California Teachers Association

October 09

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Building partnerships helps reform efforts written by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin United Educators of San Francisco President Dennis Kelly recently chatted with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about how to improve educat ion. “Reform isn’t something to do to us,” Kelly told the nation’s top education official. “It is something to do with us.” CTA’s partnerships and willingness to work with others — administrators, parents and community members — have helped many schools narrow the achievement gap. In fact, successful schools have a “shared vi- sion” between administration and teachers that promotes a collaborative working rela- tionship, according to the EdSource report “Similar Students, Different Results.” “Partnerships are about relationships,” says CTA President David A. Sanchez. “Part- nerships are inclusive. They allow us to share resources and develop joint projects to im- prove education. We are always better work- ing together than working alone.” Enemies of public education frequently describe teachers unions as being obstacles to reform efforts. But nothing could be further from the truth. Here are some of the ways CTA members are actively engaged in reform — and collaborating with others — to im- prove teaching and learning. Quality Education Investment Act Many of California’s schools of greatest need are benefiting from extra funds to help boost student achievement from the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA). Goals of the program include reducing K-12 class siz- es; having qualified teachers in all core sub- jects; increasing the number of credentialed counselors in high schools; establishing a dis- trictwide teacher quality index to ensure eq- uitable distribution of teacher experience; and quality training programs and time for collaboration. Funding stems from a court settlement of a lawsuit CTA and the state su- perintendent of public instruction filed to compel Gov. Schwarzenegger to pay back to public schools all funding mandated by Prop. 98 — the state’s minimum funding guarantee for public education. QEIA funding cannot be postponed or modified without court ap- proval, and efforts to do so could subject the governor to contempt of court charges. Ap- proximately 500,000 students in 499 schools in the lowest deciles of the state’s Academic Performance Index receive QEIA funding. CTA has offered numerous trainings throughout the state for members, adminis- trators, parents and other stakeholders to dis- cuss the important role of school site councils in regard to QEIA, budget and collective-bar- gaining issues, strategies to improve profes- sional development and other key issues. “I think using this money for Program Improvement schools is great,” says Regina Tyler-Powell, a Compton Education Associa- tion (CEA) member who teaches at McKin- ley Elementary School, a school that receives QEIA funds. “It’s nice that CTA is continuing to assist schools that need help.” To make the best possible use of QEIA funds, CEA members are meeting with dis- trict administrators, parents and classified employees. Institute for Teaching CTA’s Institute for Teaching (IFT), a pro- gram that is an arm of the CTA Foundation for Teaching and Learning, has been respon- sible for many innovative programs that as- sist schools of greatest need, reform high school education and increase awareness of the importance of school readiness and vol- untary preschool. IFT also has formed a part- Legislature passes the CTA-sponsored Rodda Act, making K-14 school employees the fi rst public employees in California to win collective bargaining rights. CTA pushes collective bargaining bill through the Legislature, only to have it vetoed by Governor Ronald Reagan. Virtually every CTA chapter fi les for recognition as the exclusive representative of local educators. In less than 18 months, 600 of 1,000 locals statewide secure bargaining rights — an unprecedented feat in labor history. CTA leads passage of SB 813, which provides signifi cant additional revenue for California schools through equalization of revenue limits and new categorical programs. This bill also provides more rigorous graduation requirements, longer school day and year, and higher beginning teachers’ salaries. It also establishes statewide model curriculum standards. Proposition 13 is passed, eliminating local control of school districts by transferring all funding to Sacramento. Prop. 13 also adds two-thirds supermajority vote requirement for passing taxes to the state constitution. Thousands of teachers receive layoff notices as a result of Prop. 13. Continuing program cuts lead to annual layoffs. Page 14 12 California Educator | october 2009 1972 1975 1977 1978 1980 1983

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