.

Read more about the plan at State Superintendent Tom  Torlakson Proposes New Statewide Testing System .

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Governor's Pension Plan Will Hurt Recruitment, Retention of Public Workers

On Tuesday, Gov. Brown unveiled a public employee pension reform package that contains some important changes for newly hired educators in California schools.
  1.  All changes apply to NEW CalSTRS members – those hired after the bill has passed and enacted into law.
  2.  All new CalSTRS members would be required to pay half of the normal cost of their retirement. The language is very unclear on the impact this would have for local school districts and school funding under Proposition 98.
  3. Changes the formula for determining retirement benefits from 2% at age 60 to 2% at age 62, and from 2.4% at age 63 to 2.4% at age 65.
  4. Eliminates the ability of teachers width more than 25 years of service to use their single highest year salary when calculating retirement benefits. All future teachers would be required to use their three highest years of salary.
The changes and others in the governor's plan  would undermine the state's ability to recruit and retain teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other key employees.

The California Teachers Association has sent a letter of opposition to the Legislature, urging lawmakers to vote against the bill containing the governor's proposal, AB 340.

More information about the measure can be obtained from the CTA letter of opposition (below).

                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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