By Van Tieu
California reported its highest single-day count of coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, July 8, a grim milestone reflective of the easing of the state’s stay-at-home restrictions. But as cases continue to rise across the state, having almost reached 300,000 cases, school districts are scrambling to prepare for the fall.
The struggle to reopen districts comes as President Donald Trump pushes for schools to open doors despite nationwide spikes in coronavirus cases largely due to the relaxing of guidelines against the wishes of many of the country’s top health professionals.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” Trump said at the White House on Tuesday. “It’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”
Source: California teachers union pushes back on reopening schools | abc10.com
By Louis Freedberg
Ending a decades-long connection, the association representing California State University faculty has severed its ties with the California Teachers Association, resulting in a significant loss in membership for the state’s largest teachers union.
In a little noticed move, the board of the California Faculty Association voted in late May to “disaffiliate” from the CTA. The association, whose members include faculty, part-time lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches on the 23 CSU campuses, is an affiliate of the CTA, which means that its members can be CTA members as well.
The CTA wields considerable clout educationally and politically the state. Defying predictions that the Janus ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago would eviscerate public employee unions by limiting the fees they could collect, the CTA says it has added new members, as have many other unions across the country. The CTA anticipates that some 22,000 new members it says it has recruited over the past year will offset the approximately 19,000 CSU staff the CTA says belonged to both the faculty association and the CTA. The CTA says its overall membership will remain around 325,000.
Source: California Teachers Association loses thousands of members – The Reporter
By Suzanne Carlson
Solano retired teachers were in a generous mood at the Division 24 California Retired Teachers Association holiday party Dec. 4 at The Clubhouse at Rancho Solano.
Members collected $3,285 for the Butte County Camp Fire victims and $700 for grants for teachers in Solano County. The retired teachers also donated $723 to the Green Valley Middle School band program.
The jazz band, under the direction of Dan Peckham, provided holiday music for the organization’s festive event.
Source: Community News: Retired teachers group raises money for Camp Fire victims, Green Valley school band, area teachers
By Richard Bammer
A two-year wage-and-benefit agreement with instructors and a resolution declaring March as Women’s History Month are on the agenda when Solano Community College leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
The seven-member governing board likely will approve a $1.6 million agreement, retroactive to July 1 and in effect until June 30, 2019, with the faculty chapter represented by the Community College Association/California Teachers Association and the National Education Association.
According to agenda documents, it amounts to a 4 percent wage hike for full-time and adjunct instructors and counselors as part of a restructured salary schedule.
Additionally, the contract calls for “language” to address online classes and faculty in “coordinator positions” (the latter not defined); and the right of adjunct faculty to interview for a full-time position.
The agreement’s cost to the college does not include health and welfare benefits.
Source: Solano Community College trustees to consider $1.6M wage-and-benefit package
By Richard Bammer
Jerry Eaton, a Vanden High teacher and a former Vacaville Unified trustee, has been re-elected to a three-year term as a California Teachers Association board member, The Reporter has learned.
Eaton, formerly a Vacaville resident who now lives in Ukiah, started his latest term on June 26, representing 105 teachers unions with 11,000 educators in the CTA’s sprawling District A, which stretches from San Francisco northward along the coast to the Oregon border, a nine-county area that includes Solano.
Just returned from the annual National Education Association representative assembly in Boston, Eaton, in a telephone interview Friday, said, as a CTA board member, he mostly deals with “governance issues, bylaws and (CTA) board meetings” in Burlingame.
Source: Former Vacan re-elected to CTA board of directors
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.