Instruction must prepare students to enter the technical global economy as well as master academic skills. Workforce development should emphasize the creation of jobs in California that are safe and sustainable (including clean technologies and industries and a “green economy”), that protect and strengthen the rights of all employees to organize for the purposes of collective bargaining, and that maintain and improve real wages and benefits for California’s working families. This focus promotes the participation of education employees, labor and local community representatives in the creation and development of policies, programs, and activities aimed at developing the linkages between labor, education, and the economy. Students should have a myriad of opportunities to explore careers and prepare for them. A meaningful educational program must include both academic and vocational education programs that complement and strengthen each other. All students in the public school system should have access to vocational education programs which include proper counseling and guidance services.
Legislation and subsequent regulations must appropriately address both the career/technical and academic needs of our K-16 students. Students deserve and require workforce preparation to enter the technical global economy. A comprehensive program of career technical education must be available to all students from the elementary level through college. Preparation should be initiated in the elementary grades by infusing career awareness across the curriculum. Career exploration and training opportunities must be offered and expanded as students move through middle and secondary grade levels. Career specialization education opportunities offered at postsecondary levels should lead students to advanced certification and appropriate degrees. Legislation and regulations must reflect the importance of integrating academics and career preparation to the extent possible.
The scope of career and technical education programs must include a systematic sequence of learning experiences that provide individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to attain entry-level employment, occupational advancement, upgrading or career change. This includes job preparation, job exploration, and the continuation of general educational growth. Career and technical education include career exploration, job training, work experience, certificate programs, and all basic skill proficiencies related to employment and employable skills, attitudes, and values. Job training/employment training is a component of career and technical education. Job training/employment training
involves learning experiences designed to impart skills, knowledge, and attitudes to properly prepare individuals for immediate employment. The primary responsibility for career and technical education programs should reside within the identified public education community. All Regional Occupational Center/Program, adult school, and other career and technical education programs must be administered by appropriate pre-K-12 and community college districts. All instructors in vocational education, adult education and ROC/ROP programs must hold appropriate valid credentials.
Students should receive high school diplomas only when they have met minimum competency standards. They must have multiple options to demonstrate competency. Districts should make every effort to provide at least one year of CTE courses for all their students. Mandated curriculum/graduation requirements must consider the diverse needs of learners; schools’/localities’ differing abilities and resources; the complex and ever-changing economy and society; and the difference between idealistic goals and practical realities. Graduation requirements must be well-balanced and broadly based, including provisions for both general education (i.e., the common learning or core curriculum required of all students) and specialized education (i.e., career and technical education and college-preparatory education).
CTA believes effective assessment and testing – both aligned to state standards and used as diagnostic tools – can improve instruction and learning. Testing must be age and subject appropriate. It must be free from cultural, racial, gender, socioeconomic and linguistic biases. Teachers must have the resources and professional development to help their students succeed. State and federal intervention in challenged schools must focus on assistance, not sanctions.
Meaningful educational accountability must assure teachers the resources and professional development needed to align curriculum, instruction and assessment with standards. Schools must have adequate materials and facilities. Special programs must assist teachers to help students who do not yet meet standards. Evaluations of the accountability system must rely on valid testing and provide results that are quickly available. Statewide tests should be used as a diagnostic tool, and evaluations of curriculum should rely on local and statewide assessments.
A valid system to measure student achievement is vital, including multiple measures to gather a complete picture of student achievement. Good testing and assessment stems from performance-based assessments including samples and/or portfolios and observations of student work, student classroom performance, student conferences, and teacher- made or teacher-selected tests. Testing and assessment should be used as a diagnostic tool for the improvement of both instruction and learning; reflect what students know and can do; and must be free from cultural, racial, gender, socio- economic and linguistic biases. Standards and assessments must be grade and subject appropriate. Curriculum content, student performance standards, and student assessment programs must work together. Schools should not use student assessment results to evaluate bargaining unit members or determine compensation or employment status. Districts should train bargaining unit members on how best to use assessments to improve student achievement. Teachers must take part in developing, analyzing, and evaluating content standards, student performance standards, and student assessment programs.
Standardized Testing of Students
Standardized achievement tests and/or assessments promote quality education when: content standards support effective curriculum, instruction, professional development and assessment; stakeholders determine high priority content standards, and assessments are appropriate for their intended purposes. Standardized tests are counterproductive when: they are mandatory for students in Grade 2 and below; they do not match students’ motor skills, academic development levels or language proficiency; they limit instructional time; they impede learning, threaten the quality of teaching and learning, and become the criterion for high-stakes decision-making.
Consequences of Accountability Systems
State and federal government intervention must provide assistance to challenged schools including collaboration, professional development, parent involvement, and high-quality assessment. Sanctions do not produce meaningful improvement. Interventions must provide sufficient support and resources to increase the likelihood of success. Schools and districts moving toward improvement must have sufficient time for changes to take effect, and schools must not be stigmatized. CTA specifically opposes sanctions, including taking over public schools, privatizing management, reconstituting schools or converting them to charters. State funds must help all students meet adopted standards. Incentives to individual students, bargaining unit members, schools or districts based on test results constitutes unequal treatment.
Educational Excellence: Accountability Systems
The use of statewide longitudinal data should be limited and relevant to informing effective instructional strategies and student outcomes. Multiple measures of student achievement must be used along with any mandated state and federal assessment systems to show the progress of each student. The use of longitudinal diagnostic information about student learning shall be limited to decisions about instructional strategies, allocation of classroom resources, student placement, and professional development opportunities designed by educators. The privacy rights of students, parents, educators and education support professionals must be protected in a statewide longitudinal education data system, including all privacy protections under state and federal law (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and protections under CALPADS and CALTIDES. The privacy rights of parents, students, educators and education support professionals must be maintained by all users of education data, including state and local officials, researchers, and policy makers. Adequate funding and adequate time during the work day must be provided to allow educators and education support professionals appropriate and effective training in the use of longitudinal education data. Hardware and software needed for data use must be kept up-to-date and adequate technical support must be provided. Any governance structure, state or local, designed to manage education data must include CTA representatives as an integral part of that governance and oversight structure. Education data systems should be subject to regular periodic review for the purpose of assuring that they are consistent with the goal of educating students and are valid, reliable and meaningful to the users of education data.
Educational Excellence: Student Growth Models
Academic growth models can best support teaching and learning when they are based on a set of common-sense principles and approaches to guide instruction as they describe – not measure – the progress of students. Growth models use multiple indicators to evaluate, quantify, and describe a finite set of student data in multiple ways. Multiple indicators do not mean more testing. An academic growth model is a description of the student’s performance on state or local assessments aligned to the standards; is a clear, usable report to parents; provides coherent and developmentally appropriate information in a timely manner; and is not used alone or in conjunction with data from the student achievement database for purposes of pay, promotion, sanction, or personnel evaluation of an individual teacher or groups of teachers. Pre K-12 educators must lead the process of creating the growth model including development, piloting, implementation and revision.
CTA believes that all students should have equal access to a high-quality public education free from discrimination or bias reflecting their economic status, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, status or other characteristics.
Equal Access to All Educational Opportunities
Every student attending a public school in California is entitled to equal access to all educational opportunities. This access shall not be denied because of gender discrimination, ethnicity, language, special needs, immigration status, or socio-economic status.
A Fully Integrated Society
The nation and the state must eliminate by statute and practice, barriers of race, color, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, economic status and genetic characteristics that prevent some individuals, adult or juvenile, from exercising rights enjoyed by others. These rights include liberties decreed in common law, the Constitution, and statutes of the United States.
Immigration policies should guarantee human rights and protect the integrity of the family unit without discrimination; we support immigration policies that keep families together. Regardless of immigration status of students or their parents, every student has the right to a free public education free from harassment. California has always been a place for dreamers and we support safe-haven schools and sanctuary cities that reflect and embrace the diversity of our students and their families, as well as the rich language and cultural assets they bring to our communities.
Criminalization of Students
CTA denounces police brutality and the criminalization of students. CTA opposes policies and practices that support institutionalized racism, white privilege, white supremacy, poverty, disproportionality in school suspensions and expulsions, physical violence against our students, and other factors leading to the criminalization and demoralization of students. Students of color, foster youth, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities and special needs disproportionately end up in the criminal justice system as a result of: 1) the misapplication and rigidity of zero-tolerance policies; 2) culture of high stakes testing that identifies students for remediation and academic tracking; 3) Under-investment in on-site social services; 4) A lack of thoughtful and imaginative interventions that meet the educational and emotional needs of students in at-risk situations.
Public School Choice
Districts should also offer open enrollment for public schools of choice if the plan: 1) does not lead to the privatization of the public schools; 2) reflects the academic and individual educational needs of students; 3) promotes equal educational opportunity for all students and operates in ways that facilitate better racial, ethnic, and socio-economic balances in the public schools; 4) provides adequate resources to ensure quality education programs for every student; 5) and utilizes collective bargaining procedures.
CTA believes the exploitation of children, women and workers is inhumane and unjust. This exploitation takes the form of poor working conditions, sub-par wages, extraordinarily long hours and unsafe working places; CTA also opposes conditions that subject young people to physical or mental abuse, violence, and unwarranted detention or incarceration. The Association supports the rights of youth to safely access education and other human services during conditions of war, occupation, natural disaster and civil strife. The Association also supports programs and other efforts to prevent and alleviate the effects of such trauma upon children and youth.
California’s high standards for the teaching profession and for student performance set the stage for educational excellence. All staff has the right to high-quality professional development that will help them more ably address all students’ needs.
The California Standards for the Teaching Profession and the Common Core State Standards are the foundation for all teacher preparation and professional development programs. The standards for teacher preparation programs should be developed by professionals in the field, involving classroom teachers, certificated support services personnel, and higher education faculty members who currently work with teacher credential candidates in an instructional capacity. Any phase of teacher preparation or beginning teacher induction shall not be subject to changes in credential requirements during that period of completion. Teacher preparation programs must offer strong practicum experiences. The teacher shall be granted a clear credential upon successful completion of the first two years of full-time teaching. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved alternative credentialing programs shall be equal in rigor and quality to existing credential programs.
Credentials: Qualified Instructors
A “fully credentialed,” “fully qualified” or “qualified teacher” is an individual who holds a credential or certificate issued by an independent credentialing board. Teachers should be recognized as highly qualified in their authorized areas because they have demonstrated teaching competence by meeting the training standards for their credentials. No teacher should be assigned to teach outside his/her credential authorization.
Professional Development: Certificated
Educators have the responsibility and the right to continually enhance their craft to stay current in subject-matter and pedagogical approaches by reflecting and acting on feedback received, accessing professional development opportunities provided and collaborating with colleagues to enhance instruction. Professional development consists of activities undertaken by an individual educator to improve himself/herself. Meaningful teacher-driven professional development is essential to help educators more ably address the learning needs of every student and to help develop, refine and expand pedagogical repertoire, content knowledge and the skill to integrate both. It is the right of all certificated staff to participate in meaningful teacher driven professional development. Every effort should be made to identify and support research-based strategies to improve student learning, programs, schools and the professional practice of teaching. Effective professional development is closely tied to current instructional assignments and circumstances and to new state programs and mandates, the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP) and is consistent with current research, and is based on the needs of students and school programs as determined by the on-site educators. For professional development to be effective there must be continued, systematic, coherent attention to the needs of both individual educators and the schools in which they work. The state must provide financial resources to enable direct support and assistance to new teachers.
Beginning Teachers: Induction
Effective and professionally supported induction is an important process that will help beginning teachers learn how to analyze their practice, explore alternatives for content delivery, and make professionally autonomous decisions about their teaching practice. Induction/early career support programs are essential to supporting and retaining quality teachers. These programs must be funded and provided at no cost to the teacher.
CTA believes schools must have the resources to provide the learning conditions that help students gain the skills to function effectively in our complex democratic society. Standards should be developmentally appropriate and clearly defined, and teachers must participate in their creation and implementation. High school graduation requirements must consider the needs of the diverse student population, and no one should be denied graduation on the basis of a single state or district-mandated test or measurement.
Standards must be developmentally appropriate and describe clear expectations for what students should know and be able to perform. Teachers must participate in the planning, development, implementation, and refinement of standards. All students must be provided the instructional opportunities and learning conditions necessary to attain the standards. Standards, curriculum, and assessment should be linked to provide a well-rounded education. State-adopted standards should be reviewed prior to revisions of curriculum frameworks and/or the adoption of textbooks.
Students should have access to a curriculum that prepares them for post-secondary education and leads them to meaningful and informed occupational choices. Curricula should address the common values of the society; promote respect for diversity and cooperation; and prepare the learner to compete in, and cope with, a complex and rapidly evolving society. Students should acquire these skills through instruction in decision making, critical thinking skills, and traits of good citizenship. The major focus of the curriculum should be the development of higher-order thinking skills based on key concepts and generalizations selected from all academic and vocational disciplines. Teachers should have a pivotal role in the development, definition, and implementation of curriculum and should comprise a majority of all committees making or recommending decisions in the area. Ensuring student access to curriculum, universal internet access, supportive programs for their parents to acquire technical skills, and necessary technology when distance instruction is implemented is crucial to student success.
Teachers should play a central role in developing, defining, and implementing graduation requirements. Graduation requirements should be well-balanced and broadly based, including provisions for both general education (i.e. the common learning or core curriculum required of all students) and specialized education (i.e. career/technical education and college-preparatory education).
The individual educator is the most qualified person to select instructional and supplemental materials that meet the diverse needs of learners. Selection of instructional materials is an ongoing process and a wide matrix of current quality instructional materials should be available in each area of pupil instruction in order to meet the needs of California’s diverse pupil population and teaching styles. Consistency with the state-adopted standards, frameworks, and excellence of materials should be the criteria for adoption. Instructional materials used for literacy development for English language learners’ instruction in English should align to both the English Language Arts and the English Language Development standards. A majority of teachers appointed by the exclusive representative must be involved in selecting district instructional materials. The state should provide all pupils textbooks and/or other instructional materials from the current approved list in each area in which adoption is made. Teachers should constitute the majority of the Instructional Quality Commission and of each state-level Instructional Materials Evaluation Panel.
CTA believes that early childhood education is crucial to students’ success in school and life. Kindergarten should be mandatory for all five-year-olds and fully funded early childhood education programs should be available through the public schools. Funding for new pre-school programs should not come at the expense of Proposition 98 unless its funding base is expanded to account for the new students. Preschool educators should be credentialed.
Today’s kindergarten classroom provides youngsters with skills vital to their success in their academic and professional careers. Attendance should be mandatory for all children aged five years old. A full year of kindergarten should be a prerequisite for advancement to first grade.
Full Day Kindergarten
While CTA recognizes that the 200-minute kindergarten session is the norm, if an extended-day kindergarten were to be negotiated, both an extended-day and the 200-minute day kindergarten should provide time to meet the developmentally based instructional needs of the whole child. Both should include all curricular areas inclusive of Fine Arts and Physical Education as outlined in the state-adopted frameworks. An extended-day kindergarten should be no more than the maximum minutes allowed by the Education Code for kindergarten.
Free, Universal Preschool
Access to free universal pre-school should be available to all California children, one year prior to kindergarten eligibility. It should:
- Be developmentally appropriate;
- Have a minimum of three hours (180 minutes) per day, 180 days per year; and
- Be staffed at a ratio not to exceed 1:8; supported by one credentialed teacher and two qualified instructional aides.
California should adopt legislation to fully fund early childhood education programs through public schools. Any expansion of early childhood education programs should ensure full funding without encumbering current Proposition 98 K-14 programs unless the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) for the expanded program is included in the ADA for determining the amount in Proposition 98 Trust Fund.
CTA believes that adequate state and federal funding is vital to ensuring each and every student the high-quality education she/he deserves. Proposition 98’s minimum funding guarantee is a floor, not a ceiling for school funding. CTA opposes any reduction in revenue to the State’s General Fund that would reduce Proposition 98 funding, including tax cuts.
Schools also need to be funded adequately so that they can provide necessary resources in classroom supply budgets to meet the individual needs of ALL students. At a minimum, funding adequacy means that schools should receive allocations that — when measured on a per pupil basis — put California in the top ten of all 50 states. CTA believes any additional revenues, such as any new tax increases, should go directly to the General Fund.
Proposition 98 Funding Guarantee
The Proposition 98 funding guarantee must be considered the minimum level – not the maximum of level – in any given state budget. CTA believes we must protect the integrity of Proposition 98.
The voters intended that Proposition 98 funding should be used for instructional purposes. Proposition 98 funds should not be used to underwrite the costs of school facilities. School facilities should be funded primarily from general obligation bonds.
CTA believes the state and federal government should provide adequate funds for education so that school districts can meet the goal of assuring all students receive a high-quality education.
Private School Funding, Tax Cuts and Tax “Expenditures”
CTA opposes any reduction in revenue to the State’s General Fund that would reduce Proposition 98 funding. These opposed reductions include tax cuts and tax credits, or taxes that are designated to a special fund other than education. CTA opposes any attempts to use public school funding for private schooling. These opposed allocations include vouchers, tuition tax credits, or any use of education funding for private purposes.
CTA believes closed public school buildings should not be sold or leased to organizations that provide education services in direct competition with public schools.
Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)
The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) is a three-year local school district plan developed in collaboration with parents, educators, and the community. The LCAP describes the goals, services, and expenditures that will support positive student outcomes and increase or improve services/programs for students that receive extra funding. Also, the LCAP must address the eight state priorities and local priorities.
The eight State Priorities are:
- Teachers of the school district are appropriately assigned
- Implementation of the academic content and performance standards
- Parental Involvement
- Pupil achievement
- Pupil engagement
- School climate
- Pupil access to and enrollment in a broad course of study
- Pupil outcomes
County Offices of Education must address the eight state priorities as well as prioritizing instruction of expelled students and services for foster youth. CTA strongly supports the LCAP process which brings administrators, teachers, parents and the community together to create an accountability system that meets the needs of all students in their community.
Local Control Funding Formula
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is a new funding formula that increases school funding and directs more resources to California’s highest–need students. The LCFF gives more local control and flexibility to spend the money, delivering services to our most needy students. Built on a need criterion, target base grants will be distributed in certain target amounts with those amounts rising when the concentration of English learners, low-income, and foster youth grow. When fully implemented the LCFF is targeted to increase California’s education spending by $18 billion.
Old Funding System
School districts used to receive money through categorical funds that could be spent on specific programs. There were over 40 of these categorical programs, the majority of which have been eliminated under LCFF. The rest of the money, called the revenue limit, was given out using a complicated and outdated formula. The calculation was different for each district and did not take the needs of students into account. The district could use these funds at their discretion.
New Funding System (Local Control Funding Formula)
Target Base Grant
The LCFF establishes uniform per-student base grants with different rates for different grade spans. These differences are intended to recognize the higher costs of education at the higher-grade levels.
The LCFF acknowledges that English learner, low-income, and foster youth (EL/LI/FY) students have greater needs that require more resources to address. For each EL/LI/FY student, districts receive an additional 20% of the adjusted base rate per student.
On top of the supplemental grant, districts that have a high proportion (over 55%) of the EL/LI/FY students receive an additional 50% of the adjusted base rate per student for each student above 55% of enrollment.
PreK-12 & Adult Education 2021-22 Budget Principles
CTA believes the state and federal government should provide optimal funds for education to allow school districts to fulfill the goals of quality education and provide necessary resources that meet the individual needs of all students. CTA further believes funding for public education is an absolute obligation.
PreK through K12 funding:
- CTA believes the state must provide funding that moves California to the average of the top ten states in per-pupil funding.
- CTA believes Proposition 98 should be a floor and not a ceiling for education funding. CTA supports the statutory supplemental payments adopted in the 2020-21 budget. CTA also supports increasing Proposition 98 funding from 38 percent to 40 percent of General Fund expenditures.
- CTA believes we must protect the integrity of Proposition 98. CTA opposes any encroachment from non-Proposition 98 programs into the Proposition 98 side of the budget. CTA believes COVID-19 and other health and safety-related costs should be funded with non-Proposition 98 funding. Further, CTA opposes any action which would reduce the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee below its required constitutional and statutory funding level.
- CTA believes that Proposition 98 should be protected from reductions through the creation of new or existing tax credits and giveaways that do not provide clear economic benefits to California, including public education. CTA further believes that existing tax credits that harm Proposition 98 and thus reduce education funding should be carefully reexamined and repealed where there has not been a benefit to the California economy and public education.
- CTA believes we must support and monitor the Proposition 98 guarantee certification process to ensure it has been properly implemented and to provide certainty in school funding going forward.
- CTA believes that the Local Control Funding Formula should be continuously appropriated to ensure the flow of education dollars to California’s public schools without disruption.
- CTA believes that the Local Control Funding Formula base grant should be increased beyond COLA and should utilize benchmarks to increase the LCFF base grant funding to the national average in overall per pupil funding over the next decade.
- CTA continues to support supplemental and concentration grants to meet the unique needs of California students.
- CTA opposes any policy changes to the LCFF that would require the State Board of Education to modify regulations related to allowable LCFF expenditures. Additionally, CTA believes any policy changes should be vetted through the Legislative policy committees.
- CTA supports the repayment of all deferrals proposed in the Governor’s January budget. CTA supports the repayment of additional deferrals, if additional funding is available.
- CTA supports additional funding to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System through additional non-Proposition 98 General Fund to reduce district’s contributions. CTA supports maintaining the integrity and implementation of AB 1469(Chapter 47, Statutes of 2014), which provided a long-term funding plan for CalSTRS.
- CTA supports increasing funding for special education. CTA believes providing adequate funding to special education to fully fund the cost of special education is needed to support increased student needs and costs. Existing state and federal mandates for special education should be funded fully before adding new program requirements or incentives.
- CTA supports maintaining the LCFF and providing the compounded 3.84 percent COLA for the LCFF.
- CTA supports at a minimum providing the 1.5 percent COLA on the remaining K-12 education categorical programs.
- CTA supports investing in educator retention and recruitment in order to address the state’s teacher shortage, especially in chronic shortage areas.
- CTA supports investing in professional development to address the unique needs of educators and staff during the COVID-19 crisis.
- CTA believes schools should be protected from reductions in funding during emergencies, including pandemics and other natural disasters, in order to maintain services and support for students and staff.
- CTA supports the allocation of additional Proposition 51 bond funds to support school construction costs.
- CTA believes Career and Technical Education funding should be increased and administered by the Department of Education.
- CTA supports community schools. However, funding for wrap-around services that are activities not customarily part of instruction should be paid for by non-Proposition 98 funding.
- CTA supports additional funding to support the needs of students, educators, and staff during the COVID-19 crisis, including technology, mental health, and counseling.
- One-time funding should be allocated equitably and made as flexible as possible to provide local educational agencies with discretion in addressing their unique needs.
- CTA supports expanding access to Transitional Kindergarten (TK), if implemented equitably and the appropriate resources are provided. CTA believes TK cannot be expanded within existing resources.
- CTA believes school facilities should be funded with non-Proposition 98 funding.
Adult Education Funding:
- CTA supports the principle that all adult students should have access to fully funded adult education curriculum and programs.
- CTA supports at a minimum providing the 1.5 percent COLA for the Adult Education Program.
Community College Association 2021-22 Budget Principles
CTA believes in the goals established in the Master Plan for Higher Education that the state should provide adequate funds for community colleges to fulfill the goals of both student access and a quality education and should provide necessary resources to meet the needs of all students who attend community colleges. CTA further believes adequate funding for public higher education is a necessity.
Community College Funding:
- CTA believes that the state should provide adequate funding for community colleges to ensure access to a tuition-free community college education for all students.
- CTA believes that Proposition 98 should be a floor and not a ceiling for education CTA supports the statutory supplemental payments adopted in the 2020-21 budget. CTA also supports increasing Proposition 98 funding from 38 percent to 40 percent of General Fund expenditures.
- CTA believes that we must protect the integrity of Proposition 98 and that we must support and monitor the Proposition 98 guarantee certification process to ensure it is properly implemented.
- CTA opposes any encroachment from non-Proposition 98 programs into the Proposition 98 side of the budget. CTA believes COVID-19 and other health and safety-related costs should be funded with non-Proposition 98 funding. Further, CTA opposes any action which would reduce the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee below its required constitutional and statutory funding level.
- CTA believes that Proposition 98 should be protected from the reductions that occur when tax credits and giveaways are created that do not provide clear economic benefits to California. Existing tax credits that harm Proposition 98 and thus reduce PreK- 14 funding should be carefully reexamined and repealed where there has not been a benefit to the California economy and public education.
- CTA believes that PreK – 12 school districts and local community colleges are best suited to provide vocational instruction to the workforce in their communities. Statewide community college districts such as Calbright should be carefully monitored and only supported if they clearly provide a cost-effective benefit to the unique needs of underemployed Californians.
- CTA supports additional funding to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System through non-Proposition 98 General Fund allocations in order to reduce community colleges’ contributions. CTA supports maintaining the integrity and implementation of AB 1469 (Chapter 47, Statutes of 2014), which provided a long-term funding plan for CalSTRS.
- CTA supports increased funding for part-time faculty support. Specifically, CTA supports additional funding to provide pay and benefit parity for part-time faculty, including office hours, professional development, and other supports.
- CTA supports increasing the base allocation for community colleges.
- CTA opposes funding based on completion metrics of any sort.
- CTA supports providing additional resources to low-income students, including CalGrants and emergency student financial assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.
- CTA supports investing in efforts to bolster enrollment and retention rates for community college students, especially for students whose education has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- CTA supports at a minimum providing the 1.5 percent COLA on apportionments and all part-time categorical programs.
- CTA supports increased funding for enrollment growth.
- CTA supports the repayment of all deferrals proposed in the Governor’s January budget. CTA supports the repayment of additional deferrals, if additional funding is available.
- CTA supports increasing the number of and diversity of full-time faculty to meet and exceed the 75/25 percent full-time faculty provisions of AB 1725.
- CTA supports investing in professional development for faculty.
- CTA supports additional funding to support students and faculty during the COVID-19 crisis, including tutoring, technology, counseling, mental health, and other supports.
- CTA supports the allocation of additional Proposition 51 bond funds to support eligible construction projects at community colleges.
The primary purpose of Language Acquisition programs is to help students acquire proficiency in English. English Learners should receive instruction in other subjects and should be assessed in these other subjects in their primary language until they achieve proficiency.
Teacher Preparation: English Language Learners
California students have greater language diversity than in any other state or nation, and our State must meet the challenge of ensuring equal access for these students. Educators need to have an in-depth understanding of language acquisition so that they can comprehend how strategies support students’ language development during the instruction of all academic areas. Educators need to understand how first language acquisition contributes to students’ second language acquisition. The basic need for teachers of English learners (ELs) is to obtain the skills and knowledge for effective teaching of ELs. Teachers who are not certified to teach EL students should be encouraged to obtain the appropriate English Learner authorization to enable them to work with students of all language backgrounds. Teachers who wish to teach students in their primary language should receive support to obtain the appropriate bilingual authorization. This authorization enables teachers to work with students of specific language backgrounds in the area selected for authorization.
Laws and regulations that restrict the language (or languages) of instruction are contrary to the educational well-being of all students. English is the primary language of political, social, and economic communication in the United States and students shall be provided access to programs that result in standard English proficiency and acquisition of core curricular knowledge, recognizing the benefits of the students’ primary language or dialect.
Language Acquisition Programs Including Multilingual Programs
All students are entitled to equal access to all educational opportunities. Students without English proficiency are denied equal access unless appropriate educational support is provided. Regardless of title, programs to engender language acquisition have two goals – language skills development and content learning. Multilingual programs should focus on proficiency in the ability to speak, read, and write in English and the target language(s). Before students achieve proficiency, schools should provide meaningful instruction in all curricular areas in the primary language.
Instructional Materials: English Learners
English Learners (ELs) have specific learning needs. The acquisition of a second language takes a minimum of 3-7 years. Instructional materials for EL students should consider all levels of language proficiency, but special attention should be paid to Emerging, Expanding and Bridging levels. This proficiency should be determined by the students’ scores on a formal and validated language assessment and the educational expertise of the classroom teacher. The core academic curriculum is taught to an EL in English with instruction properly scaffolded. Adopted instructional materials should be designed to meet the specific academic and linguistic needs of EL students. It is essential teachers of ELs have access to the highest quality instructional materials, as well as quality professional development. All instructional materials used for literacy development for ELs instructed in English should align to both the English Language Arts and the English Language Development standards of the State of California.
Assessment and Testing: Assessment for/of Student Learning
EL students should be given mandated tests in their primary languages until English fluency is attained. It is the responsibility of the State Department of Education to provide state-mandated assessments in the child’s primary language. Summative assessment practices and tools should include alternative ways to demonstrate mastery, especially for students who are in multi-lingual programs and for students whose primary language is other than English.
Collective bargaining enhances educational excellence and ensures educational employees a voice in their professional lives. Employees should be fairly compensated in line with their experience and training. State law should be expanded to provide employees with shared decision-making on curricular and other instructional issues. CTA believes in and supports strategies that promote affordable healthcare, including prescription drugs, for all Californians.
The Labor Movement
CTA believes the cornerstone to democratized government lies in a strong labor movement and a unionized workforce. CTA believes all workers have the right to work in a unionized workforce, free from interference by the employer in organizing efforts. CTA supports the growth of the labor movement and opposes any restrictions on unionization or labor union rights.
Because collective bargaining promotes educational excellence, all segments of education should employ the process. State law should be expanded to require school boards to negotiate procedures and methods for involving teachers in decisions that shape curriculum, peer assistance, and other professional and instructional matters.
CTA believes that educational employees should be professionally compensated for what they know and do. Criteria such as teaching, curricular development, staff development, and site-based decision-making responsibilities may be incorporated into compensation plans. All public schools must have salary schedules/structures and employer-paid fringe benefit programs that will attract and retain scholarly, intelligent, creative, and dedicated personnel. CTA opposes “merit systems,” statewide salary schedules, differentiated staffing programs, and new taxes on employer-paid employee benefits.
All Californians should have affordable, fully paid health care including prescription drugs. Plans must cover domestic partners and retired members for life. Health care proposals must incorporate universal access to quality comprehensive coverage, and coverage for all including those unable to pay, with no State and or Federal taxes on health care or other benefits. Effective health care cost management can be accomplished only through the provision of adequate cost data from both insurers and providers. CTA believes all educational employees have a right to employer-provided comprehensive health and welfare benefits programs, including healthcare, dental care, vision care, life insurance, and income protection for employees and retirees and their spouse/domestic partner and dependents.
Union Access to Represented Workers
CTA believes every educator has the right and obligation to participate fully in professional associations. The ability of unions to communicate with the employees it represents is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of state labor relations, and unions cannot carry out their legal obligations unless unions are able convey to represented workers the rights and obligations created by the contract and the role of the union. Improving this meaningful communication is necessary for harmonious public employment relations and is a matter of statewide concern.
Charter schools are established to increase learning opportunities for all students with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for academically challenged pupils. All charter school employees should be organized to ensure both quality education for students and professional rights for school employees.
Accountability and Transparency
CTA believes charter schools must comply with state-required testing requirements, and laws promoting transparency and accountability to parents and the public in the operation of public schools and expenditure of public funds.
Equity and Student Access
All children in California should be entitled to equal access to all public education opportunities, including charter schools. Any practices that serve to weed out certain children or families must be eliminated. No charter school should discriminate against a student because of race, language, color, national origin, religion, gender/gender identification, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, economic status, educational need, or academic performance.
School districts develop priorities and plans with input from all stakeholders including parents, students, teachers, and community members. Because of the significant investment in time and resources reviewing proposed charter school petitions prior to accepting or rejecting a petition, the local school board is best equipped to make decisions regarding education programs and needs within its jurisdiction. CTA believes that the granting of charters must only be through school districts with democratically elected school boards for schools within the boundaries of the school district, and that appeals to the school district’s denial of a petition must be only for due process reasons. The primary function of charter schools is to establish locally-driven pedagogical innovation that supports California’s system of public education and does not replace or undermine it. The establishment of a charter school moratorium is needed to provide time to reconsider whether our current regulatory framework for charter schools is working toward this value. Increasingly, charter schools are operated by large CMOs without sufficient oversight and far from the school communities, they are meant to serve.
CTA believes that the funding of charter school facilities shall not negatively impact the education program of the school district in which the charter school is located. Additionally, CTA believes that charter schools must operate facilities consistent with the Field Act or other similar public safety standards as applied to buildings of public access similar to public schools. Educational employees are entitled to work in safe and healthy environments. Public school buildings must meet modern earthquake standards and have adequate light, heat/air conditioning, and ventilation. CTA opposes using public funds to purchase private property in the charter school environment.
Eliminating Profit Motives in Public Education
CTA believes that the approval of and operation of charter schools must be free of conflicts of interest and profiteering. Charter school board members and their immediate families must not benefit financially from their schools. Public schools’ conflict of interest laws and disclosure regulations should apply to charter schools that receive public funds.
CTA believes that all citizens – including students of voting age – have a right and responsibility to cast ballots in a free society. Elections and election procedures should be fair and free from any unnecessary regulations that hinder voter participation. Individuals must remain free to make small political contributions, and the right of non-profit groups to pool these contributions must not be undercut.
Voter Registration and Voting Procedures
Voter registration should be an open process that encourages as many citizens as possible to vote. Every CTA member eligible to vote should be a registered voter. Voting procedures must assure voters of a fair and accurate election process and voters must be assured that their vote will be counted as cast.
Community Engagement and Coalition Building
CTA believes in community engagement and coalition building that advances free, universal, and quality public education; that recognizes educators as positive contributing members of the community; and gains recognition for CTA and local unions as a source of expertise on education issues.
Political Contributions and Reporting
CTA believes that full disclosure by candidates, organizations, committees, and individuals of campaign contributions is essential to the democratic process and opposes attempts to limit the right to support or oppose candidates and/or issues. CTA further believes that the state should maintain a database of campaign contributions that is timely and accessible.
Conflicts of Interest
To inform the public and stave off impropriety, conflict of interest laws and regulations must require all elected and/or appointed officials to fully disclose any personal or private financial considerations related to issues before them. Where individuals or groups, including charter schools, are recipients of public funds, the same conflict of interest laws and disclosure regulations as for public schools should apply. Education employees should have reasonable access to information about their employers’ (superintendents, board members, charter school operators, etc.) economic interests. This information should be readily available to the public.
CTA supports efforts to lower current supermajorities at the state and local level.
Professional educators must be given the resources, structures, access, and freedom to fulfill their primary job responsibility: Helping students succeed. CTA believes that assistance from their peers can help educators improve instruction and increase student learning. Seniority rights ensure that students will benefit from instruction by experienced teachers.
CTA believes the advancement and application of instructional technology devices and materials provide new opportunities for developing skills, furthering research, and expanding knowledge in our society. Technology can be used to promote educational equality within and among schools, school districts, colleges, and universities. “High quality” online instruction utilizes emerging technologies to help all students reach their full potential by preserving the fundamental structure of our public education system: A quality instructor who is provided the resources and access to make a dramatic impact on student success. It encourages regular and quality interaction between students, faculty and online classmates. All eligible students must be able to participate in distance education on an equitable basis without regard to economic or social status.
PAR Programs Must Aim to Help Teachers Enhance Their Skills
Peer assistance and peer review (PAR) programs must aim to help teachers develop practices to improve instruction and increase student performance. PAR programs help new and veteran teachers improve their knowledge and skills. A formal PAR program links a “participating teacher” with a “consulting teacher” who provides ongoing support through observing, sharing ideas and skills, and recommending materials for further study. In PAR programs, where consulting teachers may make recommendations that can affect the employment status of participating teachers, communications between the consulting teacher and the participating teacher must remain confidential to create trust in an environment which encourages exploration and innovation. Fair treatment of all participants is critical to the success of any PAR program, with special emphasis on due process rights, full funding, and ample training for all parties.
The Seniority System Should be Encouraged
Research illustrates that teachers become more effective with experience; in every profession, your skill improves over time. The seniority system has demonstrated its equity and validity in protecting the rights of all employees. All personnel begins vesting in the system from the first day of service, and modification of the seniority system imperils job security for all employees. However, affirmative action which takes conscious account of race, disability, or sex may be necessary to achieve true equal employment opportunity. The choice between strict seniority and some accommodation of affirmative action is best made voluntarily by the employer and employee organization through collective bargaining or other forms of dialogue.
CTA believes all public employees and education employees, in particular, deserve secure retirement benefits with defined and equitable benefits. Both the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) should remain autonomous contributory systems providing a single tier of benefits to all employees.
Two Distinct Public Employee Retirement Systems
California must maintain and keep strong its two defined benefit systems, the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) for employees from pre-kindergarten through higher education. Both systems should offer equal benefit structures and equal costs. All future members of CalSTRS and CalPERS are entitled to the same basic benefit structure provided for current members.
Defined Benefit Systems
Defined benefit retirement plans offer a moderate but secure retirement based upon a formula that will last for the members’ lifetime. Efforts to eliminate defined benefit retirement plans in favor of 401(k) style retirement plans should strongly be resisted, to ensure that CTA members have a dependable retirement they can count on.
Benefit improvements must be applied on an equitable basis to all members and beneficiaries of CalSTRS/CalPERS. Ad hoc benefit increases, which aid one group of members to the disadvantage of another group of members, should be resisted. Retirement, Disability, and Family Benefit Allowances must include adequate protection against inflation, either indexed to the California Consumer Price Index (CCPI) or realistic replacement value of the original allowance.
Contributory Retirement Systems
The two public retirement systems must be contributory systems with costs shared by the employer, employees, and the state. The Retirement Fund must be an inviolate trust fund solely for the benefit of members, retirees, or survivors, without special consideration for any person or agency, including the state. The actuarial integrity of the CalSTRS/CalPERS Defined Benefit Program must be retained with full benefits maintained in any proposals to modify or create an alternate retirement system.
The Independence of CalSTRS/CalPERS
CalSTRS and CalPERS should be independent state agencies administered by an executive officer not subject to political control and must make investments objectively and prudently with diversification. These systems should have as their primary investment goals to preserve the principal and maximize growth and income when selecting and retaining securities to ensure all CTA members are able to retire with dignity. Our public pension systems have a fiduciary responsibility over the investment of retirement plan assets and are required to discharge their duties solely in the interests of its members and beneficiaries for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits. The constitutional charge of CalSTRS as fiduciaries is to ensure the fund meets its financial obligations so that all educators receive their fully earned pension when they retire.
CTA believes that a safe environment free of physical, health, and other threats is vital to an effective learning process.
Abusive Behavior and Criminal Activities in Schools
School employees and students must be safe from physical, verbal, and psychological abuse and criminal activity. The state must fund appropriate nursing, psychological, counseling, health and social services, tolerance, peer mediation, conflict resolution, and character education programs for all students. Students who pose dangers to others must have access to appropriate intervention services within the regular program or alternative education programs. Parents must be accountable for their children’s conduct, and local law enforcement costs must not be funded with education moneys.
Disaster Emergency Preparedness Plan
Schools must comply with the Standardized Emergency Management System, and districts must implement Education Code-required emergency plans and training. Schools must be well-stocked with first aid, sanitation supplies, and food in case of natural disasters. Staff must train in emergency protocols and procedures in case of campus violence.
Students and employees should be insulated from environmental pollution and hazards. Schools shall be constructed on the environmentally safe property. School personnel, students, and their families shall be notified of potential hazards and correction plans.
Safe School Environment
All educational facilities must be smoke-free and safe from all environmental and chemical hazards, including lead from water pipe systems, friable asbestos, inadequate ventilation, and sick-building syndrome. Local districts must immediately communicate information about hazards to the public.
Responsibility for School Safety
Local school districts and state agencies must make schools safe for teachers and students. Every classroom should have an electronic communication connection to the school office.
CTA believes students must be safe from the time they leave home until they return. They must be safe regardless of their mode of transportation.
CTA believes that students with exceptional needs should be educated in the most appropriate placement based on their Individual Educational Program (IEP); and that many students with disabilities can benefit by instruction in age-appropriate regular education classes. Class size/caseload limits are vital to supporting educators’ efforts to educate our students, and full funding is crucial to provide a full continuum of services educationally appropriate to meet his or her
Appropriate Placement: Special Education
Students with disabilities (SWDs) shall be educated in the most appropriate placement, based on their Individualized Educational Program (IEP). A continuum of services including special education and related services shall be available to meet the needs of SWDs, including general education classes, special education classes, non-public schools and charters, home instruction, instruction in hospitals, and state special schools. The impact of this continuum of services must be bargained, including class size and coordinated planning time for the employees involved. Professional development and trainings for employees involved shall be provided to address the needs of SWDs in the appropriate and least restrictive environment (LRE).
Special Education Programs: Foundation for Excellence
Students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs), may benefit from instruction provided in general education. Emphasize collaboration between general education teachers and special education staff to improve and expand services to students. Decisions about the appropriate education for a student with a disability (SWD) must be individually determined and made with active involvement of varied professionals. There must be a full continuum of services and a full range of delivery models available. Each student must have available the most educationally appropriate curriculum, setting, and/or program to meet their needs. Educators retain the right to participate in development of IEP’s for students whom they serve and can be invited to participate in such IEP meetings. The statute and regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be fully funded and maintained. Adequate local, state and federal funding is crucial for special education. Congress must meet its federal commitment to pay 40% of the mandates in IDEA to states to keep up with the increased spending needs for students with special needs each year.
Special Education: Plan Local Committees
A committee within each local agency, county office, and consortium should create the local plan for special education. Composed of 25% administrators, 50% special education teachers, and 25% regular classroom teachers, the committee and the administrative entity of each agency should cooperatively develop and implement the local plan for special education. The exclusive bargaining agent should provide for the appropriate representation of regular and special educators.
Mandated Special Education class size limits/specialist caseload for programmatic and funding purposes are vital to ensuring students have high-quality instruction and support. All students provided direct service or consultation must be counted within the limits, including students who do not have Individual Educational Programs. These limits should be adjusted to reflect the number of schools a staff person covers, travel time, workload, the severity of disabilities, IEP preparation, paperwork and assessments, and related issues. Waivers to caseload limits should be issued only in extraordinary circumstances.
CTA is vitally concerned with protecting students’ physical, emotional, and mental health by supporting and assisting certificated educators help students acquire the skills they need to become academically and socially successful in school and beyond.
Specialized Health Care Procedures
To protect students’ health and welfare, only personnel defined by the Education Code as trained and qualified – including credentialed school nurses — should perform specialized healthcare procedures on students. No certificated or credentialed personnel shall be required to perform catheterization, gavage feeding, and other specialized medical procedures, including giving insulin shots.
Pupil Support Services Team
All districts must have at least one Pupil Support Service Team, consisting of a school nurse, a psychologist, a counselor, a social worker, a speech therapist, a welfare attendance worker, and an audiologist, who together ensure students equal access to needed educational and support services.
Good nutrition has a direct effect on a student’s ability to learn. School lunches and “snack” foods and beverages should be of high quality, balanced, and free from harmful chemicals. School service food products should be nutritionally sound, appealing, and affordable.
Learning Support Personnel Student Ratios
CTA believes Learning Support Personnel are essential partners in education and must have manageable caseloads to ensure student success. Students must also have daily access to these vital personnel. To provide this access, CTA believes that schools must have one nurse for every 750 pre-Kindergarten-Grade 12 students. Schools must have one nurse for every 250 special education students with medical technology needs. In addition, schools must have a Credentialed Teacher Librarian and a clerk for every 600 pre-Kindergarten-Grade 12 students. Schools must also have a counselor and social worker for every 250 pre-Kindergarten-Grade 12 students and a psychologist for every 500 to 700 pre-Kindergarten-Grade 12 general education students for assessment purposes; and one (1) psychologist for every 500 pre-Kindergarten-Grade 12 students for assessment and counseling purposes.
CTA believes the following principles are essential to any effective and fair teacher development and evaluation system:
- The goal of any evaluation system is to strengthen the knowledge, skills, and practices of teachers to improve student learning.
- Any evaluation system must be collectively bargained at the local level to ensure the buy-in and trust of all affected parties and to ensure local conditions are considered. This includes policies, assessment standards, timelines, procedures, peer involvement, implementation, monitoring, and review.
- Any evaluation system must be developed and implemented with teacher participation to ensure a supportive climate for improving practice and growth and to promote collaboration among educators.
- Any evaluation system must be differentiated to support the development of educators through all career stages – from beginning to mid-career to veteran.
- Any evaluation system must address the varying assignments of certificated educators, including those who teach core and non-core subject areas, and are classroom and non-classroom educators (i.e., resource teachers, counselors, nurses, and psychologists).
- Any evaluation system must include evidence of teaching and student learning from multiple sources.
- A comprehensive teacher evaluation system must recognize the different purposes of evaluation and be comprised of both formative and summative methods.
- Any evaluation system must provide relevant and constructive feedback and support that informs teaching practices. Feedback must be coordinated with high-quality professional development that is continuous; is linked to curriculum standards; and allows for adequate time and resources for coaching, modeling, observation, and mentoring.
- Any evaluation system should include opportunities for peer involvement for advisory and support purposes.
- Any evaluation system must consider the complexities of teaching and student learning that are outside of the teacher’s control and beyond the classroom walls.
- Any evaluation system should be based on a set of standards of professional practice that acknowledge the multiple activities and responsibilities of educators that contribute to the improvement of learning and the success of the school.
- All evaluators must have extensive training and regular calibration in all evaluation procedures and instruments.
- All evaluation components and procedures must be clearly defined, explained, and transparent to all educators.
- All evaluation tools must be research-based and regularly monitored for validity and reliability.
- Data used for evaluation and improvement purposes must be kept confidential to protect the integrity and utility of information used to improve professional practices.
- Any evaluation system must be monitored and evaluated to ensure that it is working as intended and it remains consistent with its purpose.
- Any effective evaluation system that supports professional learning requires an ongoing commitment of financial resources, training, and time. Teachers provide the stable, nurturing, inspiring environment that makes it possible to reach each student individually.
Teachers provide the stable, nurturing, inspiring environment that makes it possible to reach each student individually. Teachers and the classroom environment are the foundation of a solid educational experience. Teachers need and want an evaluation system that strengthens their knowledge, their skills, and their practices, and the goal of any teacher evaluation system should be to improve student learning.