California Educator

June/July 2020

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Tell your U.S. senators to support the HEROES Act State and local governments are facing huge shortfalls and need federal funding to maintain essential services, including education. The House has acted decisively, passing the $3 trillion HEROES Act. Ask your senators to support the HEROES Act as soon as possible. Read more on page 42. Corporations Cash In on Kids I N T H E L A T E S T example of corporations cashing in on students, charter school companies across the country have been taking pandemic-crisis aid meant for small businesses. In Los Angeles, Gabriella Charter Schools, with only two schools, applied for and is set to receive a $1.3 million loan from the federal CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). "Charters claim to be 'public schools' when that's where the money is," says education scholar and author Diane Ravitch. "But when the money is available for small businesses, they claim to be small businesses. Public schools aren't eligible for the federal money. But charter schools are." In the Public Interest ( reports that privately operated charters are applying for PPP funds in addition to the $200 million set aside in April for large corporate charter school chains by U.S. Secre- tary of Education Betsy DeVos. Others caution that COVID-19 has given corpora- tions and corporate-backed groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) another oppor- tunity to undermine public education. Economist and local school board member Gordon Lafer notes in an interview in the Institute for New Economic Thinking ( that tech company offers to pro- vide free digital solutions to distance learning during the pandemic, for instance, are comparable to "coke dealers handing out free samples." Pepi Stojanovski / Unsplash Call 855-977-1770 now to be connected with your legislators: Tell your state legislators to support a budget with no cuts. The California Legislature is debating the 2020-21 state budget to meet the June 30 deadline. The proposed budget has more than $10 billion in cuts to schools and community colleges, including cuts of $6.5 billion to the Local Control Funding Formula, which equates to: • Cutting $1,230 per student. • Increasing class sizes by 19 percent. • Laying off more than 57,600 teachers. • Laying off more than 125,000 education support professionals. 1 2 13 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 0

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