Education Reform

California Educators Call for Duncan Resignation

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Because of his ongoing lack of leadership and advocacy on what is really needed to help our schools succeed, the California delegation to the NEA Representative Assembly has submitted a New Business Item calling for Duncan's resignation

His department's failed education agenda has focused on more high-stakes testing, grading and pitting public school children against each other based on test scores, and for continuing to promote policies and decisions that undermine public schools and colleges, the teaching profession, education professionals and education unions.

Teachers are not the problem. Teachers are part of the solution. And it’s time we have a Secretary of Education who understands and believes that.

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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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300 California Groups Back Common Core

Just as CTA members are reading their latest California Educator magazine all about the value and challenges of the Common Core State Standards, there is good news that more than 300 California business, nonprofit and children’s groups have signed a statement supporting the landmark new standards.

Circulated by the nonprofit children’s group Children Now, the full statement of signers represents an impressive array of community and business groups, including the California State PTA and various chambers of commerce, the San Diego NAACP, several urban school district superintendents, and various chapters of United Way. Read this EdSource story about the outpouring of support.

The statement says Common Core “will benefit students by having fewer, clearer, and deeper standards and require a greater use of analysis, critical thinking and real-world skills.” The petition also backs the Smarter Balanced assessments of the standards because the tests “are designed to help educators and parents know if students are progressing and understanding what they are supposed to be learning.”

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

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