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The Darker Side of CORE

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Find out more about the CORE NCLB Waiver and why it is bad for our schools.

RETIRED TEACHER MEETING

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The Sacramento Area CTA/NEA Retired teachers will hold their general meeting at the SCTA Office (5300 Elvas Avenue) on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2014 AT 1:00 PM.  We would like to see as many of you attend as possible.

See you then.

Kathy Villarreal,  SCTA Retired Board Member

News Messenger September 11, 2013

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This is a publication of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, which is affliated with CTA and NEA. This is the 94th year of SCTA’s incorporation. The publication will occur weekly.

Volume 33, Issue 2; September 11, 2013

 

Fights and Safety Conditions at School

We are getting quite a few questions about safety and support for members who attempt to break up fights at their worksites. The coverage of Jerry Glaviano’s case in the Bee has reopened this discussion. Jerry was and should remain a teacher at C.K. McClatchy High School. The District attempted to fire Jerry after he was forced to defend himself while breaking up a fight between two students. SCTA has defended Jerry every step of the way through this process. His building representative and SCTA staff, were involved minutes after the incident. Because Jerry was a CTA member he was eligible for an attorney through CTA’s Group Legal Services program at no cost to him. He was provided with an excellent defense at the hearing in front of the Commission on Professional Competence (CPC) who reinstated him. The commission stated that Jerry’s actions were even “praiseworthy”. The SCUSD Board of Education voted, after hearing a recommendation from the Superintendent, to appeal the decision. Jerry will remain on paid administrative leave pending his February 7 hearing in Superior Court where the Board and Superintendent hope to have Jerry’s reinstatement from the CPC reversed. 

The leadership at SCTA feels that it is necessary for schools to be safe in order for them to be successful. Safe learning environments protect members, students, and communities. We are very discouraged by the actions of Superintendent Raymond and the School Board in regards to its handling of Jerry’s case. In light of these events we feel it necessary to bring to your attention your rights under the contract. Safety conditions are covered under Article 11. Please be aware of Article 11.1 which says in part, “A teacher may use reasonable force, as is necessary, to protect himself/herself from attack, to protect another person or property, to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to others”. Using Jerry’s case as an example of how much support you can expect from the Superintendent and the School Board, we suggest having conversations with your site level administrator and staff about this issue.

Dates to Remember

September 12th SCTA Representative Council (4:00-6:00 SCTA Office)

September 20th SCTA Benefits Fair (3:30-5:30 SCTA Office)

September 24th *School Site Council Training (4:00-5:30 SCTA Office)

September 26th *CTA Service Center Kickoff (6:00-8:00 Lions Gate Hotel)

September 27th * Diane Ravitch (6:30-8:30 p.m. Memorial Auditorium)

*Please check previous News Messengers or call the SCTA office at 916-452-5491 for

tickets and or registration information.

A Failed Experiment

Superintendent Jonathan Raymond has had three years now to experiment with his so called “priority schools.” The evidence is now clear that his strategy of taking badly needed resources away from many of our district’s highest need schools and redistributing those resources to a select few other high needs schools has not succeeded. A comparison of test scores from his “priority schools” and schools that are not his priority does not justify the destabilization of the district caused by his experiment. While the Sacramento Bee recently highlighted the success of one of our district’s schools, it neglected to mention that the rate of growth for Father Keith B. Kenny, was even higher the year before it became one of the superintendent’s “priority schools.” Many of our schools that have lost resources to the “priority schools” made big gains, while some of the superintendent’s “priority schools” continue to have some of the lowest proficiency rates and biggest drops in test scores in the region. This despite millions of dollars spent on outside consultants, extra administrators and top down staff development at these schools over the past three years. The biggest API gain in the district was made by Maple Elementary ( a non-priority school now closed) while the biggest API drop came from one of the superintendent’s “priority schools.”

IF we are to be a “Data-Driven” district, then it is time to honestly look at the data and admit that the Superintendent’s experiment has been a waste of time and resources, and in fact, has been quite harmful to the district as a whole. It’s time the district stop diverting badly needed resources away from students towards outside consultants. It’s time the district stops using layoffs as a way to divide teachers. We believe all schools should be able to benefit from continuity and stability of staff.

We believe that all schools should be a priority. That is why we support common sense strategies that have been proven to work. We believe that all schools should be staffed with well supported, experienced teachers. Research shows that providing teacher-directed staff development in a collaborative environment is more likely to succeed than top-down dictates. Research also confirms what parents and teachers already know; that smaller class sizes work. Smaller class sizes result in a greater awareness of student needs and higher quality instruction. We also believe that parent involvement is vital. Increasing parental involvement through models such as the Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project and others is a key component in raising student achievement. Finally, we believe in educating the whole child. We know that our students are much more than the sum of their math and reading scores. That is why we do not support making the current high stakes test even more high stakes. We do support providing a well-rounded education that emphasizes the arts, music, physical education, career and tech education, science and social studies. Once again, we believe that ALL schools are our priority.

 

Benefits Fair

The benefits fair is a great place to get all your questions answered about your benefits. All of our major providers are there, including personnel from the district’s Risk Management (benefits) Office.

 

Diane Ravitch

We have two weeks to go until our Diane Ravitch event.

 

Restoring Public Education event featuring Diane Ravitch happens at the Memorial Auditorium. Talk to fellow teachers, parents and community members to join us at the event. Tickets are $5.00.

School Site Council Training

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What’s New and Different about School Site Councils?

Be sure your association representatives and School Site Council members understand the legal obligations and have the skills and knowledge to access and influence their School Site Councils in the new funding process.  Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

What is the School Site Council’s role in:

*    The New Local Control Funding Formula

*    Single Plan for Student Achievement?

*   Program Improvement?

*   School change?

Educate, advocate and empower members at your site to continue having their voices heard!  Bring all your School Site Council members to this informative training

 

DATE:     SEPTEMBER 24, 2013

LOCATION:      SCTA

ADDRESS:     5300 ELVAS AVENUE

TIME:    4:00-5:30 pm

 

please rsvp to scta@saccityta.com or call  916-452-4591

 

Pizza and drinks will be provided.

 

News Messenger 9/5/13

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This is a publication of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, which is affliated with CTA and NEA. This is the 94th year of SCTA’s incorporation. The publication will occur weekly.

News Messenger

Volume 33, Issue 1; September 5, 2013

Class Size Levelling

The district should level all elementary classes in district as of Monday (9/23) and all secondary classes as of next Monday (9/30). Please see contract language 17.1 (for elementary) and 17.4 (for secondary) regarding details of additional grace periods. If your class has not been leveled the district will have to either have a signed form from you saying you allow a larger class size (

Note: we do NOT recommend you do this because it keeps additional teachers from being hired back), or they will have to pay $90.00 a day for each day your class size is over the limit. Please email scta@saccityta.com if your class size is over the limit after the above dates. Limits for High school is 35 per class or 170 contacts per day, middle school is 31 per class, intermediate is 33, primary is 31, and kinder is 32. PE and Music is 220 contacts per day for high school, and any prep in elementary is 190 contacts per day.

Peer  Assistance

This is a reminder that Peer Assistance happens every Monday from 2:30 – 4:45 pm. This special time is put aside just for this service, all other times you must have an appointment with a director. However, emergency situations will be handled immediately.

And what is peer assistance? It’s pretty much anything that you’re having a problem with at school that your Rep has been unable to handle for you. It’s your opportunity to talk with one of us one on one. Be sure to have spoken with your elected Rep first before coming down to the office. However, we know sometimes you might feel awkward doing so. That doesn’t prevent you from coming to see us.

We hope that unpleasant situations don’t arrive, but we’ll be ready to see you if you need us.

**Members, if you have moved, changed your phone number, or email address, please make sure to contact SCTA with you new information.
Dates to Remember

September 12th SCTA Representative Council (4:00-6:00 SCTA Office)

September 20th SCTA Benefits Fair (3:30-5:30 SCTA Office)

September 24th *School Site Council Training (4:00-5:30 SCTA Office)

September 26th *CTA Service Center Kickoff (6:00-8:00 Lions Gate Hotel)

September 27th * Diane Ravitch (6:30-8:30 p.m. Memorial Auditorium)

*Please check previous News Messengers or call the SCTA office at 916-452-5491 for

tickets and or registration information.

Welcome Back

 

As we head into the new school year SCTA wanted to say welcome back!  The upcoming school year is going to be very challenging for the SCUSD as a whole.  As is if the process of implementing the Common Core State Standards was not going to be hard enough, our district is still facing a self-imposed consultant driven budget deficit.  SCTA will be talking to you in the upcoming months about these and other issues that will need your attention as the year progresses.  We are still plagued by site level and district level administrator issues that will require our collective attention.  We know that right now you are taking the time to focus all your attention onto the children.  The start of school is so important for our students.  We know you are making sure they are getting your best next Tuesday.  The adult things will run their course and be dealt with in due time.  Our students and their families need us now more than ever.  Have a great first day.

 

Site Representative Elections

 

It is very important that all sites have representation by the first rep council at SCTA September 12th. There are many pressing issues and important decisions to make and we need all sites represented to help guide us.  Each elementary school should elect one member to represent them and each high school and middle school should elect one representative for every 25 members. It’s recommended to elect an alternate rep in case the elected rep is not able to attend one of the meetings. Please see some of the many roles and responsibilities of a Site rep:

 

ROLES OF A SITE REPRESENTATIVE

 

 

*          Serves on the governance body or representative council.

*          Represents the views of those within the faculty or unit from which he/she is elected.

*          Represents the governance body (Rep Council) to the faculty.

*          Serves as a membership promoter.

*          Serves as a communicator between faculty members and SCTA.

*          Serves as an organizer among the faculty or unit he/she represents.

*          Serves as representative for teachers who are asked to meet with their administrator and the member believes it will result in disciplinary action.

*          Refers members, who have received notice of a complaint that involves possible criminal action, to the President or CTA Representative.

 

 

 

Dates to Remember

 

September 2nd         Labor Day Picnic ( 3:30-7:00 p.m.  Land Park)

September 12th       SCTA Representative Council (4:00-6:00 SCTA Office)

September 20th       SCTA Benefits Fair (3:30-5:30 SCTA Office)

September 24th       *School Site Council Training (4:00-5:30 SCTA Office)

September 26th       *CTA Service Center Kickoff (6:00-8:00 Lions Gate Hotel)

September 27th       * Diane Ravitch  (6:30-8:30 p.m.  Memorial Auditorium)

 

*Please check previous News Messengers or call the SCTA office at 916-452-5491 for tickets and or registration information.

 

The following is being distributed for informational purposes:

 

VOICES AGAINST PRIVATIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION

THE DARK TRUTH BEHIND THE PRIVATIZATION

OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

WHEN: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2013

WHERE: COLONIAL HEIGHTS PUBLIC LIBRARY

4799 STOCKTON BLVD. SACRAMENTO, CA 95820

TIME: 1:00 P.M – 5:00 P.M

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER:

OAKLAND PARENT ADVOCATE- SHARON HIGGINS

DISCUSSES THE GULEN CHARTER SCHOOL MOVEMENT

Also discussions on:

Who is profiting from the privatization agenda!

Connecting the dots and the conflicts with government officials!

COME LEARN ABOUT:

WHO IS BEHIND THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

WHO IS PROFITING FROM THE PRIVATIZATION AGENDA &

WHAT IS BEING DONE TO FIGHT BACK

COME JOIN THE MOVEMENT TO SAVE OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS & COLLEGES

OTHER SPEAKERS/FACILITATORS:

KATHLEEN CARROLL-WHISTLEBLOWER/LAWYER/PUBLIC EDUCATION ADVOCATE

JESSICA ARRIAGA-SACRAMENTO PARENT/PUBLIC EDUCATION ADVOCATE

JERRY TAMBURINO- SACRAMENTO COMMUNITY ACTIVIST

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK: VOICES AGAINST PRIVATIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION

 

 

Access to Classrooms and Resources

We have received several calls concerning teachers who either still do not have access to their classrooms or are being told that they will be teaching on a stage, in a computer lab, library or other room that is not meant for a regular classroom. We are also concerned that many teachers still do not have full access to internet, document readers, LCD

projectors or even desk top computers in their classrooms. The issues may be a result of teachers being surplussed from closed schools to receiving schools that are not fully prepared for the new teachers and students. Please email us if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these or other similar issues.

 

Common Core State Standards

SCTA has been working with the district on the implementation of the new common core state standards (CCSS).  As a result of this collaborative work we have agreed to allow anyone who attended the three (3) hours of CCSS training that took place in August to count that time towards common planning time (CPT) for the 2013-14 school year.  This means that you could get up to nine (9) hours of CPT before the start of school.   Three (3) from the August training and up to six (6) more before school starts as long as those hours meet the CPT guidelines.  In previous years you could only get credit for up to six (6) hours of CPT prior to the start of the school year.

We have also been working with the district to restore one (1) furlough day for this school year.  This would restore one (1) of the two (2) days we gave back as concession in the last round of bargaining for the 2013-14 school year.  This time (six (6) hours) would allow for additional work with your colleagues on the implementation of CCSS in the 2013-14 school year.  We believe that our members are going to need time to absorb the changes associated with CCSS.  Our goal is to give you as much time at full pay as possible to assist with this work.  We hope to have more info to you on this effort as soon as possible.

Save the Date

September 27th SCTA will be co-hosting an evening with Diane Ravitch at the Memorial Auditorium from 6:30-8:30. Diane is the author of the best seller; The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How testing and choice Are Undermining Education. Her latest book is titled; Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. Tickets are only $5 and will be available at SCTA by the first week of school.  Please invite your colleagues, parents and community members to hear her message.

Labor Day Picnic

Please join us for the annual Labor Day Picnic Monday, September 2nd from 3:30 to 7:30 atWilliamLandPark. (Corner ofSutterville Road andFreeport Blvd.) Enjoy live music and free food for all union members and their families.

Site Representative Elections

It is very important that all sites have representation by the first rep council at SCTA September 12th. There are many pressing issues and important decisions to make and we need all sites represented to help guide us.  Each elementary school should elect one member to represent them and each high school and middle school should elect one representative for every 25 members. It’s recommended to elect an alternate rep in case the elected rep is not able to attend one of the meetings. Please see some of the many roles and responsibilities of a Site rep:

 

ROLES OF A SITE REPRESENTATIVE

 

 

*             Serves on the governance body or representative council.

*             Represents the views of those within the faculty or unit from which he/she is elected.

*             Represents the governance body (Rep Council) to the faculty.

*             Serves as a membership promoter.

*             Serves as a communicator between faculty members and SCTA.

*             Serves as an organizer among the faculty or unit he/she represents.

*             Serves as representative for teachers who are asked to meet with their administrator and the member believes it will result in disciplinary action.

*             Refers members, who have received notice of a complaint that involves possible criminal action, to the President or CTA      Representative.

 

 

 

News Messenger 8/14/2013

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CORE Waiver

As you may know, the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has approved the NCLB waiver request made by our district in conjunction with seven other California school district superintendents.  The story of each of these districts appears to be consistent in that the waiver was sought by the private consultant firm CORE, which stands for California Office to Reform Education, with little to no input from the various teachers’ associations.  While we all agree the NCLB needs to be reformed to meet the needs of our students, this particular waiver raises numerous concerns that teachers’ associations and other concerned stakeholder groups have been voicing from the beginning.

Like many, I am sure you are wondering what this means to you in your classrooms.  A lot of those details are still to be determined.  One of our biggest concerns is the portion of the waiver that attempts to tie some part of teachers’ evaluations to test scores.  This could be a part of our negotiations with SCUSD this year; however, our position is that our student’s achievements are more than a sum of their test scores. We know that a teacher’s performance cannot be accurately measured by a single test.  As our superintendent said in the August 9th edition of the Bee, “these tests in many ways are not good indicators of students and learning.” Linking performance evaluation to test scores is bad for students and bad for Education.  Therefore, we will oppose this measure to the fullest extent possible.

The fact that this waiver grants our district increased flexibility on how Title 1 funds are expended is also an area of significant concern.  So-called flexibility in spending has been a source of recent trouble at SCUSD.  It has resulted in hiring consultants (beyond the mandates of NCLB) while laying off teachers. When teachers gave the District $95 from each paycheck to keep lower class sizes, the District spent it somewhere else.  The EdJobs (federal stimulus) money, earmarked for teachers, was inappropriately spent, and only returned to the teachers when the district lost an arbitration brought by SCTA.

Ours is a district who needs reining in, not more fiscal “flexibility.”

This will be among the most significant issues we face this coming year.  Your union is asking that you first educate yourself about the Core Waiver.

Governor Brown letter June 26 2013 Final

CTA CORE waiver statement Final 8 6 13

Education Week Teacher Blogs

News Messenger

Volume 17, Issue 14

July 17, 2013
Save the Date for the Labor Day Working Families Picnic

The Sacramento Central Labor Council AFL-CIO will hold it traditional Labor Day event on September 2nd, 2013, from 3:30PM to 7:30PM at William Land Park in the Village Green. Please join SCTA and other local unions for a fun day in the park building common understanding and solidarity among all union members in the Sacramento Region. There will be food, drinks and entertainment free of charge for all union members and their families. Hope to see you there!

ESEA Reauthorization Bill, the Student Success Act (HR5)

 

This week the United States House of Representatives is likely to take up its version of an ESEA Reauthorization Bill, the Student Success Act (HR5). NEA opposed the bill in committee, and CTA shares concerns about several troubling aspects of the proposed legislation. HR5 would erode the role of the federal government in targeting resources to marginalized student populations as a means of ensuring equity for all students. The bill also erodes collective bargaining protections around teacher evaluation, and continues the reliance on high stakes testing that is undermining teaching and learning.

NEA is now working to stop amendments that would add private school vouchers to the bill, restore bargaining rights and reverse the focus on high stakes tests. Amendments will take place over the next few days but in its current form the bill is unacceptable.

Congress needs to hear from educators now!

Here’s what you can do:

Please contact your Member of Congress at 1-866-420-3592 and tell them:

· ESEA needs to adhere to its original purpose of ensuring equity for all students.

· It must recognize educators’ role in student success, which means stopping the push for high stakes testing and including the voice of teachers in their profession through collective bargaining.

· Lawmakers should oppose any effort to divert public education funding to private school vouchers.

We may be contacting you later in the week for additional action on specific amendments. This is a great opportunity for us to be heard and weigh in on legislation that will impact all of us and our students for years to come.