Supreme Court to hear Freidrichs case in January What you need to know about who’s behind this anti-union lawsuit
SUPREME COURT is
scheduled to hear arguments in Friedrichs v. CTA on January 11.
Reflecting the high stakes for all unions, the AFT and more than 70 labor
organizations led briefs with the court opposing this right-wing attack on
union membership and bargaining power. The court is
considering whether to overrule its 1977 decision allowing states to require
public employees to join a union or pay a fee to cover collective bargaining
costs. These fees cover the worker’s share of the re- sources the union spends
on negotiating contracts, representing workers in grievance procedures, and
other services that benefit the entire workforce. Depending on how a
particular union operates, the cost of representation for each agency fee payer
may range from a small fraction of the membership cost to almost as much as
membership. The right of unions to collect fair share fees was settled by the
court’s unanimous 1977 decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
The state as a whole is experiencing a shortage of teachers, but Latino teachers are in particularly short supply. One major obstacle to boosting their numbers is starkly visible in these figures from Sonoma State University’s School of Education, the biggest local source of teachers.
Last year, 15 Latino students completed the teacher credential program, out of 191 students.
In the previous year, 2013-2014, there were 10 Latino students out of 237 credential candidates who completed the program.
Also, because of a lack of applicants, the last students to go through the school’s bilingual credential program graduated in 2009.
On December 14, 2012, twenty innocent children and six heroic teachers and staff members were murdered in their classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That’s 20 children who didn’t have birthday parties this year. 20 children who didn’t get to put a tooth out for the tooth fairy. 20 children who won’t be singing in a holiday pageant this year.
The number of victims is far more than 20. I meet mamas and daddies, sisters and grandmas who have lost children and grandchildren to gun violence – communities of people whose days will forever be marked by loss. I meet them, and I promise we will not forget.
After the massacre at Sandy Hook, it finally felt like we had reached a moment that we could agree to put aside our differences and move toward better gun safety.
The bipartisan Manchin-Toomey bill proposed in the wake of Sandy Hook would have closed the background check loophole for gun shows and Internet sales. It seemed like the very least we could do, really. I had only been in office a few months, but I was optimistic that we had the votes to make it happen.
Then on April 17, 2013, the NRA shut it down. Manchin-Toomey failed.
The Sac City Unified district has decided to reduce class
sizes in k-3 classes down to a maximum of 24 students for the fall of
2016,a good decision and a long overdue
decision according to an article by Loretta Kalb in the Tuesday Sacramento Bee .
Community groups such as the Communities Priorities
Coalition, parents groups, and the teachers union (SCTA) have been pressuring
the district to make this decision for over two years.
The district has received over $67 million in additional
funding since 2013 as a result of the economy recovering from the Great
Recessionand Prop. 30 ballot
measure.The district receives some $237 million in revenues from
the change in state policy known as the Local Control Funding ( LCFF) that requires
that this revenue be spent on specific populations,low income, English Learners, foster children,
and Special Education.This year the funds have already been allocated to purposes
other than class size reduction by the administration and the School Boardin spite of the community demandsto spend the funds on class size reduction.
Watching the Board, it is often difficult to tell who or
what body is making decisions on this significant newLCFF funding .
Class sizes in Sacramento grew significantly during the
Great Recession and teachers were dismissed while new teachers not hired.
to reduce k-12 class size back toward the national averagewill require the hiring of some 100 new
teachers.SCUSD and other local
districts will have difficulty recruiting credentialed teachers as the number
of students studying to become teachers has fallen during the economic crisis.
Donald J. Trump called on Monday for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country until the nation’s leaders can “figure out what is going on” after the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., an extraordinary escalation of rhetoric aimed at voters’ fears about members of the Islamic faith.
A ban on Muslims – an unprecedented proposal by a leading American presidential candidate, and an idea more typically associated with hate groups – reflects a progression of mistrust that is rooted in ideology as much as politics.
Sacramento Bee Editorial Board. Dec. 6, 2015.
It is supreme irony that Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again!” because his candidacy is surely making our nation worse, much worse.
Nearly every week, he commits some new outrage against truth and decency. This travesty has gone on long enough. Voters have to put a stop to it, and that starts by acknowledging the uncomfortable truth:
Trump is an accomplished demagogue and a clear and present danger to American democracy.
On Wednesday afternoon, the House overwhelmingly passed the proposed Every Student Succeeds Act by 359 to 64. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this month, and the White House has signaled President Obama’s willingness to sign it.
As is true with any time there is an all-too-rare example of bipartisan legislation, expect, in the coming weeks, a lot of ballyhoo about this being an example of where “Washington comes together” when it comes to matters that are “all about kids.”
For sure, there are things to like and dislike about the bill, but while lawmakers and policy wonks are back-slapping and glad-handing each other, this is also an opportune time to reflect on where we are in the evolution of education policy compared to where we should be.
‘A Modest Step Forward’
When you have a piece of legislation that is disliked by the super-conservative Heritage Action Fund, on the one hand, and left-leaning civil rights organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP, on the other, the knee-jerk tendency is to conclude, “Hooray, we’ve ‘met in the middle’ and satisfied all but the outliers.”
However, education policy has been deeply harmed by this sort of shallow bipartisanship, as lawmakers and policy types have tended to regard the easy way forward as an assurance everyone involved in crafting a bill has performed the necessary due diligence. After all, bipartisan blinders gave us the flawed No Child Left Behind enacted under the administration of George W. Bush in the first place (not to mention the Iraq War).
New education bill would create greater opportunity for every student to succeed
WASHINGTON - November 30, 2015 -
Today, the U.S. Senate and House conference committee released to the public legislative language of a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the first time in years. The bill is now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. The House of Representatives is planning to take up ESSA this week. The Senate is expected to follow next week.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:
“NEA is supportive of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
“Students have suffered long enough under the broken system of test and punish created by the No Child Left Behind Act. We are encouraged that this new bill will help to create greater opportunity for every student to succeed, regardless of their ZIP code.
“In particular, the bill includes student and school supports in state accountability plans to create an opportunity ‘dashboard’; reduces the amount of standardized testing in schools and decouples high-stakes decision making and statewide standardized tests; and ensures that educators’ voices are part of decision making at the federal, state and local levels.
This week, the House of Representatives will take up the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Senate is scheduled to follow suit as soon the House is finished.
The new version of ESEA, called the Every Student Succeeds Act—if passed in Congress and signed by the president—is a paradigm shift. In eliminating the adequate yearly progress requirement and shifting the focus away from testing as the be all and end all, ESSA would provide a fresh start for states to re-envision public schooling, better aligning it to what students need to succeed. And it should be a wake-up call to any state that wants to double down on what will now be the discarded test-and-punish system that has dominated in recent years.
We wouldn’t be here without you. Our members, activists and leaders worked hard to make sure our message—as parents, as educators, as community members and as people who want to make a difference in the lives of children—was heard. More than 130,000 of you took action online, made phone calls, submitted comments on the bill and met with your members of Congress, and it made a difference.
The bill is not perfect, and with so much authority being turned over to the states, we will have our work cut out for us. But ESSA brings us closer to letting states, local districts and educators focus on students and their success, and to ending the harmful test fixation that has become the predominant schooling strategy. It sends a clear signal to states that the policies of No Child Left Behind, waivers and Race to the Top should be abandoned, not replicated. By maintaining funding for the students who need it most; not including support for private school vouchers, portability or other divisive policies; and including more transparency and accountability for charters, the bill also signals to states that these are unproven policies that should not be pursued.