By Mikhail Zinshteyn
Charter school supporters are applauding a state senator’s decision to table a bill that would have allowed only school districts to approve new charter petitions.
The bill’s author, State Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, said Monday he will not ask the Senate Education Committee to vote on the bill next week when it was due to come up for consideration.
Mendoza said he remains behind the concept of the bill, which would greatly restrict how charters appeal district-level refusals to their county offices of education and remove the state Board of Education from the process altogether.
Source: California bill that would restrict charter school approvals stalls in Sacramento | EdSource
By Ian Thompson
If there is one thing that California Teachers Association Vice President Theresa Montano loves, it’s reading.
She got to read Thursday to one of her favorite audiences – two classrooms of young children at Laurel Creek Elementary School.
“I just love this. It brings me closer to the kids,” Montano said just before she started her day of reading.
Montano armed herself with the children’s book, “Creature Features,” by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. She first read to Stephanie Cobb’s second-grade class and then to Lisa Rushing’s first-grade class.
Source: Educators share joy of reading on Read Across America Day
By Richard Bammer
Educators want it; local taxpayer groups don’t: Proposition 55, the Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare initiative.
One 17 state initiatives on the crowded Nov. 8 ballot, it extends by 12 years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings of more than $250,000. The money would be disbursed to K-12 schools, California community colleges, and, in certain years, to health-care programs.
The measure would essentially extend 2012’s Proposition 30, which sent billions of dollars to the state’s 1,000 school districts, among other funding recipients, including public safety.
Source: Educators, most voters support Proposition 55; taxpayer groups don’t – The Reporter
By Reporter Staff
For the fourth time in as many years, Reporter Staff Writer Richard Bammer has been named a winner of a writing competition sponsored by the California Teachers Association.
Unlike in previous years, Bammer this year earned honors in more than one category, competing in the Community Daily Newspaper class, for publications with up to 100,000 subscribers.
In the feature story category, a panel of professional journalists cited “Holocaust lessons taught with re-enactments” for a John Swett Award for Media Excellence. Bammer’s detailed, colorful story focused on Buckingham Charter Magnet High School history teacher Dave Hawkins’ one-day lesson in which he brought to dramatic life for the students, in the confines of his classroom and outdoors at the Bella Vista Road campus in Vacaville, a vision of the Holocaust’s horrors.
Source: Reporter staffer wins CTA writing honors
By Claudio Sanchez
Teachers unions are breathing easier after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a deadlocked vote, rejected an effort to restrict public sector unions from collecting fees from nonunion members.
The 4-4 vote, the second such tie since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, lets stand an appeals court decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. As a result, the ability of unions like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers to collect fees from all teachers to subsidize their collective bargaining efforts remains unchanged.
“This case was never about what was best for students,” Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the NEA, said in a teleconference today with reporters. “We’ve used collective bargaining to improve the learning conditions of students, class size, school nurses.”
Source: With Supreme Court Tie, Teachers Unions Dodge A Bullet : NPR Ed : NPR
By Grace Smith
California’s system of school construction and maintenance is subpar and unfair, with low-income districts often under-funding construction but overspending on patching facilities that need major restorations, according to a study by Jeffrey Vincent, deputy director of the Center for Cities + Schools in the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at U.C. Berkeley.
- “California must bolster – not recede from – its role in the state-local funding partnership for K-12 school facilities. Moving forward, the state should ensure that all school districts can reasonably meet both maintenance and capital investment needs” by combining local dollars with “stable and predictable state funding.”
The study was published as new data has been released showing inequality in facilities funding in the state. It is possible that school construction could be a controversial issue in the Legislature next year, writes John Fensterwald of EdSource.
via California Faces School Renovation Needs, Tight Budget.
By EdSource Staff
This survey by EdSource, in partnership with the California Teachers Association (CTA), provides new insights into teacher attitudes toward preparing students for college and careers, a principal goal of all major education reforms being implemented in California, including the Common Core State Standards.
Of the 1,000 teachers surveyed, 95 percent support setting college and career readiness as the goal for the state’s students. The teachers surveyed also said they felt critical thinking skills are a more important indicator of college readiness than standardized test scores.
But while indicating a high level of support for the Common Core standards, teachers also expressed a need for a clearer definition of what constitutes “college and career readiness” and for greater professional development to support these goals. The survey also found that teachers’ confidence in the attainability of the career and college readiness goals varied based on the socioeconomic background of their students.
via College and Career Readiness: An EdSource/CTA survey of teachers | EdSource.
By Richard Bammer
When they meet tonight, Vacaville Unified leaders will face a busy and wide-ranging agenda.
They will discuss — and likely approve — pay raises for district employees, approve a contract for the district’s designated interim superintendent, and approve an increase to school facilities fees.
Additionally, they will consider a resolution honoring Dean Vogel, a district teacher on special assignment as president of the California Teachers Association, and hear an achievement and intervention report for Buckingham Charter High.
After weeks of negotiations, the district and the Vacaville Teachers Association will consider signing off on a two-year wage and benefit compact that will raise teacher salaries by 4 percent retroactive to July 1 and by another 4 percent next year.
It will mark the first major pay boost for the 680-member teachers union in more than a half-dozen years, when the U.S. economy was mired in the Great Recession.
via Employee pay hikes on busy Vacaville school board agenda.
By Susan Winlow
For local man Dean Vogel, the president of the California Teachers Association, terming out of his presidency on June 25, leading to his eventual retirement, means being home just a little bit more.
His job the past four years, as the leader of the 325,000-member organization, has taken him all over California, to Washington, D.C., and on numerous trips all over the world.
When reached by the Daily Republic on Wednesday afternoon at a Southern California hotel room, Vogel said, “On a really good month when everything goes my way, I’m home five or six days.”
“I’ve had a good time but I’m done,” said the 67-year-old married grandfather of eight, laughing.
via Vacaville school board to honor CTA leader as he terms out Daily Republic.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville-area educators on Thursday hailed state education leaders’ decision to suspend for one year the Academic Performance Index (API), the so-called “report card on schools,” as Sacramento officials develop a broader measurement system rather than a single, test-based metric.
The decision, which the state Board of Education unanimously made Wednesday, came as California school district academic officers, tech-support employees and teachers are still struggling, in some cases, to get used to new technology and the all-computerized tests ushered in with the Common Core State Standards within the last year.
“There’s been a major learning curve with all the new technology, and it’s radically different from what we’ve done before,” said Moira McSweeney, president of the 680-member Vacaville Teachers Association, “It’s something the California Teachers Association has been working on. We are in support of it.”
via Local educators hail state ed board’s decision to suspend API for one year.
By John Fensterwald
Gov. Jerry Brown won’t have key education groups helping him make the case to voters for a bigger and more restrictive state rainy day fund. The most he can count on is that they won’t actively campaign against it.
Organizations representing school district financial officers (California Association of School Business Officials) and school superintendents and principals (Association of California School Administrators) voted during the summer to officially oppose Brown’s Budget Stabilization Account, which will appear on next month’s ballot as Proposition 2. And at a meeting in late September, the board of the California School Boards Association voted not to take a position on the proposition. That decision was actually good news for the governor, since at a press conference in May, association President Josephine Lucey vowed to push her board to fight the proposal.
via Education groups withhold support of rainy day fund | EdSource.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified trustee and Vanden High teacher Jerry Eaton has been elected to the California Teachers Association board of directors, a three-year post that he begins in late June.
After campaigning at the association’s State Council meeting last weekend in downtown Los Angeles, he faced three other challengers, then survived a runoff election Sunday afternoon, when he was declared the winner.
A Spanish and French language instructor, the 61-year-old Vacaville resident is expected to be released from his teaching duties in Travis Unified by the end of the fiscal year, June 30. The state teachers association will compensate the district for Eaton’s salary, a standard practice in such cases, when a certificated employee takes a leave of absence from the classroom to fulfill union activities.
via Vacaville school trustee elected to California Teachers Association board – The Reporter.
By Reporter Staff Posted:
For the second time in as many years, Reporter Staff Writer Richard Bammer has been named a winner of a writing competition sponsored by the California Teachers Association.
A panel of professional journalists cited his six stories as examples of continuous coverage of educational news for a John Swett Award for Media Excellence. He competed in the category of Community Daily Newspaper, publications with up to 100,000 subscribers.
Bammer submitted articles that gave a wide-ranging snapshot of where his beat takes him, from a financial literacy program and Vacaville Unified School District’s hostile act drill to VUSD’s Early College High School program and the shocking rise in the number of Solano County students technically classified as homeless.
via Reporter staffer wins award for schools coverage – The Reporter.
By Dan Walters
The powerful political forces that have been skirmishing for years over the direction of California’s public schools appear to be headed for a multi-front political and legal war next year.
It pits the education establishment – led and mostly financed by the California Teachers Association – against a loose coalition of civil rights activists and business-backed school reform groups.
via Dan Walters: Powerful factions go to war over direction of California schools – Dan Walters – The Sacramento Bee#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters.
By Ryan McCarthy
You can’t fight the California Teachers Association and its union chapter at the Travis School District, says the lone incumbent running for the school board.
“They have the manpower,” Donna Bishop said of the Travis Unified Teachers Association.
via Travis teachers union targets her, school board candidate says Daily Republic.
By Dan Walters
Susan Bonilla and Joan Buchanan are Democrats who represent adjacent Assembly districts in the affluent East Bay suburbs along the Interstate 680 corridor.
Bonilla, a former teacher, and Buchanan, a former school-board member, have both staked out public education as their big issue.
via Dan Walters: Two California school bills show teacher union power – Dan Walters – The Sacramento Bee.
By Ryan McCarthy
Imposing national uniformity on American schools has failed before – and that may be the fate of Common Core as well, more than 100 people who attended a Vacaville town hall heard Wednesday.
“It’s going my way,” said Williamson Evers of the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto. “It’s going our way.”
via Common Core panned, praised at Vacaville forum Daily Republic.
Periodically – albeit, not frequently – it dawns on the Capitol’s politicians that the 6 million kids in California’s public schools aren’t learning as much as they should be, and they vow to do something big about it.
That’s why, for instance, then-Gov. Pete Wilson championed elementary school class size reduction nearly two decades ago. That’s why his successor, Gray Davis, pushed through the Public Schools Accountability Act, which rated districts and schools on academic improvements via testing.
Dan Walters: Does latest school ‘reform’ benefit students — or teachers? – Dan Walters – The Sacramento Bee.
Teacher layoffs shrank to the lowest number since the recession began in 2008, with about 1,300 teachers, librarians, counselors and other public school employees receiving final layoff notifications by the May 15 deadline, according to the California Teachers Association.
The 1,300 notices amounted to less than half of the 3,000 preliminary “pink slip” layoff notifications that school districts sent on March 15, the state deadline to inform teachers they might be laid off. In March 2012, some 20,000 teachers and school employees received preliminary layoff notices and about 8,000 faced final layoff notices, according to the Association, which tracks the numbers. Typically, most of the laid-off personnel are rehired, but the rehiring may not occur until August.
via Teacher layoffs lowest since economic downturn, CTA reports – by Jane Meredith Adams.
By Kathryn Baron
The California Teachers Association is celebrating the 28th annual national Teacher Appreciation Week with a bigger milestone – the 150th anniversary of its founding.
It was May 1863 when then state superintendent of schools John Swett, a passionate advocate for free public education, held a state teachers’ convention and established the California Educational Society with fewer than 100 members, all men. It became the California Teachers Association in 1875. California itself had just become a teenager, marking its 13th year as a state, and the Civil War was two years from ending.
via California Teachers Association turns 150 – by Kathryn Baron.