California Educator

June/July 2019

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to urge them to get off the sidelines and show which side they are on in the fight for public education. e stalemate ended when four Assembly members stood up for schools with their votes, pushing the total to 42 and passing AB 1505 out of the Assembly. ousands cheered in unison and then turned to hug the closest person in a red shirt before letting out a sigh (and cry) of relief. (e final vote was 44–19.) The moment followed a march of thousands that snaked around the State Capitol to spotlight the detrimental impacts of privately managed charters in places like Los Angeles and Oakland, where unchecked charter proliferation has caused widespread closures of neighborhood public schools and dis- proportionately affected communities of color. Villegas-Ramirez said it's hard to see the charter school indus- try use communities to further their harmful agenda. "ey're exploiting families who just want what's best for their kids." Chaz Garcia, second vice president of the Oakland Educa- tion Association, said families need more information about how privately managed charters impact local districts and hurt neighborhood schools, noting that it's an abstract issue and people need additional context. Four charter accountability bills — AB 1505, AB 1506, AB 1507 and SB 756 — are currently making their way through the Legislature (go to for the latest details). But these important bills aren't the only goal of the #RedForEd move- ment in California; educators, families and allies statewide are urging lawmakers to address the chronic underfunding of our public schools. California ranks 39th in the nation in the amount of money it spends per student, a shocking fact considering Cal- ifornia is the fifth-largest economy in the world. "If you're tired of a system that benefits only a few, raise your fist in the air and say, 'Enough is enough!'" said CTA President Eric Heins at the rally, as thousands of fists shot up into the sky. "We need to fully fund our public schools!" See the expanded version of this story at allow th em to consider th e f inancial impact of a char t er w hen evaluating a proposal . United Teachers Los Angeles/NEA Vice President Cecily Myart-Cruz was leading a chant in the Capitol rotunda when word came that AB 1505 support on the Assembly f loor had stalled three votes short of the majority needed to pass it on to the Senate. Myart-Cruz squinted at the vote tally on a cellphone, searching for LA area Assembly members who had not yet voted. " What? He hasn't voted?" she said, fingers texting a mes- sage frantically, as she tried to whip up the votes needed to pass the bill. is scene played out in the halls of the Capitol, on the lawn outside, and in communities throughout California. Educators called, emailed and tweeted legislators who had not yet voted From left to right: Thousands march around the State Capitol to spotlight the detrimental impacts of privately managed charters; Eric Heins; educators, parents and children participate in the Day of Action. Educators rally in support of the #RedForEd movement for strong public schools. 39 J U N E / J U L Y 2 019

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