California Educator

April 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 59

Assembly Member Hernández emphasizes that his AB 787 specifies that all school employees, whether at a "traditional school or charter school, in a physical classroom or online classroom ... have equal employment rights." Lawmakers, educators propose comprehensive changes to boost charter accountability, transparency, and fair access to all students S E N A T O R S M A R K L E N O (D-San Francisco) and Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) and Assembly Members Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) and Mike Gipson (D-Car- son) and representatives of CTA, the California Federation of Teachers, the California Labor Federation, and charter educators spoke out on the Capitol steps on March 25 in support of measures that would increase fiscal and governance accountability at these schools, shore up protections for employees organizing a union, and ensure unbiased access to all students. "All students should have the opportunity to attend a quality public school, and all schools, whether they are charter or traditional schools, should be held to the same high standards. Student success shouldn't depend on what their ZIP code happens to be," said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. Educators from California Virtual Academies (CAVA), a network of online charter schools, let legislative staff know that their efforts to advocate for their students were being stymied by corporate governance of the schools. They cited efforts by CAVA management to quash their efforts to form a CTA chapter, something vital for their pro-student advocacy in the face of threats. "Student success is secondary to profits, and voicing concerns is dangerous at an 'at will' institution. Teachers have been fired, not renewed, or had their assignments reduced because of their advocacy," CAVA teacher Sarah Vigrass said. The news conference came less than a week after CTA and its partners held a brief- ing for lawmakers' staff members that focused on a new report that spotlights holes in current state law that have allowed many charter schools to engage in discriminatory admission practices and have let corporate charter operators profit unconscionably at the expense of students. The report, from the Annenberg Institute, cites a critical need for transparency and greater accountability at the state's growing number of charter schools. Proposed Legislation CTA is co-sponsoring four bills designed to provide students and educators at charter schools with the same opportunities provided at traditional public schools. SB 322 (Leno) requires charter schools to follow traditional public school admissions criteria, comply with suspension and expulsion provisions, and collect student turnover and teacher rollover data. SB 329 (Mendoza) requires changes to charter school oversight as it relates to bidding; provides that charter petitions can be denied based on financial, educational or staffing impacts on the other schools in the district. AB 709 (Gipson) requires a charter school to be transparent and accountable in its operation and use of funds. AB 787 (Hernández) ensures charter school employees can continue to unionize and belong to the local union. Advocacy Legislative 28 1,184 existing charter schools in california 87 new charter schools opening in 2014–15 9% estimated percentage of students attending charter schools Charter school statistics

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - April 2015