Human Rights

Governor's Pension Plan Will Hurt Recruitment, Retention of Public Workers

On Tuesday, Gov. Brown unveiled a public employee pension reform package that contains some important changes for newly hired educators in California schools.
  1.  All changes apply to NEW CalSTRS members – those hired after the bill has passed and enacted into law.
  2.  All new CalSTRS members would be required to pay half of the normal cost of their retirement. The language is very unclear on the impact this would have for local school districts and school funding under Proposition 98.
  3. Changes the formula for determining retirement benefits from 2% at age 60 to 2% at age 62, and from 2.4% at age 63 to 2.4% at age 65.
  4. Eliminates the ability of teachers width more than 25 years of service to use their single highest year salary when calculating retirement benefits. All future teachers would be required to use their three highest years of salary.
The changes and others in the governor's plan  would undermine the state's ability to recruit and retain teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other key employees.

The California Teachers Association has sent a letter of opposition to the Legislature, urging lawmakers to vote against the bill containing the governor's proposal, AB 340.

More information about the measure can be obtained from the CTA letter of opposition (below).
















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NEA honors America’s human and civil rights heroes

NEA will honor 13 of America’s human and civil rights heroes at its annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner in Washington, DC - two of whom are Californians.  In addition to celebrating some of the nation’s leading civil and human rights activists, the ceremony commemorates the 1966 National Education Association-American Teachers Association merger and serves as a time of renewal while renewing a commitment to the social justice struggle that lies ahead.

Mary Ann Pacheco

Professor, Rio Hondo Community College; Whittier, Calif.

Following in the famous footsteps of César Chávez, Mary Ann Pacheco is a long-time advocate for improving the status of labor and the lives of workers, earning her NEA’s César Chávez Acción y Compromiso Human and Civil Rights Award. Pacheco is a staunch advocate of the DREAM Act. She has extended her passion and activism to fighting for the collective bargaining rights of higher education faculty members. She has spoken forcefully for academic freedom and union rights whenever and wherever they are threatened.

Stewart Kwoh

President and Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC); Los Angeles, Calif.

This year’s NEA Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Award will be awarded to Stewart Kwoh for his work in education and his commitment to equal opportunities for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Kwoh has worked tirelessly for the inclusion of Chinese history, culture, language, as well as Chinese American history, in the Los Angeles public school system. Moreover, Kwoh has fought against stereotypes by combining muted diplomacy width steely determination to end discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“We celebrate our civil rights heroes, both past and present, because the struggle for social justice continues and by holding up these heroes we inspire the next generation,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “The people we honor at NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner, whether they are widely-acclaimed or unsung, motivate us to purposeful and principled action by providing a vision of what the world could be width cooperation and understanding.”

The annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner was originally created by the American Teachers Association (ATA), which represented Black teachers in segregated schools—and when NEA and ATA merged in 1966, NEA agreed to carry on this annual human and civil rights awards tradition. NEA members submit nominations for the annual awards.  Nominations are reviewed by NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Committee which makes recommendations to the NEA Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee determines the award recipients.

Detailed information and photos for each honoree may be found at:

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Panel Defeats Opposed Padilla Bill After Educators Charge District Officials with Failing to Comply with Current Laws Protecting Children

(From left) Danette Brown, a teacher from La Habra, and Warren Fletcher, a Los Angeles teacher, testify before the Assembly Education Committee on June 27, urging the panel to reject SB 1530, an ill-advised measure that is diverting attention from the failures of the administration of the Los Angeles Unified School District to follow current laws requiring reports to the state credentialing agency of allegations of misconduct against teachers. Brown displays a declaration she is filing width the credentialing agency requesting an investigation of alleged malfeasance on the part of the credentialed leaders of the state’s largest school district.

After powerful testimony from nearly three dozen educators decrying the bill as an unnecessary  smokescreen, the Assembly Education Committee on June 27 effectively killed a teacher-opposed measure by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles).

SB 1530 needed six “aye” votes to secure the committee’s approval, but only five of the body’s 11 legislators were willing to vote for the flawed proposal that would have undermined educators’ rights to a fair hearing widthout addressing district management’s failure to follow current laws designed to ensure districts act swiftly and appropriately in response to any charges of educator misconduct.

As is standard practice, the committee extended to author Padilla the courtesy of allowing the bill to be “reconsidered” at an unspecified later date. Under rules of the Assembly, though, the measure would have to clear the Education Committee by July 6, and the panel has no meetings scheduled before that date. It would be highly unlikely for the committee to be called into session for the sole purpose of reconsidering one measure, veteran Capitol observers note.

Voting for the teacher-opposed measure were Assembly Education Chair Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Vice Chair Chris Norby (R-Fullerton), and Assembly Members Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), Dr. Linda Halderman (R-Fresno), and Don Wagner (R-Irvine).

Voting against the bill were Assembly Members Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo).  Abstaining were Assembly Members Betsy Butler (D-El Segundo), Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto), Mike Eng (D-Alhambra) and Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara).

During their testimony against the Padilla bill, Danette Brown, a teacher from La Habra, and Warren Fletcher, a teacher from Los Angeles and leader of that city’s more than 35,000 educators and classroom professionals, told lawmakers they were filing width the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the state’s licensing agency, declarations urging the commission to investigate the failure of the LAUSD to comply width current laws requiring district officials to immediately report serious allegations against credentialed personnel, including teachers. A credentialed superintendent or other credentialed school officials who fail to comply width these laws could have their credentials revoked.

More than 24 educators, parents, and school supporters testified against the measure, many displaying their own declarations they are planning to deliver to the credentialing commission in support of an investigation of the LAUSD’s senior administrators and their actions in response to multiple allegations and specific charges involving staff at Miramonte Elementary.

Under current law, the CCTC has the power to convene a three-person panel to review evidence against an educator charged width misconduct and to revoke that educator’s credential if the facts support the allegations. The credential can be revoked even if the individual charged has not been found guilty of a crime in a court of law.

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Average Worker Can Earn More Than CEO's Annual Pay - in 3489 Years

A new study by the Associated Press finds that the average American working stiff - earning the national average annual wage of $39,312 -- could take home more than the annual pay of Simon Property's Chief Executive Officer, David Simon, but the worker would have to toil for 3,489 years to do so. Simon's pay is pegged at $137 million, according to AP.

Some may say the comparison is unfair, because Simon earns much more than the average CEO.  So let's do a truffles-to-apples comparison, using figures provided by AP.

The median pay of a CEO is $9.587 million; the average worker earns $39,312 annually. It would take Joe Average Worker only 244 years to catch up to Joe Median CEO.  A minimum wage worker would have to toil for 636 years just to match the median CEO pay.

So, what do you think about raising the retirement age to 3,489?  Just a thought.....

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Panel Discusses Implementation of GLBT Curriculum, as Californians Celebrate Harvey Milk Day

Stuart Milk (l.), the nephew of slain San Francisco Supervisor and Civil Rights Activist Harvey Milk, talks about his uncle’s legacy as Sen. Mark Leno, author of the bill designating the day in honor of Milk and the bill requiring schools to teach about the achievements of GLBT Californians, looks on. 

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

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