California Educator

February 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 5 of 67

teacher effectiveness. But more importantly, you defi- nitely can't measure a student's creativity or love of learning with a bubble test. I'm especially proud that an idea that really does advance civil rights — that students i n s t r u g g l i n g s c h o o l s s h o u l d h ave extra resources and support — has expanded beyond a successful CTA p r o g r a m ( t h e Q u a l i t y E d u c a t i o n Investment Act), and is now an inte- gral part of the state budget system through the Local Control Funding Formula. The LCFF gives significant additional funding to schools with high numbers of low-income students and English learners. It's telling that those who have hijacked the civil rights mantra are almost universally silent when it comes to getting resources to the kids who need them most. But CTA will continue to expose these "deformers" for what they really are, often people with a profit motive and a school privatization agenda, and at the same time advocate for meaningful reform that makes sure all California kids get the education they deserve. Ask Dean I T I S D I S A P P O I N T I N G — not to mention bad for kids — that people with no background in education or classroom experience are often behind the latest harebrained schemes to reform schools, usually at the expense of students, teachers and support staff. To counter those bad ideas and build on our members' expertise, CTA made advocacy on education one of the cornerstones of the member-driven long-term strategic plan. Our goal is to be even more proactive in advancing improvements that work, and resolute in fighting bad ideas that scapegoat educators and fail to address the real problems facing California students. One outrageous trend among so-called school reformers is cloaking their bad ideas in the rhetoric of civil rights causes. As we honor the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic march from Selma to Montgomery to fight voting discrimination and a system that deprived people of color of basic rights, it's really an insult to his memory to hear proponents talk about "civil rights" as they attempt to strip all teachers of due process rights and pit parents against schools and teachers through "parent trigger" laws. You don't advance civil rights by taking them away from educators or by trying to systematically dismantle a public education system that accepts all children, regardless of race, language, test scores or athletic ability. While CTA will continue to lead the charge against failed ideas that are bad for students or that attack teachers, we'll be focusing much of our energy on proven strategies. Aside from our ongoing priority to protect school fund- ing, the next couple of years present some great legislative opportunities to make real changes that support teachers and are good for students. There's work to be done to better support those new to the profession. Quality induction and mentoring programs are essential for new teachers, and we'd like to bring back Peer Assistance and Review programs, many of which fell by the wayside during the years of budget cuts, so that veteran teachers have a chance to learn from one another and those who may be struggling have an opportunity to succeed. We still continue to lead in the area of support for implementation of the new state standards. There's also a lot to be done in the area of teacher evaluation. Most educators agree the current system — especially for veteran teachers — isn't especially helpful. CTA members have developed a framework that would make evaluation more meaningful and would require better prepared administrators and stronger mentor programs. And any improvement to the current evaluation system has to recognize that student scores on stan- dardized tests are not the best way, or even an accurate way, to determine Dean E. Vogel C T A P R E S I D E N T What can educators do to ensure that changes made to public schools actually benefit students? Do you have an issue or topic you'd like Dean to address? Let us know. Email The 'parent trigger' law and the Vergara lawsuit aren't civil rights, they are civil WRONGS!" "No bubble test can measure a student's curiosity and creativity. It's time to move away from the focus on federal and state tests and look at multiple measures of student learning that are decided at the local level." 4

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - February 2015