California Educator

December/January 2022

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Page 43 of 63

Ravenswood Teachers Association worked collaboratively with Ravenswood City School District to reach agreement in November on a new contract that will make RTA educators among the highest- paid in the San Francisco Bay Area. The contract includes a more holistic and meaningful evalua- tion process and a 10 percent increase to teacher compensation, raising the starting salary for new teachers by 20 percent. Per the agreement, RTA's most seasoned educators could earn up to $133,950 a year. RTA President Ronda White praises the agreement, noting that RTA and the district "have boldly chosen to exemplify what pub- lic education leadership is by standing with and in support of its greatest resource: its educators. This contract treats educators as professionals, with salaries and step increases that reflect a profes- sional scale. This is huge." The new evaluation process uses state criteria and allows edu- cators to set their own professional goals, allowing for teacher initiative, creativity and innovation. It makes it possible to confi- dently link bigger raises to the evaluation of teacher performance. The new compensation system also offers the opportunity for teachers who demonstrate mastery of their skills to advance up the salary scale more rapidly. RAVENSWOOD: Groundbreaking agreement Martinez Education Association won a 10 percent salary increase in an agreement reached in November with Martinez Unified School District. The agreement is intended to attract and retain quality edu- cators to Martinez. Other major victories include the increase of stipends by 10 percent, an increase in the hourly rate from $40 to $50, and the maintenance of health and welfare benefits. MARTINEZ: Wage increase to attract, retain educators Campbell High School Teachers Association has been holding rallies and pickets after declaring a joint impasse in September in negotiations with Campbell Union High School District over chang- ing work conditions and salary. Educators say district management is withholding $4,000 from the salary schedule that was previously negotiated, meaning $450 less per monthly paycheck. At a November school board meeting, CHSTA President Kim McCarthy informed the board that educators had taken a vote of no confidence in the district's superintendent. " This resolution with these 380 teachers' signatures is the result of a failure to listen and a failure to lead," McCarthy said. The district has an all-time high of $48 million in reserves, which CHSTA asserts should be spent on the district's stated goal of edu- cator attraction and retention. CAMPBELL: No confidence in superintendent T W I C E I N T H E past 30 years, California voters have overwhelmingly rejected school voucher initiatives. Despite this, California voters may once again be asked to vote on school vouchers in 2022. Although CTA does not take a position on initiatives until they have qualified for the ballot, misinformation about vouchers has already begun surfacing. Here are some facts, based on research: • Vouchers reduce funding for neighborhood schools, meaning fewer textbooks, teachers and more overcrowded classrooms. They also do not live up to their hype. In California, the vouchers currently proposed for $14,000 would not cover the full cost of attending a private school, with one analysis showing the average cost of private school tuition currently at $15,333, and $20,876 for high schools. Costs for technology, books and other expenses can raise the bill for private school up to 30 percent higher. • Voucher programs are associated with reduced educational outcomes. Studies of voucher programs in Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio and Washington, D.C., have found that vouchers reduce student test scores, especially in math. A 2018 analysis by the Center for American Progress concluded that the impact of families using public tax dollars to attend private schools is equivalent to missing out on more than 68 days of classroom learning. • Voucher programs do not work for students in rural areas. Most rural and suburban areas do not include enough participating schools for vouchers to be a viable alternative. • Voucher programs have their roots in discrimination and continue to foster it. The first private school voucher programs arose in the Jim Crow-era South in the 1950s to perpetuate school segregation. Private schools that participate in voucher programs often don't reflect the demographics of their surrounding communities. Unlike public schools, private and religious schools can and do discriminate when deciding whom to admit to their schools. Vouchers Set Students and Schools Back By Lisa Gardiner 42 Advocacy

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