Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Educators- Day Day of Resistance - Covid-19


What is the National Day of Resistance, #EquityorElse?
Thousands of parents, students, educators  and school staff that have been on the frontlines fighting for racial justice in the US public school system are joining forces on August 3rd to demand equity and safe conditions before schools are reopened. As the fight against systemic racism and state sanctioned violence has reached historic heights, on the heels of the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Brown and Indigenous families, organizers and union leaders are coalescing around a comprehensive set of demands to ensure that the safety of students and school staff is guaranteed before school doors are opened.  
For more information:
Take ACTION Now:
      Sign and share this petition demanding that schools are opened safely and equitably!
      Watch & Share: National Day of Resistance Aug 3: Demand Safe, Healthy and Equitable Schoolsdemanding safe schools!
      Join our network of activated parents, students & teachers via Facebook!
Talking Points & Messaging

Who We Are
In this movement moment, our organizations have come together to unite students, educators, parents and community to advance a racial justice agenda in public education, in particular by organizing for police-free schools. We’re working to galvanize a strong and growing student/educator/parent/community voice; a voice that says the government must go much further to provide the resources to ensure a safe and equitable school reopening and must provide for our communities and working families through transformational Common Good demands. Leading organizations include:

      Alliance for Educational Justice 
      Center for Popular Democracy
      Chicago Teachers Union
      Journey for Justice Alliance
      United Teachers Los Angeles

This Moment
We are in a unique moment in our history characterized by:
      The greatest public health crisis in a century
      The biggest and most diverse mass uprising for racial justice
      A severe economic crisis
      Calls for bold action by organized communities and workers
Our Message
      We demand a safe, scientific, racially just and fully funded approach to reopening schools.
      Nationally: “Equity Or Else” and “Police-Free Schools” in the context of re-opening. In particular, we will not reopen without appropriate resources, adherence to science and racial justice for our school communities. 
      Locally: The above as foundations, with more built on to reflect local needs
Participating Cities:
Chicago, Oakland, Little Rock, Denver, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Baton Rouge, Camden, Newark, NYC, Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Dallas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Orlando, West Virginia, St. Paul and Minneapolis
Demands, Target & Tactics

  1. No reopening until the scientific data supports it 
  2. Police-free schools
  3. All schools must be supported to function as community schools with adequate numbers of counselors and nurses and community/parent outreach workers 
  4. Safe conditions including lower class sizes, PPE, cleaning, testing, and other key protocols 
  5. Equitable access to online learning 
  6. Support for our communities and families, including moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, cancel rent and mortgages, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs 
  7. Moratorium on new charter or voucher programs and standardized testing 
  8. Massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing the billionaires and Wall Street 

Tactics and Targets
  1. Sign-on national letter to Trump, Biden and Congressional leaders outlining our demands as outlined above for re-opening 
  2. Local actions on August 3rd in as many cities/areas as possible, all focused on re-opening conditions/ demands, with local discretion on political and corporate/revenue targets, 
  3. Work with Journey for Justice and other groups to organize escalating actions in cities ready to escalate their tactics, i.e. occupy city hall, take over city property for homeless students, bank occupations
Activities & Action Ideas for August 3rd
      Check out this guide for in person and virtual action ideas
      Editable flyer for your local actions
      Activities include:
      Live, online convenings
      Teach ins
      Social Media tactics
Social Media

Check out our robust social media toolkit that includes:
      Sample posts
      National Targets
      Social media handles
      Press Release & Op-ed materials

      And more!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Demand Safe Schools Day of Resistance

DEMAND SAFE SCHOOLS: DSA says NO to premature in-person reopenings
Political conditions in the U.S. continue to deteriorate as we count down to a new school year and the threat of an in-person return to the classroom pushed by politicians in both major political parties threatens the lives of educators, support staff, parents, and students alike.
In the midst of this ever worsening crisis, mass action in the streets is the only antidote to the fear and uncertainty now gripping millions of people around school reopenings and the unchecked spread of COVID-19.
To that end, DSA has nationally endorsed the Demand Safe Schools Day of Resistance to school reopenings called for Monday, August 3rd by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), and an ever-growing list of other militant teachers’ unions and community organizations fighting the reckless return to in-person learning.
We’ll be in the streets demanding:
  • No reopening until the scientific data supports it
  • Police-free schools
  • All schools must be supported to function as community schools with adequate numbers of counselors and nurses and community/parent outreach workers
  • Safe conditions including lower class sizes, PPE, cleaning, testing, and other key protocols 
  • Equitable access to online learning
  • Support for our communities and families, including moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs
  • Moratorium on new charter or voucher programs and standardized testing
  • Adequate and equitable funding, through federal stimulus
  • Massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing billionaires and Wall Street
Here’s how YOU can take action to support the fight for safe schools!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

CSU undergrads must take an ethnic studies or social justice class starting in 2023

CSU undergrads must take an ethnic studies or social justice class starting in 2023
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In the first major change to general education across its system in decades, all 430,000 undergraduates attending Cal State universities must take an ethnic studies or social justice course, a requirement approved by CSU trustees Wednesday following a fierce two-day debate that left some longtime social activists in the awkward position of voting “no.”
The requirement will take effect starting in the 2023-24 academic year in the nation’s largest four-year public university system. Five trustees voted against it — including State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and social justice activists Lateefah Simon and Hugo Morales — who said it did not hew closely enough to the definition of ethnic studies. One trustee abstained.
Two questions dominated their debate: What should an ethnic studies requirement include? And who should decide: faculty, trustees or state lawmakers?
“I’m trying to hold with fidelity to what ethnic studies is and has been and what those who framed it and have been fighting for 52 years have asked for,” Thurmond said at the meeting Wednesday, referring to the discipline’s focus on the experience of four oppressed groups in the U.S.: African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and Indigenous peoples. 
Morales asked to rename the proposal as simply a “social justice” requirement. “This is about social justice, which we have championed,” he said. 
But Chancellor Timothy P. White said that disciplines evolve, and the requirement his office was advancing offers students more choices.
“Ethnic studies has matured,” he said. “It’s deep, it’s powerful, but it’s more than what it used to be.”
The new requirement creates a three-unit, lower-division course requirement “to understand ethnic studies and social justice.” The requirement could be met by a traditional ethnic studies course or by a class focused on social justice or social movements. 
Many were opposed to White’s plan — including educators and activists — and prefer a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), that more narrowly defines the requirement, limiting it to ethnic studies courses. AB 1460, which passed both the Assembly and Senate, will go back to the Assembly for concurrence next week before being sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. If he signs it, that requirement will supersede the one approved by the CSU Wednesday.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Next Disaster Is Just a Few Days Away- Krugman

The Next Disaster Is Just a Few Days Away: Millions of unemployed Americans face imminent catastrophe. Paul Krugman, NYT.  Some of us  knew from the beginning  that Dona...

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Public School Campuses Will Remain Closed

Public school campuses in Sacramento County will remain closed when instruction resumes in the fall, leaving tens of thousands of families and teachers to begin planning for an extension of distance-learning programs.
The Sacramento County Office of Education, which oversees districts serving more than 250,000 students from kindergarten through high school, announced that its 13 districts will continue distance learning programs they implemented in the spring. The decision to close campuses was made by school officials.
Conditions are not safe enough for students, staff and families to allow school to open up in person at this time,” said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools Dave Gordon.
The decision affects the following districts: Elk Grove Unified, Folsom Cordova Unified, Sacramento City Unified, Twin Rivers Unified, Natomas Unified, San Juan Unified, Arcohe Union, Center Joint Unified, Elverta Joint, River Delta Unified, Robla, Galt Joint Union Elementary and High School districts.
Sacramento County health chief Dr. Peter Beilenson and county health officials, who have been in close, daily consultation with school officials, say they believe the schools’ decision is the right one given the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
“It is a reasonable decision given the large increase in cases we’ve experienced, particularly among young people under 49, the kids and their parent’s ages,” Beilenson said. “We laid out the story for them of what was going on in the county now.”
Many schools are scheduled to open for instruction in mid-August; Sacramento City Unified is scheduled to begin on Sept. 3.  For distance learning only.
Other districts and counties in California have already announced plans to implement distance learning-only programs for the fall. The San Joaquin County Office of Education announced on Monday it recommended that its schools start fall classes online. Other districts in the state including the two largest — Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified — are also going online when classes resume. 
Nearly 700 people under the age of 19 have tested positive in Sacramento Countysince the virus began to spread through the region. 
The decision to keep Sacramento campuses closed came a day after some SCOE trustees shared concerns about physically reopening schools during a Tuesday night board meeting. 
Trustee Harold Fong said he was uncomfortable with the office’s plan to reopen classrooms.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

We need to provide revenues solve the problems we know are coming

CTA- Reopening Schools ?

Reopening Schools

CTA is advocating for our members, our students and their families. We are making sure lawmakers and parents know the health and well-being of our students and our educators come first.


View Letter to Elected LeadersCOVID-19 Resources for EducatorsState Budget

California Cannot Reopen Schools Unless They Are Safe

The health and safety of all students and staff must be the first priority and guiding principle in opening public schools and colleges for the 2020-21 school year. When we physically return to school campuses, it needs to be planned and deliberate with safety and public health at the forefront of all decision-making and with the involvement of educators and parents. There must be clear and up-to-date guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on how schools open safely and responsibly, as well as triggers that require schools to physically close again. The state must provide a uniform symptoms check list that can be used to screen students and staff. The CDPH must work with CalOSHA in developing and providing training for school staff on safety protocols so there are consistent standards and expectations throughout the state. We also expect the state to support districts by providing and bulk buying personal protective equipment for students and staff.

Federal and state guidance regarding a phased reopening have focused on a sustained downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases for 14 days or no more than 1 COVID-19 case per 10,000 in the past 14 days. Districts and chapters should carefully review infection rates and trends for new cases in each area, hospitalization rates, levels of community spread, etc. in order to evaluate the overall safety of opening school buildings for in-person teaching and learning.

We Want Our Students to Be Safe and Ready to Learn

This must include safety supports for students and educators:

· Accommodations to allow for fewer contacts among students, staff and parents.

· Accommodations to reduce class sizes and allow for six-feet physical distancing in classrooms, cafeterias, gyms, buses, and other shared spaces.

· Deep cleaning, and continuous ongoing cleaning of campuses and buses by trained school employees, and the inspection and certification of all ventilation systems.

· Students and school employees have daily health assessments before entering campus with appropriate student and school employee privacy.

· Special considerations and accommodations to protect students and staff with compromised and underlying medical conditions.

· Work with local county health officers to ensure increased testing of students and staff and develop the necessary legal documents for parent permission.

· Work with local county health departments to include schools in contract tracing, including the training of employees in that process and rapid case notification to employees and parents.

· Students and school employees wear facial coverings and practice routine and regular handwashing.

· Access to health services including nurses and medically trained personnel to assist and monitor student and employee health in collaboration with county health departments.

· Mental health counseling and emotional support by trained counselors for students, staff and the school community.

· School Illness and Injury Prevention plans should be updated and adopted prior to the first day of in person instruction.

· Schools have a robust communication system with data transparency among schools, parents, caregivers, county health departments, and school employees.


Texas Teachers Union May Strike Over Covid-19

Ed Note. While it is illegal for Texas teachers to strike, it was also illegal for California, New York and other teachers to strike at one time. What changed that?  Strikes.

Monday, July 13, 2020

SCUSD not ready to open schools at this time

As California’s two largest school districts announced plans to continue distance learning only models in the fall, there is growing apprehension among teachers in the Sacramento City Unified School District about classroom instruction beginning in September.
The district has announced the resumption of in-person classes on Sept. 3, but some teachers say they are skeptical that the district has the capacity to reopen campuses safely and according to the guidelines. 
The Sacramento City Teachers Association met virtually with district officials and said they urged a more robust distance learning program. 
“The pandemic spike makes beginning any in-person instruction on September 3 highly unlikely,” read a statement from SCTA President David Fisher. “When the two largest school districts in California acknowledge the enormous safety concerns of resuming in-person instruction our district leaders cannot ignore the need to develop and improve our ability to teach remotely.”
Sacramento City Unified leaders said any future decisions would be grounded in public health recommendations. 
“In addition to planning for an option of full distance learning which includes, assessments, accountability, and high-quality instruction, we are also preparing for a blended model where smaller numbers of students can attend school in-person, part of the time,” said Sacramento City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “We will not implement a plan that is unsafe for our students or staff. 
Breaking news & more

Read more here:

CDC Guidelines on Reopening Schools _ Not Trump

WASHINGTON — Federal materials for reopening schools, shared the week President Trump demanded weaker guidelines to do so, said fully reopening schools and universities remained the “highest risk” for the spread of the coronavirus.
The 69-page document, obtained by The New York Times and marked “For Internal Use Only,” was intended for federal public health response teams to have as they are deployed to hot spots around the country. But it appears to have circulated the same week that Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would release new guidelines, saying that the administration did not want them to be “too tough.” It is unclear whether Mr. Trump saw the document, nor is it clear how much of it will survive once new guidance is completed.
(The cover page of the document is dated July 8, 2019, an obvious typographical error since the novel coronavirus did not exist then.)
What is clear is that federal health experts are using a road map that is vastly different from what Mr. Trump wanted.
While it is mostly a compilation of C.D.C. documents already posted online, it includes reopening plans drafted by states, districts and individual schools and universities. And the package, from the Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force, is pointed.
In a “talking points” section, the material is critical of “noticeable gaps” in all of the K-12 reopening plans it reviewed, though it identified Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma and Minnesota as having the most detailed.
“While many jurisdictions and districts mention symptom screening, very few include information as to the response or course of action they would take if student/faculty/staff are found to have symptoms, nor have they clearly identified which symptoms they will include in their screening,” the talking points say. “In addition, few plans include information regarding school closure in the event of positive tests in the school community.”
And its suggestions for mitigating the risk of school reopenings would be expensive and difficult for many districts, like broad testing of students and faculty and contact tracing to find people exposed to an infected student or teacher.
The debate about school reopenings comes as the virus is spreading at its fastest pace yet across the country, a trend some attribute to states reopening prematurely this spring on a timeline encouraged by Mr. Trump. Now some states are pausing their reopening plans and in some cases reimposing restrictions to contain the spread. Schools in California have had to cancel their plans for in-person classes as the virus surges.
Groups representing education leaders praised the document, saying after months of mixed messages from the federal government, the inclusion of specific plans could serve as a blue print for schools and families to help navigate the uncertainty that the fall will bring.
“What it tells us is left to its own devices, the C.D.C. can do a pretty good job in compiling a comprehensive document that shows the complexity of what institutions are facing,” said Terry W. Hartle, a senior vice president of the American Council on Education, which represents 1,700 college and university presidents and higher education executives.
“The good news is, this is very thoughtful and complete,” he added. “The bad news is, it’s never been released.”

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Trump “Orders” Schools to Reopen, Teachers say, Not so Fast !

By Dana Goldstein and Eliza Shapiro  NYTimes.
Many of the nation’s 3.5 million teachers found themselves feeling under siege this week as pressure from the White House, pediatricians and some parents to get back to physical classrooms intensified — even as the coronavirus rages across much of the country.
On Friday, the teachers’ union in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest district, demanded full-time remote learning when the academic year begins on Aug. 18, and called President Trump’s push to reopen schools part of a “dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students and our families at risk.”
Teachers say crucial questions about how schools will stay clean, keep students physically distanced and prevent further spread of the virus have not been answered. And they feel that their own lives, and those of the family members they come home to, are at stake.

Now, educators are using some of the same organizing tactics they employed in walkouts over issues of pay and funding in recent years to demand that schools remain closed, at least in the short term. It’s a stance that could potentially be divisive, with some district surveys suggesting that more than half of parents would like their children to return to classrooms.
Big districts like San Diego and smaller ones, like Marietta, Ga., are forging ahead with plans to open schools five days per week. Many other systems, like those in New York City and Seattle, hope to offer several days per week of in-person school.

Now, as teachers listen to a national conversation about reopening schools that many believe elevates the needs of the economy and working parents above the concerns of the classroom work force, many are fearful and angry. They point out that so far Congress has dedicated less than 1 percent of federal pandemic stimulus funds to public schools stretching to meet the costs of reopening schools safely.

The message to teachers, said Christina Setzer, a preschool educator in Sacramento, is, “Yes, you guys are really important and essential and kids and parents need you. But sorry, we don’t have the money.”
Earlier in the shutdown, Mr. Trump acknowledged the health risks to teachers over the age of 60 and those with underlying conditions, saying at a White House event in May that “they should not be teaching school for a while, and everybody would understand that fully.”
But this week, as the administration launched a full-throated campaign to pressure schools to reopen in the fall — a crucial step for jump-starting the economy — it all but ignored the potential risks teachers face. More than one-quarter of public schoolteachers are over the age of 50. 
Teachers say many of their questions about how schools will operate safely remain unanswered. They point out that some classrooms have windows that do not reliably open to promote air circulation, while school buildings can have aging heating and cooling systems that lack the filtration features that reduce virus transmission.
Read more:

This is Not the Way to Reopen Schools.
Michelle Golberg 

Trump Threatens to Turn Pandemic Schooling Into a Culture War
The president might sabotage parents’ best hopes for getting their kids back to school.

This is almost certainly not why Trump is eager to have school resume. Rather, school closures and staggered schedules are a crushing weight on the economy. To millions of parents, they’re an intimate daily reminder that the president’s incompetence has ruined our lives. But to open schools in a reasonable way, the government needs to do two things: control the pandemic, as most other developed countries have done, and give schools money to adapt. This administration has so far failed to do either.

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