California Supreme Court affirms appeal court decision: “Vergara v. CA” is over
Statement by CFT president Joshua Pechthalt:
August 22, 2106—“We applaud the state Supreme Court’s affirmation of the appeal court decision,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “The teacher shortage facing California has been stoked by the Vergara case, the expensive publicity machine surrounding it, and the constant attacks by so-called reformers on teachers and public education. We can now turn closer attention to solving the actual problems we confront in our schools, such as securing adequate funding through Prop 55, reducing class sizes, promoting and strengthening peer assistance and review, and reinforcing collaborative district practices with a proven record of success. These efforts will result in a more positive climate to address the teacher shortage crisis, bring young people to teaching and encourage experienced teachers to stay in the classroom.”
“You can exhale now,” the headline in Salon reassures, because “kids have more money than ever to spend on school stuff this year.”
The reason for Salon’s celebratory tone is that a national survey every year by the National Retail Federation finds that preteens preparing for a new school year have a record-breaking average of $80.31 in personal spending money. The author leaps from that nugget of information to conclude this is a sign of a stronger economy ahead. (Disclosure: I’ve written about education for Salon.)
But even if Salon’s analysis makes you breathe easier about the economy, you should understand those school kids aren’t going to keep their cash for very long, because their schools are going to need it.
Indeed, back to school supply lists are likely longer than ever before due to the simple reason that schools increasingly don’t have the funds to pay for items on the list. And because of persistently inadequate budgets that continue to dog our schools, you can be sure the longer your shopping list, the worse the funding situation is throughout your child’s school system.
Not only are school stockrooms increasingly bare of supplies, but teachers aren’t being adequately paid, class sizes are ballooning, programs are being cut, and school buildings increasingly forego required maintenance.
In states like North Carolina – where schools still get less funding than they did in 2008, despite an improving economy – money for necessary school supplies continues to be inadequate.
How Some California Charter Schools Illegally Restrict Enrollment
All across California, charter schools are implementing admissions policies that exclude students from enrolling. Like other public schools, charters must admit all students who wish to attend. By law, they may not discourage certain students from enrolling based on income, national origin, academic performance or other factors. These admission policies threaten to turn public schooling into a two-tier system where the students who need the most resources receive the fewest.
These charter schools post enrollment policies or forms online that are clearly illegal or exclusionary. Other schools may also maintain similar prohibited policies that are hidden from the public view. The violations we found include:
Exclusion Based on Academic Performance
Discrimination against English Learners
Pre-Enrollment Essays or Interviews
Requirements that Discourage Undocumented Students
Current budget projections show that unless we maintain the current income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians, our schools will face nearly $4 billion in cuts. Under Prop. 55 the wealthiest Californians will continue paying the same amount they are now to protect public schools and vital services from deep cuts.
Funding from Prop. 55 will provide local schools the money they need to hire teachers and staff and reduce class sizes. It will help community colleges offer more courses and help keep tuition rates stable. And it will help improve access to health care services for low-income children so they can stay healthy and thrive.
Join the California Democratic Party, California Teachers Association, California State PTA, California Federation of Teachers, California Labor Federation, Children's Hospital Association and so many others and please add your name in support of our kids right now! Because our children and schools matter most.
Thanks for helping us do the right thing for California's children.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
In a lifetime of political engagement, Michael Harrington must have given ten thousand speeches, and of those, probably a thousand in New York City, where he had made his home since his arrival in 1949, age 21. He gave his final speech in the city 40 years later, in May 1989. Suffering from the cancer of the esophagus that would end his life in less than three months, he spoke that day to reporters and editors from the city’s union press.
Dinah Leventhal, a 22-year-old activist, was in attendance. She was about to take on the job of youth organizer for Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the socialist group that Harrington helped found and led, and welcomed the chance to speak with him for a few minutes afterward. Mike reminisced about his own days as a young socialist organizer in the 1950s. “He said,” she recalled, that “he had felt an incredible degree of freedom and learned so much in those years”
He said I should make the most of it, being an organizer and traveling around, getting to see the country and getting to know what the country was all about. He really loved this country, and thought that you had to love the country to be a radical, to be a socialist, and to want to change it.
Over the years, Mike met and worked with many important and famous people, including Dr. Martin Luther King, United Auto Worker president Walter Reuther, Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem, U.S. senator and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, and Prime Minister Olof Palme, leader of Sweden’s ruling Socialist Party, to name but a few. The publication in 1962 of his landmark study of poverty, The Other America, helped spark the Johnson administration’s War on Poverty. He had another best-seller in 1972 with the unlikely title of Socialism, which sold over 100,000 copies in paperback and influenced many readers with its argument that the “real Karl Marx” was a radical democrat, not a would-be dictator. His last book, Socialism: Past and Future, came out shortly before his death. He was an editor of Dissent, a commentator on National Public Radio, a frequent contributor to leading opinion magazines like the Nation and the New Republic. As a public intellectual and a moral tribune, in the 1970s and 1980s, he had few equals on the left, or indeed across the political spectrum. Harrington, Senator Ted Kennedy would write, “has made more Americans more uncomfortable for more good reasons than any other person I know.”
Sacramento State has been awarded a five-year, $2.37 million grant to re-establish a High School Equivalency Program (HEP). The competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Migrant Education is designed to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers who are 16 years or older and are not currently enrolled in high school.
The goals are to help them obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma and gain employment, or go on to an institution of higher education, the military, or other postsecondary education or training. Service centers will be located in Woodland and Stockton, as well as at Sac State.
“HEP will provide a second family to migrant students who are typically left to figure out their future on their own, very much the way our College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) does for its students,” says Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen.
“HEP will ensure out-of-school youth are making progress, completing high school equivalency, and ultimately having better opportunities in the future. The work done by HEP benefits the individual, their families, and our society as a whole. We are very proud to have it back at Sacramento State.”