Advocacy

Cesar Chavez Elementary Making Great Strides with QEIA

QEIA Cesar Chavez ElementaryHigh-poverty Cesar Chavez Elementary in Alum Rock Union School District is worth watching for its strong academic gains after struggles in the past – progress that’s come with the help of proven reforms funded by the state’s Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) of 2006, stakeholders said at a news conference today.

The noon event was one of several CTA events held as part of a national day of awareness about public school needs in America – and about solutions that are working. QEIA uses reforms like smaller class sizes and better training to target low-income students. New research is showing that QEIA – the largest turnaround program of its kind in the nation, currently helping some 400 at-risk California schools– is also offering ideas about reforms that all schools can use to change practices.

“QEIA funding has provided Cesar Chavez Elementary with resources needed to provide an optimal learning environment where students are challenged through the use of innovative technology and rigorous instruction,” said Rene Sanchez, the director of state and federal programs for the Alum Rock district and former principal of the school. “Structured collaboration and professional development opportunities for teachers, provided by the instructional coach, were essential in creating an environment where there was a clear focus in addressing learning gaps and accelerating student achievement. It truly has been a collaborative effort in maximizing our students’ potential through good teaching.”


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Raising Awareness: Reclaiming Public Education

A long journey begins with a single step. Educators, parents, and community members are taking part in local actions across the country to say collectively and clearly that our students deserve better than “market-driven” reforms. We’re saying “NO” to a corporate takeover of our education system and “YES” to community-driven, student-based decisions.

That’s why CTA, NEA, and the AFT are asking everyone to Raise Your Hand for Great Public Schools.

Our schools belong to all of us: the students who learn in them, the parents who support them, the educators and staff who work in them and the communities that they anchor. We cannot allow ourselves to be divided. Corporate-style reforms that disregard our voices, and attempt to impose a system of winners and losers must end. None of our children deserve to be collateral damage.

We have developed principles and are committed to working together to achieve the policies and practices that they represent. Read and sign on to the principles.

And you can join in by lending your voice, post or tweet. Please consider donating a Facebook post or tweet. Click on "read more" below for a few samples you could share with your friends. 


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CTA Honored with LAANE City of Justice Award

Dean Vogel and Kamala HarrisCTA is honored to have been recognized for our 150 years of advocacy on behalf of California’s educators and students by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) at its City of Justice Awards Gala last night. 

“It takes all of us working together to make change. The fight for good paying jobs, for economic justice, for a healthy environment and for quality public schools can only be won when we work together," said CTA President Dean Vogel, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 political activists. Dean was introduced by State Attorney General Kamala Harris (photo right).

In its 20 years, LAANE has been a progressive voice in creating a more equitable and just society. Our common goals have served to raise awareness about the necessity of a quality education, good jobs, and healthy communities. We’re proud to stand with LAANE in its ongoing commitment to civil rights and economic justice.

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Raise Your Hand for American Education Week

It’s time to “Raise Your Hand for Student Success” by signing a pledge supporting quality education during American Education Week from Nov. 18-22. 

Traditionally celebrated the week before Thanksgiving, American Education Week was first launched in 1921 by both the National Education Association and the American Legion to generate public support for education. Distressed that 25% of the country’s World War I draftees had been illiterate, representatives from both organizations set out to do something about it. 

“Educators were there in 1921 advancing the cause of public education and we remain steadfast to this day,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “We hope local communities will promote American Education Week by visiting their schools, honoring educators, and taking the pledge of support,” Vogel said. 

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Sweetwater EA Stands Up to 11th-hour Change in Health Benefits

Sweetwater Education Association members Sweetwater Education Association members in San Diego County face an eleventh hour change in the district contribution to health benefits that could cost them in excess of $3,000. Superintendent Ed Brand presented the new bargaining proposal on October 7, three weeks before open enrollment was set to begin, threatening to impose the change if SEA does not accept it. 

“The district is trying to unethically use benefits as a way to extract concessions during current contract negotiations,” said SEA President Roberto Rodriguez, adding that the move would hit SEA families hard.

Kicking into gear, SEA’s organizing team coordinated a “Trunk or Treat” rally in the district office parking lot before a school board meeting, with teachers bringing their children to collect treats from the trunks of SEA members’ cars. Pizza was provided for an estimated 600 attendees. “We wanted to demonstrate that SEA knows how to treat our families,” said Helen Farias, SEA organizing chair.

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Shadowy Koch Brothers network fined for money laundering to silence union voices

What goes around comes around. Last week the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) held a much anticipated press conference to share the news that the secret $11 million donation to the NO on Prop 30 / Yes on Prop 32 campaigns was in fact money laundering via the "Koch Brothers Network of dark money political nonprofit corporations".

"This case highlights the nationwide scourge of dark money non-profit networks hiding identities of their contributors,” said Ann Ravel outgoing FPPC Chair.

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Political Watchdog Hits "Dark Money" Contributors with Record Fine

FPPC

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the state agency that oversees elections and contributions, and the state Attorney General have announced a record $1 million fine is being levied against out-of-state organizations that made illegal political contributions during their fight to defeat CTA-backed Proposition 30 and to pass CTA-opposed Proposition 32 last November.

The state watchdog agency detailed a “dark money trail” followed by the Koch brothers, a pair of billionaire political right-wing radicals, to direct about $15 million to No on Prop. 30 – passed by voters – and Yes on Proposition 32 -- a measure that aimed to handcuff unions and gag the voices of working women and men, a measure voters defeated.

The FPPC on Thursday afternoon announced that “record civil settlement against the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) and Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL), two nonprofits operated as part of the ‘Koch Brothers' Network’ of dark money political nonprofit corporations. The settlement requires CPPR and ARL to pay $1 million to the State General Fund for their failure to disclose two dark money independent expenditure contributions in the 2012 election to oppose Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.”

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It's Time for the Shutdown Games to End!

“Congressional Tea Party Republicans have chosen to play games with the lives of our most vulnerable in society to score ideological political points,” said NEA director of government relations Mary Kusler. They have forced deep sequester cuts, shut down the government and are on the brink of bringing the nation’s economy to its knees. Students and senior citizens will pay the price for years to come as a result. It’s time for the games to end!

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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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Making a difference for 150 years

The inspiring, caring commitment and dedication of California’s educators over the 150 years of CTA’s advocacy for students and public education is highlighted in a statewide television and radio ad campaign launched today.

The back-to-school ad campaign, which runs through October 8, includes Bay Area and Sacramento educators, continuing he this year’s CTA’s 150th anniversary celebration and the union’s dedication to student learning and the teaching profession.

Take a look:

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

© 1999- California Teachers Association