School Funding

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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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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First Half of $1.25 Billion in Common Core State Standards Funding is Headed to Schools

When Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson says the check is in the mail, he means it.

The state’s public schools are beginning to receive $622 million, the first installment of a California budget appropriation of $1.25 billion to help educators fully implement the ambitious national Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards are designed to help all students achieve academic excellence and acquire critical thinking and other skills required to succeed in college and their careers.

Under state law, districts can decide how best to use their allotment of the funds to train teachers, buy materials, and purchase technology.

“Allocating $1 billion to help local school districts implement the Common Core State Standards is great and welcome news for California’s students. The money is much-needed to provide training, professional development, textbooks and materials,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “The transition to the Common Core State Standards will dramatically impact how teachers teach. Educators must have the support and resources they need in order for the new standards to be implemented effectively.”

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New Report Released: A Deeper Look at QEIA Implementation

New independent research shows that the kinds of proven reforms provided by a CTA-backed state school turnaround program is helping hundreds of at-risk California schools improve and innovate, CTA President Dean E. Vogel announced today in a news conference at a successful elementary school in the program.

The Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) targets low-income schools like Harmon Johnson Elementary in the Twin Rivers Unified School District. The high-poverty school is flourishing and recently won a high-profile national award for excellence. The school has been receiving extra resources due to the QEIA law of 2006. Parental involvement and volunteering have soared at the school as well.

“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 CTA President Dean Vogel. "New research shows that these proven reforms are leading to positive impacts in achievement, school reputation, school climate and parent engagement. This is exciting to see and watch.”

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Take Action to Expose Secret Super PACs

Last November, you said NO to the secret Super PACs’ agenda and helped the Alliance for a Better California defeat the deceptive Proposition 32. We want to thank you for your support.

During the campaign, we learned that the group ‘Americans for Responsible Leadership’ was actually a front used to funnel $11 million into California from anonymous donors trying to gain more power for special interests.

But even after being exposed, the Super PACs still refuse to name their real donors.

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) began investigating the dark money groups last year and has already forced them to admit to their deception. They are empowered to expose the special interests for who they really are and fine them for breaking California law.

Help us unmask the Super PAC Billionaires now. Sign our petition to urge the FPPC to fast-track their investigation.

Californians deserve a speedy resolution to this issue to reveal the truth and preserve the integrity of our election process. Sign our petition today and help us ensure that this never happens again.

P.S. To learn more about our fight against the Super PACs, please read this news story.

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CTA and NEA Press Lawmakers to Make Reauthorized ESEA Work

Congress could take up its version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – HR 5 or the Student Success Act – as early as next week. Our members in California and National Education Association members around the country are urging federal lawmakers to turn the reauthorization bill into one that will work for our students and our schools.

NEA has opposed the bill in committee, and we share concerns about several troubling aspects of the proposed legislation.

HR 5 would undermine the federal government‘s work to ensure equity for all students. The bill would undercut efforts to get targeted resources to schools that educate students width greater needs. HR 5 would also weaken collective bargaining protections involving teacher evaluation. The bill would also continue to force schools to use high stakes testing that is harming teaching and learning.

NEA is also working to stop amendments that would add private school vouchers to the bill. Our members and educators throughout the nation are urging Congress to restore bargaining rights and end the focus on high stakes testing.

Congress could amend the measure over the next several days. In its current form, the bill is not acceptable.

Please urge Congress to refocus the ESEA on its original purpose: ensuring equity for all students.

Call your Congressional Representatives at 1-866-420-3592 and ask them to:

  • Recognize educators’ roles in student success, which means stopping the push for high stakes testing and guaranteeing teachers a voice in their profession through collective bargaining.
  • Oppose any efforts to divert public education funding to private school vouchers.

Or email your Congressional Representatives width the same message.

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Good News from CalSTRS: Investment Return Rate Better than Expected

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is reporting some good news to its members and the public: the system’s investments earned 13.8% over the past year—a drastic comparison to earnings in recent years.

“The reality is that even good investment performance addresses only part of the long-term needs of the fund, which suffered a severe setback in the crash of 2008,” said CalSTRS Investment Committee Chair Harry Keiley, a high school teacher and CTA member.

CTA and its members – who have partnered width CalSTRS since its founding in 1913 – are committed to working width CalSTRS to find a long-term funding solution, as noted in the association’s retirement position papers.

CalSTRS’ earnings in the 2012 fiscal year handily outpaced its “assumed rate of 7.5%.” The assumed rate is the factor used in estimating the fund’s long-term earnings, the financial resources that help cover its projected costs – including the funding of retirees’ pensions. CalSTRS has earned at a 12.6% rate over the past three years and at a 7.5% rate over the past 20 years. Over the past five years – due to the impact of the Great Recession – the system’s earnings rate hit only 3.7%.

CalSTRS board members and staff caution that investment earnings fluctuate, and the stock market’s volatility in recent years spotlights the need for the legislature and the governor to help the system achieve long-term stable funding. CalSTRS is responsible for making pension payments to 862,000 California educators and their families.

Both Keiley and CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes point out that good investment earnings are just one element needed to keep CalSTRS on solid ground. “The Legislature and the Governor must implement a long-term funding plan that includes gradual, predictable and fair contribution increases for all parties involved,” Ehnes advises.

CalSTRS staff note that the governor and legislature alone have the power to change the system’s contribution rate, the amount employers and employees pay into the pension fund each month.

CalSTRS is the largest teacher pension fund and the second largest pension fund in the U.S.

Check the CalSTRS news release about the system’s earnings and the CalSTRS Investment Overview for more information.

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Governor Brown Tapped as “America’s Greatest Education Governor"

California Teachers Accept Award on Governor’s Behalf; He Addresses 9,000 Educators via Video

(Photo above) Governor of California Jerry Brown speaks via a live video feed during the presentation of America’s Greatest Education Governor. NEA Today/Rick Runion

The National Education Association at its annual Representative Assembly in early July named California Governor Jerry Brown its “Education Governor of the Year.”

The 325,000-member California Teachers Association nominated Brown for the prestigious annual award for his ongoing commitment to public schools. He led the fight for his Proposition 30 last year to stop billions in education cuts and generate $47 billion over the next seven years for schools, colleges and other essential services. He also last week signed into law his historic overhaul of public school funding that provides more money to help at-risk English learners and low-income students succeed.

Leaders of CTA – Davis Counselor Dean Vogel, Pittsburg Elementary Educator Eric Heins, and San Bernardino Youth Services Teacher Mikki Cichocki-Semo – accepted the award on the governor’s behalf.

Later, the governor addressed the Representative Assembly via video feed, thanking California’s teachers for their courage and support that helped quality and pass Proposition 30, the revenue measure that stopped another $5 billion in cuts and began the turn-around of the state’s finances.

The governor recalled his signing the state’s collective bargaining law more than 38 years ago and the continued need to provide local participation and leadership from teachers who are closest to the students. He advocates giving those in the classrooms and local school districts “maximum authority.”

“Teaching is lighting a fire, and the job of politicians is to enable teachers to light that fire….not to regiment students like they’re on parole,” Brown said. He also downplayed the role of testing in education, noting that “you don’t [get students to] learn by hammering people. You [get them to] learn by inspiring them.”

 

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Capitol News: Broad-based Coalition Comes Together to Lobby Against Higher Ed Privatization Bill

More than 30 CTA members from community colleges, CSU, UC and students came together to urge lawmakers to vote against CTA-opposed SB 520. This bill, a measure by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would divert education dollars to private contractors to provide online lower-division courses, instead of college faculty.

Bill opponents wanted to lobby members of the Assembly before they left for summer break because the bill may be heard in the Assembly as soon as lawmakers return.

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Capitol News: Governor Brown Signs Budget

Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed California’s new, $96.3 billion budget that overhauls public school funding to help at-risk students succeed, and includes $1.25 billion in school district funding to prepare for Common Core State Standards.

“I don’t say all problems are over,” the Los Angeles Times reports Brown stated at a Capitol news conference. “But the budget is balanced.”

CTA appreciates the hard work done by all, starting width the passage of Proposition 30, to pass a budget that will begin to pay back some of the funds owed to schools after years of cuts and provides additional support to students width greater needs.

“While it will take years for our schools to fully recover, this budget is a big step in the right direction,” said CTA President Dean Vogel. “These new standards will dramatically impact teaching and learning and educators must have the resources they need to help students succeed.

Read more budget news stories here and here, and the governor’s news release.

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

© 1999- California Teachers Association