Charter school expansion comes at a cost

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Cities in California have suffered the adverse financial effects of charter school expansion for decades. Investigative journalists at Capital and Main show that despite the twenty-plus years of experimentation funded by Eli Broad, the Walton family and Bill Gates among others, charter schools do no better than their public school counterparts. Read the story here.

Coachella Valley teachers rally for better schools

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Hundreds of Coachella Valley parents and teachers frustrated by a negotiations process that began over a year ago, rallied Tuesday night at the Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) school board meeting to express their demand for an end to the extended contract dispute.

Outstanding issues include creating time for grade level collaboration, increasing student contact time, salaries that will end the ongoing problem of teacher attrition in Coachella by offering salary and benefits that will attract and retain the best teachers for the Coachella Valley.

Coachella Valley Teachers Association (CVTA) negotiators have been in multiple mediation sessions, and members have agreed to no longer donate extra hours outside of the contract day until a resolution is reached.

Imperial Imagine charter teachers prevail in election

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Imagine Schools Teachers Association (ISTA) has successfully retained affiliation with the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the Natonal Education Association (NEA) by winning a decertification election on Thursday May 12. Teachers at the school have faced ongoing opposition to their unionizing Imagine Scools Inc. by the private, for profit charter. 

In January, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) declared the actions of Imagine Schools in attempting to influence the outcome of a de-certification election were interfering with union organizing and  granted ISTA a stay in the decertification process until the charge reached its PERB hearing.  On the day of the PERB hearing, Imagine Schools settled the charge by consenting to inform teachers of their rights to join a union, that the Union was the appropriate source to learn about union dues, and a venue was granted for a union meeting during working hours.

The Imagine Schools Corporation has been resistant to representation since signatures cards were initially gathered, and at the beginning of this school year required all Imagine teachers to sit through a mandatory screening of the anti-union film “Waiting for Superman”.  They followed the screening with an additional flyer that included misrepresentations about CTA/NEA.

ISTA is pleased that PERB’s work is now complete and educators at the school can make positive progress on a collective bargaining agreement.

Read the PERB ruling in its entirety here

 

Saddleback teachers “Rally for Respect”

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Over 600 hundred Saddleback Valley Educators Association (SVEA) teachers rallied at Los Alisos Intermediate School and packed the school board beyond capacity on Thursday May 12 to protect local schools as the California Teacher Shortage worsens.

Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) is among the last Orange County school districts to come to a negotiated settlement with their teachers. The District’s current offer of 1.65% is inadequate and will make SVUSD less competitive and attractive in a time of increasing teacher need.

SVEA President Barbara Schulman explained, “The way to value our hard-working, caring, and dedicated staff is to continue to hire top talent.  One of the ways is to offer a competitive salary. It is a disservice to the students, community and SVUSD that their teachers don’t feel valued.”

CTA President Eric Heins joined Saddleback educators at the Rally and spoke to support a fair negotiated settlement. “Educators and parents across California sponsored Proposition 30’s passage to help local schools recover after the Great Recession. It’s time for the Saddleback District to invest those dollars in their schools.” 

SVUSD has about 54 million dollars in reserve, seven times the amount required by the State of California for economic uncertainties.

 

Rancho Santa Fe teachers raise awareness with “walk-ins”

TeacherWalk1_r620x349Members of the R. Roger Rowe School staff in San Diego County all walked into campus together for several days last week to raise awareness about the Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association’s (RSFFA) ongoing negotiations with the district. Teachers are in dispute over teacher access to the school by their children along with salary and other contract language issues.

Read the story by Karen billing at this link to the Rancho Santa Fe Review.

CTA legal victories mark national shift

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CTA President Eric Heins (at right) engages in a pro-education coalition phone call during a break in the action at the state Capitol.

During the last seven months the California Teachers Association has scored multiple legal victories in Bain vs CTA, Friedrichs vs CTA, and Vergara vs CTA that mark a shift in the labor battle and could spark union resurgence across the U.S.

In Bain vs CTA, four teachers sued to demand they wanted to participate in union voting despite not being members. The Federal Court dismissed the case stating it was without merit and stated no viable legal claims. The Court’s decision came just days after it heard argument on the union defendants’ motion for dismissal.

“The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” That brief nine-word opinion written on March 29 by the U.S. Supreme Court would stand in contrast to over four years of political and legal maneuvering and be decided by an untimely death on the highest court. That “…equally divided Court” would leave standing nearly four decades of precedent and sound law that has worked for public employers and working people.

Little over two weeks later, in mid-April, Vergara vs CTA would be unanimously overturned by a California Appeals Court in Los Angeles. The three justice panel’s unanimous appellate opinion was a stinging rebuke to Judge Rolf M. Treu’s poorly-reasoned initial ruling, and to the allegations made and millions of dollars spent by wealthy anti-union “education reformers” to bypass voters, parents, and the legislature with harmful education policy changes. The reversal affirmed the arguments of educators, civil rights groups, legal scholars and education policy experts that the state statutes affirming educator rights do not harm students.

 

This series of significant state and national legal victories by CTA has reinforced national labor law under direct assault. Special interests in states that do not embrace right-to-work laws may think twice about investing untold sums into legal firms offering the false promise of victory through lawsuit that could not be managed otherwise.

 

#ReclaimOurSchools Rally a success in Lake Elsinore

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As part of a national Day of Action, Lake Elsinore Teachers Association (LETA) members, support staff, administrators and parents participated in rallies and walk-ins at schools throughout the 144 square mile district. Organized by LETA and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, walk-ins took place in public schools nationwide. Locally, Lake Elsinore Teachers Association has partnered with the school board to educate the community about the need for improving technology in the 22,000 student district. 

LETA members embraced the May 4th Star Wars Day “May the Fourth be With You” theme and distributed flyers in support of a local education bond measure. LETA President Bill Cavanaugh spoke to the 25 educators at Temescal Canyon High School in thanks, stating, “This is about reclaiming our schools and showing parents that we care about the quality of education that every student receives in this community.”

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Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools comprises parents, students, teachers, educational support professionals and community members united around a shared vision for supporting and improving our public schools. They value the input of all stakeholders in our nation’s schools, particularly the voices of community members, teachers and other public school workers who for far too long have been excluded from the decision-making process.