Advocacy

Guest Blogger: Gretel Liana Rodriguez describes her experiences as a novice NEA RA attendee

Gretel Liane Rodriguez This is my third NEA Representative Assembly, and I am as excited to be here as if it were my first! My first RA was in Washington, D.C., and I think that is the best place to attend the RA for the first time. I traveled all alone and didn’t know anyone that year. I have seven friends traveling with me this year, and I am rooming with two of them. I had to beg to find a roommate my first year. Luckily, a veteran took me under her wing. 

There is one true fact about the RA: Everyone is so friendly and kind to “newbies.” You feel loved and cared for – so Shout Out if you are new so that others can help you.

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NEA President: We Won't Give Up

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel responds to the latest round of attacks on the teaching profession and our union:

"I have a message for those people who would seek to reduce children to a test score and teaching to a technological transaction. You are mistaken if you think we will see your attacks and get discouraged, that we will read the headlines and give up. You may put students in the name of your campaigns but that doesn’t mean you really care about the millions of children in our public schools. If you did truly care, you they would look at the more than half of public school children who live in poverty and wage your crusades against the inequity in our economy." 

Watch the video to hear his full statement:


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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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Degrees Not Debt

Every American deserves a fair shot at higher education. But student debt has become a barrier to accessing the American Dream.

We believe need-based student aid must be increased, student loans must be made more affordable, public service must be encouraged through expanded loan forgiveness, institutional aid must be increased.

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CTA Members: Thank You for GOTV Efforts

A letter from CTA President Dean Vogel: 

I want to thank you all for getting out and exercising your right to vote yesterday, and for all the work you did to get colleagues, family and friends to the polls. California students and educators were victorious in all our key races. 

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson came in first. As expected with three candidates in the race, no one got the 50 percent majority necessary to win in the primary. Torlakson will face corporate education reformer and school privatizer Marshall Tuck in November. So please, keep talking about Tom even now. This will be a big battle, and we expect a lot of outside special-interest money for Tuck.

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In Capitol Today, Educators Advocate for Increased Funding, Mandatory Kindergarten, Secure Retirement

On the 60th Anniversary of Brown vs Board of Education: Still Separate, Still Unequal

60 years ago, the Brown vs. Board of Education decision resulted in revolutionary changes in our nation, but today many say that if eliminating school segregation and inequity was the primary goal of Brown, it has failed

Public schools in America are still largely segregated by race and income. This UCLA Civil Rights Project study warns that California schools are still segregated – and that the state’s schools are the most segregated in the nation when it comes to Latino students

California has had an extremely dramatic increase in the segregation of Latinos, who on average attended schools that were 54% white in 1970, but now attend schools that are 84% non-white.

Education is the gateway to opportunity and that’s why educators are commemorating the 60th anniversary by leading efforts across the nation to focus attention on the unfinished agenda of Brown v. Board—ensuring meaningful educational opportunity for all of America’s students.


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CTA Joins Movement to #BringBackOurGirls

Bring Back Our GirlsEarlier today, the CTA Board of Directors joined the worldwide #BringBackOurGirls movement and sent a letter to President Obama asking him to do everything in his power to rescue the more than 200 school girls who were kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria and risk becoming victims of human trafficking.

According to news reports, the Nigerian government has been slow in its response since the militant group Boko Haram stormed a school and kidnapped the girls, who were there to take exams despite cultural pressures and threats from the militant group. Earlier this month a Boko Haram leader threatened to “sell” the girls.

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UTLA Science Teacher Victorious

Greg Schiller, the LAUSD science teacher who was removed from his school in February in a flap over science fair experiments, will be back at Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts tomorrow. Schiller has been languishing in “teacher jail” since February, unable to help his students prepare for the AP exams or coach his fencing team.

The community, parents, and students came to Schiller’s defense, holding a series of protests demanding that the District allow him back into the classroom.

Schiller has been vocal in explaining that the two student experiments were in no way dangerous and he had not even seen them when an administrator pulled them from the science fair and sent Schiller to “teacher jail.” Many in the scientific community were in disbelief that the experiments that were built to convert one form of energy to another could be mistaken for “imitation weapons.”


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Vergara Trial Nears End

Vergara Trial testimony wraps up this week with closing arguments scheduled for March 27. Lawyers (bankrolled by billionaire David Welch and other corporate “reformers”) representing nine student plaintiffs have charged that California statutes dealing with layoffs, dismissal, and granting permanent status after two years are all unconstitutional and inflict disproportionate harm on poor and minority students. The State of California and intervening parties CTA and CFT have responded that these statutes work well in school districts all over the state, that they help school districts attract and retain quality teachers, and in fact have nothing to say about which teachers are assigned to which schools or to which students.

While the legal arguments are firmly on our side, and hopefully the judge will agree, a quick look back at the testimony over the past two months should lead anyone with common sense—without requiring a law degree—to conclude that the plaintiffs in this case have no case. 

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

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