Education Reform

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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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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Exemplary At-Risk QEIA Schools Have Smaller Class Sizes, More Teacher Collaboration Time

Research released today shows the CTA-sponsored Quality Education Investment Act school turn-around program is a model for prioritizing Local Control Funding.

“The QEIA law demonstrates CTA’s support for students of greatest need, and that discoveries at QEIA schools can offer ideas for Local Control Funding Formula spending by school districts that must target the same at-risk students,” said CTA President Dean Vogel. “The new research shows that lessons learned from exemplary QEIA schools should be shared.”

Findings from “Pathways to Change: Learning from Exemplary QEIA Schools”, the second in a series of five research reports, include seven “pathways” to success: 
  • Reducing Class Size
  • Leveraging Collaboration Time
  • Responding to Student Needs
  • Building Local Accountability
  • Recognizing and Rewarding Students
  • Using Student Data to Intervene
  • Strengthening Leadership

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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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High-poverty Marylin Avenue Elementary thriving under QEIA

QEIA reforms working in LivermoreA recent press conference held at the award-winning Marylin Avenue Elementary in Livermore highlighted new research showing how the Quality Education Investment Act is helping high-poverty schools excel and thrive. More time for professional development is making a big difference at the school, as are smaller class sizes and more resources provided by what is the largest school turnaround law of its kind in the nation.

For its academic gains, Marylin Avenue Elementary won an achievement award from California Business for Education Excellence, and its faculty collaboration is making headlines.

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Diane Ravitch Slams Corporate Reformers and Lauds Public Schools in Sacramento Address

 

(In photo above from r.) Author Diane Ravitch delivered a rousing defense of public education in the state capital on Friday night.  CTA Secretary Treasurer Mikki Cichocki-Semo was among the panelists who introduced. (Photo by Jose Medina)

During a powerful presentation to an estimated hundreds of educators, parents, and community members on Friday night in Sacramento, Prof. and author Diane Ravitch delivered a strident defense of public education and a formidable attack on the “corporate reformers” who seek to profit by convincing elected officials and voters that schools are not doing the job.

Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University and a historian of education, illuminated the Memorial Auditorium near the state Capitol with her message about the deceptive attacks on public education and the “so-called” reform proposals that would cripple schools while enriching special interests.

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Noted Education Historian Diane Ravitch Comes to California

Dr. Diane Ravitch, a leading education activist, author and historian, has become the voice of reason in speaking out for educators and against the corporate education reform agenda. CTA is encouraging educators to come and hear Diane Ravitch as she tours California over the next two weeks discussing her newest book, Reign of Error, The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.

Using her insight from decades on the inside of the education "reform" movement, she is now the leading voice against No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, high-stakes testing, and corporate-backed education reforms. She has been called a “whistle-blower extraordinaire” by the Wall Street Journal.

The forums are being are being held in Sacramento, Berkeley, Stanford, Los Angeles and Northridge.

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CTA Members Speak Out Against Editorial Attacks

This weekend, the San Diego Union Tribune ran a hatchet piece against our union in its Opinion-Editorial section. Along with this, it ran an article by Reformer du Jour Michelle Rhee. At no point did the news outlet ask for our stance or offer a spot to rebut the obviously politically-motivated, unsubstantiated claims. We thank our fearless members who speak up against these attacks and help dispel the myths being pushed out to the pubic.

Below is a response from Sweetwater Education Association member Helen Farias:

As a 2013 SUHSD Teacher of the Year and nominee for San Diego County Teacher of the Year, as well as an active member of Sweetwater Education Association and California Teachers Association, I take strong offense to your portrayal of teachers and their unions. You bash unions for protecting bad teachers, but I know that my union allows exceptional teachers to advocate for their students. Because of union protections, there are teachers in Sweetwater who are challenging one of the most corrupt school boards in the nation...

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Lauderbach Elementary in Chula Vista benefits from QEIA

New independent research shows the state’s Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) of 2006 is helping high-poverty schools like Lauderbach Elementary in Chula Vista to thrive and excel.

“With QEIA, we are finding new and effective ways to help our vulnerable students and to discover practices that all teachers can learn from,” said Jim Groth, a teacher in the Chula Vista Elementary School District and CTA Boardmember. “New research shows that these proven reforms are leading to positive impacts in achievement, school reputation, school climate and parent engagement at our schools of greatest need.”

Watch Lauderbach parent Ofelia Antuna de Dios share her thoughts on the QEIA turnaround program:


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

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