California Teachers Association

March 2017

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LORENA GARCIA : We've been able to unify, organize and empower members and parents. We knew we had to engage members and go out to the community and parents about district programs and prior- ities. We talked to members about what's important to them. Face to face communication is key. We went to site meetings. We had one-on-ones. We took the temperature of members with surveys. Stu- dents are surveyed in grades 5-8 — a climate-type survey about how they feel at their sites; do they feel safe? We used all that to guide us with LCAP. Our executive board met with the district. We insisted that they have parent meetings with translators. We made sure to include counselors, nurses. Retirees helped us. They stood outside and gave info to parents. The district gave us rough drafts throughout the process. If our priorities were not reflected in the rough drafts, we made sure to communicate that to the school board and community. Sometimes that meant filling the room, which we did a lot last year. We had to revise how funds are being used. The LCAP is not set in stone; it can be adjusted. We keep organizing. The theory of action behind LCFF is that all major stakeholders are involved in making decisions. Making the LCAP Work Chapter leaders talk about using LCAP to improve schools, empower educators T he Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) is a powerful tool to build and engage membership and organize. Together with the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), LCAP decisions have great impact on students and schools — not only in test scores, but in broader indicators such as school climate and English learner progress. ese indicators are monitored in the new California School Dashboard, part of the state's new accountability sys- tem. (See cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/cm.) Local chapters are embracing this opportunity to get involved in the LCAP pro- cess. At January State Council, CTA held a forum on how several chapters are using the process to advance their priorities and empower educators. Panelists included Lorena Garcia, Southwest Teachers Association president; Trish Gorham, Oakland Education Association president; Brian Guerrero, Lennox Teachers Association president; and Greg Price, Visalia Unified Teachers Association president. e leaders discussed how the LCAP process can engage members in the work of the union; advance teacher-led professional development; create a common agenda with the community for needed school programs and resources; and build new rela- tionships with district administration. We excerpt their comments here. To see the forum in full, go to bit.ly/2kO8f1q. TRISH GORHAM: We have been show- ing up in the community, not to lead but to work with and be present for those communities. Some- times it means connecting on a social level or political level. That intercon- nectedness has given us great inroads into the community because we are part of the community — 65 percent of Oakland teachers live in Oakland. So we can leverage that. Four keys groups we work with around the LCAP are Californians for Justice (a student organization), Oakland Community Organizations (a local PICO network), Parent Lead- ership Action Network, and Public Advocates. We trust them to take leadership; it is better that it is the community leading. In the first year, the district was going around with PowerPoints trying to tell us what their priorities were. Teachers and the parents did not buy that at all, but our voices were heard — with each meeting, the message from the district changed based on what was said at the previous meeting. OEA did organizing, education and some agitation around the school site council (SSC) — that's where the on-the-ground organizing has to be. Rules and regulations around SSCs are very powerful to get the message across to get the programs at the school site that are truly needed. In the first year we touched 40 schools with training in the SSC. The LCAP has to come out from the school site and be developed based on what your school community needs are — that is its promise. We redirected the discussion from how to spend money to what are the pro- grams we really need for our kids. You can't spend anything unless it's in the SSC program. (Photo: Matthew Hardy) 29 March 2017

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