California Educator

November 2015

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A T C T A S T A T E C O U N C I L ' S meeting in October, more than 100 members joined the American Indian/Alaska Native Caucus to celebrate two key legislative victories, capped by a presentation by Chumash storyteller David Garcia. Caucus Chair Mary Levi recounted the CTA-supported bills: • AB 30 by Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) makes California the first state to bar schools and colleges from naming teams and mascots with the R-word, a racial slur for Native Americans. • AB 163, by Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Carpinteria), creates the American Indian Language-Culture Credential, a new certification that supports teaching of heritage and/or language, particularly to Native American students. AB 30 affects four California high schools in Merced, Cala- veras, Tulare and Madera counties. e new law championed by Alejo (see profile on page 39) is the culmination of an effort begun by former Assembly Member Jackie Goldberg, who in 2002 introduced a measure that would have ended the practice of using caricatures of racial minorities as athletic team and school mascots. At the time, a few states and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights had issued resolutions condemning the practice, but no state has banned it outright until now. "We wouldn't tolerate a team called the New York Jews or the North Carolina African Americans. So why do we have Indian mascots?" Goldberg told the Chigago Tribune. "People [who want to retain the mascots] think if you don't mean any harm you don't do any harm. at's not the case." During his presentation, Garcia told traditional stories, including ones that drove home the importance of maintaining courage in the face of adversity. Garcia and Levi both addressed the caucus's next legislative target: getting California to change the official name of the Oct. 12 holiday to "Indigenous People's Day." —Len Feldman S T U D E N T S W E R E the winners in a series of recent rulings on for-profit charter school operators. Earlier this month, the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) found in favor of online educators working with California Virtual Academies (CAVA), who asserted that they should be recognized as one bargaining unit. Back in May 2014, teachers representing approximately 750 CAVA educators working across the state filed for union recog- nition with PERB, the state's labor oversight board. ey sought representation to more effectively advocate for students and to address a range of problems at the school through the collective bargaining process with CAVA administration and its parent company, K12 Inc. (K12 Inc. is one of the largest publicly traded educational tech corporations in the United States, with nearly $1 billion in annual revenues.) CAVA/K12, which provides online learning for nearly 15,000 students in grades K-12 across California, insisted that CAVA operates as 10 different independent schools and not as a single entity — a claim belied by its centralized structure and systems. Over the past 17 months, CAVA/K12 tried to derail the PERB proceedings with delay tactics, legal maneuvers, harassment and intimidation — including illegal terminations. Teachers applaud the board's decision. "Now that we are union, frontline educators will have a real voice in decisions that impact our students," says elementary school teacher Rebecca Flynn from the East Bay. "is is a big step forward in our effort to improve CAVA to better serve Cal- ifornia's kids." Given CAVA/K12's actions during the PERB proceedings and its likelihood to exploit its high teacher turnover rate (over 40 percent) to undermine the unionization effort, some educators fear CAVA/K12 might try to prolong the process by appealing the board's decision. Alliance charters can't interfere On Oct. 19, PERB announced it would file for an injunction to prohi bit Al li anc e C ol l ege-Ready P ublic S cho ol s from interfering with efforts to unionize teachers. The temporary restraining order was issued days later by the Los Angeles County Superior Court. PERB agreed with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) that Alliance illegally intimidated employees, denied organizers access to school buildings, and blocked emails. Continued on page 55 Rights Upheld Recent charter school rulings put students first Legislative Victories for Native Americans From le: David Garcia, Mary Levi and CTA Board member Marty Meeden. 44

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