Is the OC Register treating teachers fairly?

On December 4, the OC Register printed yet another negative commentary about educators- this one penned by none other than Cecilia Iglesias, a Santa Ana School Board member who has disparaged teachers on her social media pages as she encourages the efforts of “parent trigger” advocates in the district. The showcasing of these efforts by Gloria Romero and other proponents of school privatization deserve an appropriate counterweight, but after two months of waiting it is obvious the OC Register is disinterested in balance. Is this inequity in the best interests of OC residents?

recall Ceci

The response appears below in its entirety:

It is obvious from her response “Union action not in parental interests” that Santa Ana Unified School District Board Member Cecilia Iglesias will continue her efforts to disparage teachers and their unions with a single-minded purpose, but, to what end? If nothing else, her open contempt for our daily efforts on behalf of students and the falsehoods widely shared by her on social media speaks louder than any criticism she could now level at the dedicated educators and education support personnel serving Orange County students on a daily basis.

Since the 1978 passage of Proposition 13, our public schools have experienced a steady decline in funding that has left all districts with ongoing shortages and a national per pupil funding level consistently in the bottom 20% of the country. Some states are spending as much as 40% more on each student annually– that is a clear commitment to the next generation of citizens in their states.

It is time we identify the real twin enemies of our education community: chronic underfunding and poverty. It takes long-term effort and funding to address these obstacles. Our teaching colleagues in Santa Ana work diligently each day on behalf of their students and their profession to overcome these obstacles.

In 2012, Education Coalition members locally and statewide stood together to help ensure the Passage of Proposition 30, which returned funding to public schools after years of cuts and neglect and helped to begin the process of restoring school funding. You can bet that teachers and all educators will also work hard, along with parents, to ensure that schools continue to be funded through the extension of Proposition 30 funding in next year’s election.

Board Member Iglesias was given an opportunity by the voters to do her part and lead in a district of significant need- to analyze and determine where her expertise might improve the lives of public school children. Sadly, instead, she appears to have come to the job with a preconceived notion (born of testing data and practices that have since been debunked and abandoned) that our schools are irrevocably broken, and only through “capitalistic competition” would they improve. It is naïve at best to think by simply converting schools to charters you will achieve school reform. If Candidate Iglesias had more clearly and consistently espoused her charter beliefs, Santa Ana’s voters might have been less inclined to vote her into office.

While charters may be one strategy among many to spark innovation and improvement in public schools, they are no silver bullet. A recent large-scale study from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University (2009), examining longitudinal student data in 16 states, found that:

  • Only 17 percent of charter schools produced academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools,
  • 37 percent of charter schools performed worse than their traditional public school counterparts, and
  • 46 percent of charter schools demonstrated no significant difference between their students’ achievement gains and those of their demographically similar peers in district-run public schools.

Real investments that improve instruction, curriculum quality and access, school management, and student supports, along with adequate funding to support them, are what is needed to produce educational quality and improve student achievement.

 

Professionals that work in Santa Ana each day take on a challenge that few teachers in the nation face- a student population where nine households in ten speak a language other than English in the home, and the poverty rate that is quite similar. These are challenges that have significant impacts in the classroom. Educators work hard to meet these challenges every day as we build bridges with our students and their families. We encourage Board Member Iglesias to return her focus and her efforts on working with Santa Ana’s educators as a partner to advocate for more proven investments that make a difference in our public school classrooms and the lives of students. The Santa Ana Educators Association response appears in its entirety below:

­­It is obvious from her response “Union action not in parental interests” that Santa Ana Unified School District Board Member Cecilia Iglesias will continue her efforts to disparage teachers and their unions with single-minded purpose, but, to what end? If nothing else, her open contempt for our daily efforts on behalf of students and the falsehoods widely shared by her on social media speak louder than any criticism she could now level at the dedicated educators and education support personnel serving Orange County students on a daily basis.

Since the 1978 passage of Proposition 13, our public schools have experienced a steady decline in funding that has left all districts with ongoing shortages and a national per pupil funding level consistently in the bottom 20% of the country. Some states are spending as much as 40% more on each student annually– that is a clear commitment to the next generation of citizens in their states.

It is time we identify the real twin enemies of our education community: chronic under-funding and poverty. It takes long-term effort and consistent funding to address these obstacles. Our teaching colleagues in Santa Ana work diligently each day on behalf of their students and their profession to overcome these obstacles.

In 2012, Education Coalition members locally and statewide stood together to help ensure the Passage of Proposition 30, which returned funding to public schools after years of cuts and neglect and helped to begin the process of restoring school funding. You can bet that teachers and all educators will also work hard, along with parents, to ensure that schools continue to be funded through the extension of Proposition 30 funding in next year’s election.

Board Member Iglesias was given an opportunity by the voters to do her part and lead in a district of significant need- to analyze and determine where her expertise might improve the lives of public school children. Sadly, instead, she appears to have come to the job with a preconceived notion (born of testing data and practices that have since been debunked and abandoned) that our schools are irrevocably broken, and only through “capitalistic competition” would they improve. It is naïve at best to think by simply converting schools to charters you will achieve school reform. If Candidate Iglesias had more clearly and consistently espoused her charter beliefs, Santa Ana’s voters might have been less inclined to vote her into office.

While charters may be one strategy among many to spark innovation and improvement in public schools, they are no silver bullet. A recent large-scale study from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University (2009), examining longitudinal student data in 16 states, found that:

  • Only 17 percent of charter schools produced academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools,
  • 37 percent of charter schools performed worse than their traditional public school counterparts, and
  • 46 percent of charter schools demonstrated no significant difference between their students’ achievement gains and those of their demographically similar peers in district-run public schools.

Real investments that improve instruction, curriculum quality and access, school management, and student supports, along with adequate funding to support them, are what is needed to produce educational quality and improve student achievement.

 

Professionals that work in Santa Ana each day take on a challenge that few teachers in the nation face- a student population where nine households in ten speak a language other than English in the home, and the poverty rate that is quite similar. These are challenges that have significant impacts in the classroom. Educators work hard to meet these challenges every day as we build bridges with our students and their families. We encourage Board Member Iglesias to return her focus and her efforts on working with Santa Ana’s educators as a partner to advocate for more proven investments that make a difference in our public school classrooms and the lives of students.

 

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