California Educator

March 2016

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In a resounding victory for students and public education, 82 percent of United Teachers Los Angeles members voted to reinvest in their union and agreed to a dues increase in early February. With the Build the Future, Fund the Fight campaign, UTLA leadership has for months engaged its membership on the need to fight against those who attack the concept of a strong public education with access and equity for all, and who seek to privatize public education. ey include the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which has proposed a plan to enroll half of Los Angeles Unified School District students in unregulated charter schools over eight years. "We are fighting back unaccountable billions from the privatization movement one educator at a time, by increasing our dues by $19 a month," says UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. "Our members believe in funding the fight for our vision of the Schools LA Students Deserve — one that is built by educators, parents, students, and our communities, neighborhood by neighborhood, not funded by corporate special interests whose view of education reduces students to market shares, and educators to human capital." Currently, LAUSD has the most charter schools of any district in the nation. Because they are independently operated and exempt from some rules that govern traditional schools, charters serve fewer students who may be more difficult or more expensive to educate because of serious disabilities, behavior problems, lack of fluency in English, or other issues. Caputo-Pearl and UTLA's vision for sustainable neighborhood community schools includes smaller class size, reducing high-stakes testing, reassessing performance eval- uations, increasing the number of nurses and counselors per student at school sites, and winning legal battles such as Vergara v. California that threaten to eliminate teacher job protections. UTLA is the nation's second-largest local teachers union and represents more than 35,000 educators along with health and human services professionals who work in LAUSD and inde- pendent charters. More than 50 percent of its membership voted — one of the highest voter turnouts in UTLA's history. Under the initiative that was approved, monthly dues for a full-time member will increase from $63.33 to $82.33 as of Sept. 1, 2016. Ringing Endorsement UTLA's membership votes to support fight for public education The Numbers Total number of votes by UTLA members to reinvest in their union: 16,045 Yes: 13,116 = 82% No: 2,929 = 18% At top, UTLA members celebrate the vote to approve the Build the Future, Fund the Fight financial restructuring to invest in the union. Above, a montage of LAUSD schools showing their support. 33 March 2016

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