Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Unions and DSA Fight for Worker Safety.

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Unions and DSA Fight for Worker Safety.: As shoppers crowded into the McAllen, Texas, branch of Sprouts Farmers Market in mid-March to stockpile food, store clerk Josh Cano grew a...

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

SACRAMENWTF Is Jacobin’s Editor Thinking in Voting Green?

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: WTF Is Jacobin’s Editor Thinking in Voting Green?: The Nation Peter Drier B haskar Sunkara, editor of the provocative and popular socialist  Jacobin magazine, tweeted last week that he ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

SCUSD- Difficult to Believe

But some teachers, along with the Sacramento City Teachers Association, said the hybrid plan can’t work if most students don’t have their textbooks and materials on hand. 


C.K. McClatchy High School teacher Lori Jablonski said that about a third of her students still had no access to devices. She can’t provide supplemental materials to her students because they’re unable to go back to campus, she said on a media call on Monday.
Teachers at McClatchy High created a mutual assistance program called SCTA Community Volunteer to help prepare for Monday’s distance learning launch. District-wide, more than 190 teachers offered to assist students and families with technology support — an offer met with an April 9 cease and desist letter from the district.
“Any district employee who provides technology support to district students as an ‘SCTA Community Volunteer’ does so without the district’s consent and such service is outside of the course and scope of their employment,” read the letter. “Such employees, and SCTA, will be solely responsible for any and all legal consequences arising from service as an ‘SCTA Community Volunteer.’ ” 
Aguilar said the letter was not designed to provide a chilling effect. The letter explained that technology support was not part of the memorandum of understanding between the district and the teachers union. 
“We have personnel that handles that support,” he said, adding that he encourages teachers to continue providing support to their own students.
Jablonski called the legal letter outrageous, adding that there could have been many ways for the district to clarify how they wanted to offer tech support. 
“It could have said, ‘We would like to be the first call for tech support,’ ” she said. “What they did was send the letter saying liability will rest on the teachers who are providing it.”
Report from the Sacramento Bee. 

Read more here:

Friday, April 10, 2020

SCUSD Fails To Consult Teachers on Learning

Superintendent Threatens Legal Action Against Teacher Volunteers
SCUSD Announces Unilateral Implementation of "Hybrid Model" Distance Learning Plan As Thousands of Students Are Without Chromebooks
April 10, 2020

Last night at 8:48 p.m. we received a letter via email from SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar that declared “that the District will move forward with phase 3 of its student-centered distance learning plan.” You can view the letter here.
Since March 30, the District has:
  • reneged on MOUs #1 and #2 that legally commited the District to create with teachers a "mutually-developed" Distance Learning plan;
  • backtracked on its previous position that it "mutually-develop" a FLEXIBLE Distance Learning plan grounded in the professional judgement of teachers;
  • rejected our offer to use $1.8 million in health plan savings to buy Chromebooks for students;
  • refused to abide by Governor Newsom's Framework for Labor-Management Collaboration, that was endorsed by the California School Board Association;
  • rejected our offer to use Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna as a mediator;
  • failed to respond to our most recent proposal of April 7;
  • refused to meet since April 3. 
The District’s Distance Learning “Plan” Was Created by 6 Serna Administrators with No Input from Classroom Teachers: As we wrote to the Superintendent yesterday, April 8, which you can view here, the District has provided no details of its “distance learning plan [that] is grounded in the commitment to provide consistency necessary to ensure that our students do not fall any further behind because of this unprecedented crisis,” included, but not limited to, the students who have lost contact with teachers. The District has not shared its plan to accomplish “developing and providing comprehensive and equitable learning opportunities to all students.” 

According to Chief Academic Officer Christine Baeta, the District’s distance learning plan was created by 6 Serna Center administrators with no input from classroom teachers.

The District rejected our proposal to create Work Groups in Elementary, Secondary, Special Education, and High School Graduation to create detailed plans, and failed to follow up with Work Groups for Waldorf and Physical Education.

The District’s Learning Plan Lacks Any Details or Substance: While the District’s announcement of its intention to unilaterally implement “phase 3” of its Distance Learning plan is a violation of California labor law, that is not what is most troubling. Our biggest concern is that District leaders can’t explain what “phase 3” is.

District leaders kept promising to discuss their Distance Learning plan in an effort to create a "mutually-developed" plan going forward. It commited to presenting a comprehensive plan on March 26—but never did. On paper, the District describes its “plan” as: “a hybrid approach,” with “clear guidelines, not qualifiers,” “focused on innovative methods to ensure that we can teach and meet essential standards,” with “consistent schedules” and “communication with families.” The “plan” also includes “teacher collaboration” with “support for student social and emotional needs.” Grading will only allow students to improve their grades.

For example, the District has provided no information how packets will be created and distributed to students. The District has not addressed security and confidentiality concerns related to Zoom. The District has not explained how some staff could be required to conduct in-person meetings when there is a statewide stay and shelter order in place.

We repeatedly expressed our concern that the District appeared to be more interested in creating a Distance Learning plan that sounded wonderful and looked great in an Info-graph, but that in reality lacked substance. Unfortunately, that appears to be what its plan is.

Superintendent Aguilar Threatens to Take Legal Action Against Volunteer Teachers Who Are Willing to Provide Technical Support to Students and Parents: Yesterday, Superintendent Aguilar even went so far as to send as cease and desist letter, which you can view here, threatening to take legal action against teachers who volunteered to provide technical support to students and parents related to Distance Learning.

The District Has Failed to Follow Through on Its Commitment to Provide a Chromebook with Internet Access to Every Student Who Needs One by April 13: Until Tuesday of this week, April 7, the foundation of the District’s distance learning plan was based on its guarantee that every student who needed a Chromebook with internet access would be provided one by the District. The District even rejected a proposal from SCTA to use $1.8 million from health plan savings to purchase Chromebooks for students, because the District claimed it had already ordered them

For the first time on Wednesday, the District finally admitted that Chromebooks would not be available for all students who need one by April 13. More than 73% of secondary students—13,552 students--won’t be offered a Chromebook by April 13. And for those students at those schools who were fortunate enough to be offered a Chromebook (mostly elementary schools), Chromebooks were limited to one per family, rather than one per student, no matter how many students are in a family. The District confirmed to the Sacramento Bee “that it will be unable to complete the distribution of computers to all 40,000 students before April 13. . . . We ultimately expect to provide each student from all grade levels a computer within the next few weeks.” Distance Learning will only occur for nine weeks, from April 13 through June 11. The District will not produce the purchase order to show when the purchase was made, and will not provide any details when deliveries can be expected.

The Leadership Style of Superintendent Aguilar and Board President Jessie Ryan: While we are extremely disappointed in the lack of leadership and cooperation from the District, we are not surprised. Although we never had the opportunity to have either Superintendent Aguilar or Board President Ryan present their vision directly to us, unilaterally implementing a plan that is more sound bite than substance is entirely characteristic of their leadership style.

In contrast, nearly every other school district in the state of California has reached agreements with their teachers' unions to transition to Distance Learning during this international pandemic.

Later today, we will provide in question and answer format responses to many questions we have been hearing from teachers, students and parents.
As always, feel free to share with us your thoughts and suggestions.

David, Nikki & John

WE Cannot Rely Upon Trump: He is Incompetent

We Cannot Rely on Trump. Congress Must Lead The Way in This Unprecedented Crisis - Bernie Sanders
The American people deserve and require leadership from Washington amid this horrific pandemic and economic meltdown. In this unprecedented moment in American history, we need an unprecedented legislative response.
April 9, 2020 Bernie Sanders  

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Taxing the Corporations to Fund Education

Last week, our campaign announced that we had submitted more than 1.7 MILLION signatures of support to qualify for the November 2020 ballot, which was the most signatures ever submitted for a ballot measure in California history!

News outlets across the state, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Politico, KQED, and CBS, have quickly taken notice that Schools & Communities First has unprecedented grassroots momentum:
Schools & Communities First is gaining support among voters across all of California because it is time we invest in our public schools, local services, and the health of our communities. Now more than ever, we need to support the health care workers, first responders, and educators on the frontlines of our response to COVID-19.
Although our grassroots movement continues to grow by the day, we still have a long way to go if we are going to win in November. Will you join the thousands of Californians committed to passing Schools & Communities First by donating, volunteering, or sharing why you support investing in our schools and communities?

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Don't Be Stupid- Don't Deport DACA Health Care Workers

Don’t Deport DACA Health Care Workers 
If the Supreme Court affirms the administration’s termination of DACA, thousands of vital health care workers could be deported.
By Bill AseltyneBeth EssigDebra L. Zumwalt and Abbe R. Gluck
Mr. Aseltyne, Ms. Essig and Ms. Zumwalt are general counsels for health care systems. Ms. Gluck is a professor at Yale Law School and Yale School of Medicine.
·       April 2, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic is stretching our public health system to its limits and challenging our ability to meet the urgent and critical medical needs of the country as never before. As executives responsible for the legal affairs of major hospitals and lawyers working in Covid-19 hot spots, we know how crucial it is to have every available front-line medical worker fighting this pandemic.
But 29,000 of those workers are being threatened with deportation by the Trump administration. They have been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children can obtain protection against deportation and authorization to work in the United States. The Trump administration terminated that program, the Supreme Court is currently considering the lawfulness of that determination, and the court’s decision could come at any time.
New data from the Center for American Progress reveals that the DACA-recipient health care work force includes more than 6,000 diagnosing and treating practitioners, including respiratory therapists, physicians assistants and nurses; some 8,000 health aides, including nursing assistants and orderlies; more than 7,000 other health care support workers; and some 5,500 health technologists and technicians.
The Association of American Medical Colleges told the Supreme Court that nearly 200 physicians, medical students and residents depend on DACA for their ability to practice medicine and serve their communities. Those 200 trainees and physicians alone would care for hundreds of thousands of patients per year in normal times — the association estimates as many as 4,600 patients per year, per person. Under the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, those numbers will be much higher.
The Center for Migration Studies found that 43,500 DACA recipients work in the health care and social-assistance industries, including more than 10,000 in hospitals.
If the Supreme Court upholds the decision to terminate DACA, nearly 700,000 people — including those health care workers — will lose their ability to work and live in the United States. The administration is preparing to deport DACA recipients and has repeatedly stated that it will do so if the Supreme Court gives it the green light, something that could happen as soon this coming Monday, April 6. There are many reasons for the Supreme Court to hold the administration’s decision invalid, and the pandemic confirms those flaws.
Even before the crisis, primary-care doctors, nurses and other health professionals were in short supply. The Association of American Medical Colleges and over 30 other groups told the Supreme Court last fall that our health care system relied on DACA health care providers.
That need is even more acute now. For example, as of last week, more than 300 workers in four of Boston’s biggest hospitals had tested positive for the coronavirus. As Covid-19 hospitalizations increase, health care professionals are increasingly likely to become ill. This is especially true because of the current national shortage of personal protective equipment in some health systems that puts health care workers at an even higher risk of infection.
Each health care worker who tests positive must self-quarantine for at least two weeks, further intensifying the current worker shortages. We have already seen the disastrous impact of provider shortages in Europe, particularly in hardest-hit Italy and Spain. Their experiences demonstrate that expanding provider capacity will be key to reducing Covid-19’s death toll.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.