The Blog

Charter School Operators Charged with Interfering with, Coercing Employees Seeking to Form Union

(Photo above) Flanked by charter school teachers and other supporters, Assemblymember Roger Hernandez (at podium) talks to reporters during a recent Capitol news conference about his CTA-cosponsored measure to shore up the rights of charter school employees to organize. The measure also aims to block charter school management companies to profit at students’ expense.

The employees of Los Angeles’ largest charter school management organization are charging the chain’s management with using coercion and trying to undermine the educators’ right to form a union.

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Lawmakers, Educators Propose Comprehensive Changes to Boost Charter Accountability, Transparency, and Fair Access to All Students

(Photo above) Backed by teacher representatives and charter school teachers, Sen. Leno spells out that his SB 322 “helps ensure that admission requirements for charter schools encourage equal access for all students….”

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Guest Blogger: Gretel Liana Rodriguez describes her experiences as a novice NEA RA attendee

Gretel Liane Rodriguez This is my third NEA Representative Assembly, and I am as excited to be here as if it were my first! My first RA was in Washington, D.C., and I think that is the best place to attend the RA for the first time. I traveled all alone and didn’t know anyone that year. I have seven friends traveling with me this year, and I am rooming with two of them. I had to beg to find a roommate my first year. Luckily, a veteran took me under her wing. 

There is one true fact about the RA: Everyone is so friendly and kind to “newbies.” You feel loved and cared for – so Shout Out if you are new so that others can help you.

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City Budget in the Red? Mayor Reed Blames the Unions!

Sacramento Bee Columnist Dan Walters has apparently come to believe the spin spun by the pension “reformers” who assert that cities’ fiscal woes are due to the high costs of providing pensions to the women and men – the first responders and others – who put their lives on the line for these cities’ residents.

The word whirling by the likes of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed –  and the Texas millionaire who is supporting his efforts – holds that if these “high pension payments” were reduced to better levels, all would be right for the cities.

In fact, cities in fiscal trouble don’t have their police officers and firefighters to blame.  The voters should be blaming officials – like Mayor Reed – who made fiscal and urban planning decisions that have put their localities in the hole.

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New Web Site Spotlights Right Wing Zealots Playing the Part of Think-Tanks

The Beatles sang that “money can’t buy you love,” but it certainly can buy a lot of right-wing “thinking.”

New information cobbled together by two sources – the Center for Media and Democracy and its partner Progress Now – is shining a spotlight on efforts by right-wing zealots to package their corporate agenda as if it were the product of nonpartisan research.

Simply put, the bad guys are pretending to be good-guy researchers.  

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Anti-union Plaintiffs Drop Two Districts from Suit

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit -- Vegara v. State of California -- have dropped two school districts from the suit that seeks to overturn due process protections for teachers and other laws governing layoffs. The lawsuit threatens to make it harder to attract and retain quality teachers by asserting that the laws governing teacher dismissals, permanent status, and layoffs are unconstitutional.

Dismissing two of three school districts demonstrates the plaintiffs don’t have viable claims in this case.  We continue to see this case as baseless and meritless, and we believe it does nothing to address the real problems facing our schools. Simply put, this lawsuit highlights the wrong problems, proposes the wrong solutions, and follows the wrong process.

The plaintiffs, a group called Students Matter—which describes itself as a nonprofit organization dedicated to sponsoring impact litigation to promote access to quality public education—say they are focusing on defendants including Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the state, and the two teachers unions, which voluntarily signed on to defend vital state education laws.

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Vote Today as If Your Future Depends Upon it: (P.S.: It Does!)

Voters’ decisions today in California’s elections will impact virtually every aspect of our lives. The passage of Proposition 30 will protect California’s K-12 public schools, the community colleges, and the state university systems from another $6 billion in devastating cuts….cuts that would come on top of slashes that have pared $20 billion from the education of our most important natural resource – our young people.

Voters’ defeating Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that would boost the political power of Super PACS and other wealthy special interests at the expense of the rest of us, will stop this cynical attack on middle-class workers, including educators, firefighters, and nurses.

Your vote matters – and the polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM.

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Prop. 30 "Best Option"; Prop. 32 "Reeks," LA Times Columnist Declares

Looking for sage advice on how to vote Tuesday on California’s ballot measures? One need look no further than Monday’s offering by LA Times Columnist George Skelton.  Skelton (pictured at left) is the award-winning journalist who’s been covering political shenanigans for decades from his perch in Sacramento.

Skelton has looked over each ballot measure closely and critically. Most importantly, he’s summed it all up quickly and succinctly, particularly Prop. 30, the governor’s revenue measure to aid public education, and Prop. 32, the cynical Special Exemptions Act aimed at silencing the voices of union members and other middle class voters while boosting the political power of wealthy special interests.

Writes Skelton about Proposition 30: “It isn't about "Sacramento politicians. It's about whether to cut $5.9 billion more out of public education, from kindergarten through the universities. A yes vote means no cuts. A no vote brings out the machete….The measure isn't perfect, but it's the best option for now.”

Opines Skelton about Proposition 32: “The measure is cynically billed as ‘The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act.’ It's actually about one crowd of interests on the right attempting to cripple a rival interest, labor, using $11 million in secret laundered money. It reeks.”

Read the entire column at Last Minute Advice on State Ballot Measures.

 

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School Supporters Take to Phones, Streets, Airwaves for Prop. 30, Against Prop. 32

Photo above: CTA President Deal Vogel (c.) joins more than 60 educators at the Sacramento City Teachers Association making phones calls to voters to secure the passage of Proposition 30, the only measure on the ballot to stop $6 billion in trigger cuts to schools, and to defeat Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act that will increase the political power of wealthy special interests.

Photo left: Educator Carlos Rico tells a reporter for Channel 19, the Spanish language station in the Sacramento media market, why passing Proposition 30 is so vital for schools, students, and their families.

Throughout California on the last weekend before Election Day, thousands of dedicated educators are making phone calls, walking precincts, and giving media interviews – all urging voters to approve Proposition 30 and defeat Proposition 32.

For public education and its nearly one million students, the passage of Proposition 30 is crucial.  It will stop $6 billion in automatic or “trigger” cuts from taking effect.  Additional cuts of that magnitude will hit schools hard, schools that have already been slammed by more than $20 billion in cuts.

For middle class voters and working women and men, the defeat of Proposition 32 will ensure that their voices will be heard in the state Capitol and not be drowned out by the unfettered political contributions of wealthy special interests.

Wealthy special interests are hard at work, trying to defeat Proposition 30 and pass Proposition 32.  To counter potentially illegal activities, the state’s political watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), has gone to court in hopes of forcing one out-of-state Super PAC to reveal the sources of the $11 million it has given for Prop. 30 and against Prop.  32.

Polls are open from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 6.  Persons who have received vote-by-mail ballots are urged to consider dropping them off at polling places on Tuesday instead of putting them in the mail and risking that they do not arrive in time.

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Columnist Calls Prop. 32's Real Purpose "To Cripple Unions Politically"

Los Angeles Times Columnist George Skelton
George Skelton, a highly respected and insightful political commentator for the Los Angeles Times, has turned his "de-cloaking" device onto Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act.   And what he's turned up should help remove the blinders from anyone's eyes.

In a column published October 17 and aptly titled, "Prop. 32's Real Purpose is to Cripple Labor Unions Politically," the long-serving Sacramento observer put it succinctly:

"Prop. 32's real purpose is to cripple labor unions politically. It would do this by prohibiting unions from using payroll deductions for political purposes, width or widthout a worker's permission.

"Corporations — and this is particularly deceptive — also would be covered by the ban. But they generally don't raise political money width payroll deductions. They do it either by dipping into their corporate treasuries or by putting the squeeze on highly paid executives," Skelton writes.

"As a solution to special-interest influence in politics, Prop. 32 is a self-serving sham," Skelton concludes.

Read the entire article in the LA Times: George Skelton's Oct. 17 Column on Prop. 32.

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