The Blog

Stockton Teachers Mass in Fight to Make Classrooms, Students District's Top Priority

More than 350 members of the Stockton Teachers Association gathered on Wednesday to learn the status of their 31-month battle to win an excellent education for every student.

During the meeting, Chapter President John Steiner, a high school teacher, and bargaining team members provided a status report on negotiations with the district. The chapter’s organizing team spelled out steps members will be taking in the weeks ahead to pressure the district to make students the top priority and to put Proposition 30 funds into the classroom, as voters intended when they passed the ballot measure.

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CSU Students Protest "Student Success Fees"

As part of “Degrees not Debt” actions this week, students from several CSU campuses and community colleges rallied outside the CSU Board of Trustees in Long Beach Thursday to protest so-called “student success fees” being considered by the board and already in effect on 11 campuses. The fees, totaling nearly $800 per student, are viewed by many as tuition hikes.

Protesters had support from CSU faculty members as well as CTA Board members. The event was organized by NEA, the California Faculty Association (CFA) and Students for Quality Education (SQE).

Inside the trustee meeting, while a few students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo spoke in favor of maintaining local control of the use of student fees and seemed to support what their campus was using them for, the majority of students criticized the fees as an unfair tuition hike that is putting a university education out of reach for many current and prospective students.

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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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Bay Area Educators Seek Legislative Support for Keeping Students Safe and Prepared

(Photo above) Center – Ann Katzburg, from San Ramon, and a team of educators discuss AB 215 with its author, Assembly Education Chair Buchanan during a Tuesday morning meeting. This team and other teams met with more than a dozen lawmakers with a focus on the two important CTA-backed bills.

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Students or Billionaires First? Investigative Reporters Provide Answer


(Photo above) Michelle Rhee attacks teachers unions during a January 2012 “listening tour” of Sacramento.

Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington D.C. schools, calls her organization “StudentsFirst,” but a new white paper by investigative reporters at the Center for Public Integrity suggests “Billionaires First” might be a more appropriate name.

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Wealth Disparities Balloon: Working Poor, Our Students' Parents, Have Hard Time

(Graphic above: source – Economic Analysis and Research Network.)

A recent San Francisco Chronicle article highlights a new study by the Economic Analysis and Research Network  that finds the income disparity between the wealthy and everyone else in California has grown.

The state now stands 17th nationally in terms of income disparity, with the top 1 percent averaging $1.2 million annually, versus $46,000 for everyone else.

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Sacramento educators protest outside StudentsFirst Headquarters

Protesting Students FirstAs part of the national “Raise Your Hand for Our Schools” a group of hale and hearty Sacramento-area educators braved the chill Monday afternoon to leaflet outside the offices of StudentsFirst, the lobbying and education reform group founded by divisive public education critic Michelle Rhee. Teachers called attention to proven education reforms like smaller class sizes and investing more in schools and community partnerships. Rhee’s proposed, unproven policies would weaken teachers’ ability to advocate for students. And since Rhee and StudentsFirst are determined to silence educators, it comes as no surprise that Rhee’s staffers called in the police to investigate the peaceful demonstration. 

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Educators Urge State Board to Maintain Flexibility in Local Funding Regulations

(Photo above) Kendall Vaught, a 39-year teacher of English Language Learners and other students, stresses to the State Board of Education the importance of drafting regulations that maintain the flexibility and local decision-making that are the essence of the Local Control Funding Formula.

(Photo above) Nikki Milevsky, a school psychologist and president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, discusses her testimony about the LCFF regulations with John Fensterwald, a Sacramento-based education reporter.

CTA President Dean Vogel, CTA Board Members, and more than 160 other educators, education support professionals, parents, and students addressed the State Board of Education Thursday in Sacramento. The testimony came as the education policy body heard from the public about its proposed regulations on the Local Control Funding Formula.

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Rhee's Road Show Offers Nothing New

Last night StudentsFirst founder and self-proclaimed education reformer Michelle Rhee held the first of a series of nationwide “teacher town halls” in Los Angeles, in what Rhee describes as an effort to move beyond “the extreme rhetoric and personal attacks overshadowing what’s important: getting every child into a great school with great teachers.” Ironic given the extreme rhetoric and blaming of “bad” teachers and principals Rhee uses as the cornerstone of her "reform" ideas.

Rhee’s co-panelists last night were Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet school, who uses what Rhee apparently considers un-extreme rhetoric when he refers to teachers unions as “roaches", and George Parker, the former Washington DC teachers union president who is now a paid Rhee staffer. As expected, last night’s event was very controlled. Audience questions were pre-screened on cards and Rhee and her co-panelists chewed up 90% of the speaking time. How is that a "town hall"?

The panel spent most of the evening talking about accountability and the need to get rid of bad teachers, and how unions were an obstacle to "real" reform. There was little if any discussion of supporting teachers or providing our public schools the resources they need.

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Capitol News: CTA Co-Sponsored Bill to Protect Students from Misconduct Approved by Senate Education Committee

Assembly Bill 449 by Assembly member Al Muratsuchi passed out of the Senate Education Committee Tuesday on a bipartisan consent vote. The bill strengthens current law requiring superintendents to fulfill their duty to report to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing any allegations of misconduct by certificated staff when warranted.

CTA's main concern is to keep students safe while safeguarding the professional rights of educators. On Monday, Alicia Williamson, Vice Chair of CTA's Credentials and Professional Development Committee, and fellow lobby team member Tim Sergent successfully lobbied nine members of the Senate Education Committee to vote in support of the CTA co-sponsored bill.

AB 449 now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee where CTA will continue to seek support for passage of this important bill to remedy deficiencies in current law to ensure the welfare and safety of our school children.


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