President's Report - September 2013
California Lawmakers Suspend STAR Testing as State Implements Common Core Standards
Earlier this year CTA members led the National Education Association in demanding that there be a moratorium on high-stakes testing until the Common Core State Standards were in place, curricula were developed and educators had opportunities for professional development. Doing just that, California lawmakers this month approved a CTA-supported bill that suspends state testing this year while California overhauls its assessment and accountability system and aligns it to the new standards. AB 484 eliminates the current Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program immediately to allow students and educators to prepare for the new standards and computer-based assessments.
Dean E. Vogel
It makes no sense to make students take outdated tests that are not aligned to the new standards or to test them on material they haven't been taught. We are pleased that the Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Board of Education and the Legislature agreed that implementation of the standards must be done thoughtfully and not rushed through to meet some federal bureaucratic deadline. Lawmakers approved the bill over the objections and threats of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The bill also eliminates the testing of second graders.
School districts will field test the Smarter Balanced Assessments in 2014. But because the transition leaves a lack of comparable data, AB 484 also suspends the Academic Performance Index for the next few years. Read more
and then contact
the Governor and ask him to sign AB 484.
Dismissal Bills Moved to Governor with One Signed into Law
Showing that educators fully support changing the current dismissal process, two CTA-supported bills were approved by lawmakers and one has already been signed into law. As signed by Governor Brown, CTA co-sponsored AB 449 ensures the safety of students by requiring superintendents to report in a timely manner allegations of teacher misconduct to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Superintendents who fail to make the required reports are subject to fines, discipline and misdemeanor prosecution. The Legislature also approved AB 375, which would streamline and shorten the current dismissal process, protect students and provide a fair hearing to educators. Email the Governor and ask him to sign AB 375.
Building CTA's Long-Term Strategic Plan
CTA's Strategic Planning Group met in August to put finishing touches on the eight focus areas as we move closer to developing a strategic plan to guide CTA for the next three to five years. The eight focus areas are: Advocacy on Education Reform; Building an Organizing Culture; Community Engagement and Coalition Building; Leadership and Leadership Development; Organizing Unrepresented Education Workers; Social Justice, Equity and Diversity; Structure and Governance; and Transforming Our Profession. It has been amazing to work with the more than 75 dedicated educators and staff who are part of the planning group. We expect to roll out the Strategic Plan at the October State Council Meeting. For more information, visit www.cta.org/ourfuture.
CTA Ad Campaign Continues 150th Celebration
Continuing to celebrate CTA's 150th anniversary, our fall advertising campaign includes television and radio ads that showcase the inspiration, caring and teaching that California educators give to students from preschool to college. The ads, which are available in English, Spanish and Asian languages, are airing for three weeks. Take a look and listen in the Media Center at www.cta.org.
Take a NEW Look at the California Educator
CTA's award-winning magazine, the California Educator, has a new look for the new school year. After getting input from our members and readers, the Educator has been redesigned from the inside out to feature more stories that impact the work you do with students and in your local chapters. The new sections include Know and Tell, Perspectives, Advocacy, Learning, and CTA & You. In your mail box, you'll notice that the magazine is a new size and has more pages. You can also take a look online and be sure to let us know what you think.
Diane Ravitch Visits California
Be sure to catch education historian, author and activist Diane Ravitch as she returns to California to release her new book, Reign of Error. After admitting that she got it all wrong with her initial support of No Child Left Behind during the Bush administration, Ravitch has become a leading voice for educators and a chief opponent of the corporate education reform agenda. Ravitch has stops planned for Sacramento, Berkley, Stanford, and Los Angeles.