California School Fiscal Services
|Posted on March 26, 2015 at 2:30 PM||comments (4570)|
BY JEREMY B. [email protected]
03/25/2015 12:55 PM 03/25/2015 10:04 PM
California’s politically potent teachers unions are promoting bills requiring charter schools to hold open meetings and to consider all applicants while cracking down on for-profit charter operators.
Charters schools, which receive public funding but operate under different rules than traditional public schools and often employ nonunion staff, now number more than 1,100 in California. Critics – including union officials who accuse charters of selectively admitting only the most promising students – warn that charters produce uneven results and argue that some schools are motivated more by the pursuit of profit than by student success.
“What we see nationally and in California is that these for-profit companies are siphoning off funds that should go to the classroom for corporate profits,” said Ron Rapp, a lobbyist for the California Federation of Teachers. “This must stop.”
A bill sponsored by the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers and the California Labor Federation would prohibit charter schools from being managed by for-profit corporations. Assembly Bill 787 would also ensure charter teachers are covered by the Education Employment Relations Act, part of what the bill’s author called an effort to help teachers organize.
The bill “would open up the already legal avenue to unionize,” said Assemblyman Roger Hernández, D-West Covina. “The ability to unionize is a civil right, the right of association is a civil right, but charter schools have this culture of infringement on those rights.”
While many charter schools do an exemplary job, said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, he argued that some cherry-pick students by imposing entrance requirements that include having parents volunteer, requiring entrance exams or dictating a minimum GPA. Senate Bill 322 would ban such requirements and have charters comply with the same expulsion and suspension requirements governing traditional public schools.
“Charter schools were established with the mission of providing educational opportunities for all students, with a special emphasis on providing educational opportunities for students who are academically low-performing or with some special needs,” Leno said, adding that his bill “re-establishes California’s commitment to this goal.”
Assembly Bill 709, by Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, would require charters to comply with open meetings and public records laws.
Representatives of the California Charter Schools Association, which is opposing the Leno and Gipson bills and is evaluating Hernández’s measure, said supporters of the package repeatedly mischaracterized charter schools. Charter schools’ student bodies “look an awful lot like traditional public schools,” said California Charter Schools Association lobbyist Rand Martin, discounting the notion that charters skim off top students, and his organization estimates that a sliver – between 2 and 3 percent – of California charters are run by for-profit corporations.
On unionization, “we’ve never had a problem with that,” Martin added. “CCSA has been agnostic on the issue of unionization since its beginning, and the law is agnostic on that – it lets them unionize.”
|Posted on June 12, 2014 at 9:15 AM||comments (4066)|
This week Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu struck down teacher tenure laws in California citing that they discriminated against poor and minority students. In his ruling, he stated the following:
"There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms. Dr. Berliner, an expert called by State Defendants, testified that 1 to 3% of teachers in California are grossly ineffective. Given that that the evidence showed roughly 275,000 active teachers in this state, the extrapolated number of grossly ineffective teachers ranges from 2,750 to 8,250. Considering the effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students … it therefore cannot be gainsaid that the number of grossly ineffective teachers has a direct, real, appreciable, and negative impact on a significant number of California students, now and well into the future for as long as said teachers hold their positions."
Of course, the CTA has announced it will appeal.
This is exactly the kind of controversy that can derail us from keeping our focus on what really matters...our students. It's so easy to get engaged in the "water cooler" conversation and put aside our responsibilities and obligations. My advice is to rise above it all and keep your focus on what really matter. All that we can count on for now is that this is one giant political situation and it is best for the business office to give it a wide berth. You can never lose by taking the high road...and in this instance, take another road altogether!