In the News Archive: April 2015

CFT IN THE NEWS

Influential Catholics call for removal of San Francisco archbishop in full-page ad
National Catholic Reporter | April 16, 2015
A powerful cross-section of Catholics in the San Francisco archdiocese is asking Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, saying the archbishop has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”

Marten’s stand on school testing isn’t constructive
U-T San Diego | April 16, 2015
San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten has built up plenty of good will in her two years on the job. She’s very smart, has a vision for what she wants to accomplish and seems unfazed by the political pressures she faces running a big-city school district.

StudentsFirst sues teachers unions over dues
Capital & Main | April 15, 2015
The latest legal assault on the right of the state’s public-sector unions to collect dues was filed in Los Angeles earlier this month by StudentsFirst, the Sacramento-based, national school-privatization organization. 

Politicizing investments hurts pensioners, taxpayers
OC Register | April 15, 2015
Politicians love to spend other people’s money. This axiom is no less true when it comes to investing other people’s money. California’s pension funds have a long history of political activism – to the detriment of the employees and retirees whose benefits are paid, in large part, from pension investment returns, and the taxpayers who are forced to pick up the slack when the politically motivated investments underperform. 

CalSTRS board trustees elected to serve another four-year term
PRWeb | April 14, 2015
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) yesterday announced the election of the three member-representatives to the CalSTRS governing board. The members will each serve a four-year term, which begins January 1, 2016. 

Unions critical of poll on teachers tenure and seniority-based layoffs
LA Times | April 13, 2015
Teachers unions expressed concern Monday over the results of a poll indicating that California voters are critical of current job protections provided to instructors in public schools.

New poll challenges union stance on tenure
Education Week | April 13, 2015
California's teacher unions got yet another wake-up call over the weekend with the release of the USC/Dornsife poll by the Los Angeles Times. 

Even with charter support, LA teachers union faces uphill battle
Watchdog Arena | April 10, 2015
As California teachers unions develop strategies to reverse the trend in lagging membership, ongoing struggles bring the spotlight back to the school choice debate. With membership declining, charter organizations become stronger. To the union leadership, the competition means less support for its political activities. 

Teachers balk at paying for politics
OC Register | April 9, 2015
Bhavini Bhakta spent 10 years as an elementary school teacher, for the Monrovia Unified School District and the Arcadia Unified School District. She was laid off five times in the space of nine years, including, ironically, the year in which she won her school’s “teacher of the year” award. 

CalPERS staff: Don’t sell coal stocks
Sacramento Bee | April 8, 2015
CalPERS’ investment staff said Wednesday the big pension fund should hold onto its coal investments, despite proposed legislation by the leader of the state Senate that would pressure CalPERS and CalSTRS to unload their holdings.

Teachers sue to join union without paying for political activities
LA Times | April 8, 2015
An advocacy group has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop teachers unions in California from using member dues for political purposes unless individual instructors provide their permission.

California teachers unions face new legal challenge over dues
Washington Post | April 7, 2015
Four California teachers are suing their unions over the use of member dues for political activities, opening a new legal front against unions that are already facing a separate challenge to their ability to collect dues from all teachers. 

Another lawsuit challenges teachers unions’ dues
EdSource | April 6, 2015
A second group of California teachers has filed a lawsuit that’s a cousin to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which is challenging the right of public employees’ unions to collect mandatory dues. 

California teacher unions face new front with dues battle
Bloomberg News | April 3, 2015
California teacher unions face a new challenge from the same corporate law powerhouse that last year won a first-of-its-kind challenge to tenure rules that secure teacher's jobs. 

CA teachers protest millions of dollars in gun investments
Breitbart News | April 3, 2015
On April 2, a group of California teachers protested the fact that the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) is still invested in guns–particularly Bushmaster Firearms–more than two years after Adam Lanza’s heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary. 

CalSTRS won’t rush to sell firearms investment
Sacramento Bee | April 2, 2015
CalSTRS, facing protests from schoolteachers, ruled out a quick sale Thursday of its investment in the manufacturer of the rifle used to massacre 26 students and teachers at a Connecticut elementary school in 2012. 

California teachers demand a gun-free retirement
KCRA | April 2, 2015
The teachers held a protest Thursday at the California State Teachers Retirement System headquarters in West Sacramento. 

Teachers union presses CalSTRS to unload gun investment
Sacramento Bee | April 2, 2015
A group of California schoolteachers Thursday stepped up the pressure on CalSTRS to unload its investment in the company that made the rifle used to massacre 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school. 

CalSTRS: Teachers’ retirement board re-elects chair and vice chair
PR Web | April 2, 2015
The trustees of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) yesterday returned Harry Keiley as board chair and Sharon Hendricks as vice chair for the 2015-16 term. 

California teachers stage coordinated protests against gun investments (VIDEO)
Guns.com | April 2, 2015
A California teachers’ union staged protests in Sacramento and Los Angeles on Thursday to voice concerns over its retirement money being invested in a company that manufactures the rifle type used in the Sandy Hook school massacre. 

AM Alert: California teachers press pension fund to divest from gunmaker
Sacramento Bee | April 1, 2015
Amid a legislative push this year for California’s public pension systems to divest from coal, a new controversy is brewing over the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s investment in a gunmaker tied to the Newtown school shooting.

Sandy Hook families support California teachers' union
CT Post | April 1, 2015
The families of seven victims of the Sandy Hook massacre have written a letter to the California Federation of Teachers supporting its effort to divest its pension fund of a company that makes guns.

Teachers demand CalSTRS unload firearms investments
Sacramento Bee | April 1, 2015
When a gunman slaughtered 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school, California’s teacher pension fund responded with a forceful denunciation of gun violence and said it was rethinking its investment in the company that manufactured the firearm used in the shooting. 

State brings down the book on charters
OC Register | March 30, 2015
According to the adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” But not in Sacramento. When it comes to dealing with California’s successful, independent charter schools, powerful, monied special interests – and the lawmakers they fund – prefer a twist on the adage: If you can’t beat them, destroy them. This was manifested last week when four Democratic lawmakers trumpeted their introduction of a packet of new bills increasing state regulations over charters, including heightened public reporting requirements, restricting for-profit operations, greater transparency and promotion of employee rights.

L.A. Teachers Escalate
Labor Notes | March 30, 2015
Fifteen thousand teachers, counselors, and other members of United Teachers Los Angeles filled downtown’s Grand Park on February 26 to demand a fair contract for themselves and their students.

Mark James Miller: California Federation of Teachers convention another sign of unions’ revival
Noozhawk | March 27, 2015
More than 600 delegates, staff and guests. Fifty-four different union locals represented, from one end of California to the other.

Beyond Vergara
City Journal | March 27, 2015
Last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled that California’s archaic seniority, tenure, and dismissal statutes were unconstitutional, adding that the evidence submitted by the plaintiffs “shocks the conscience.” The state and two teachers unions, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, are appealing Treu’s decision in Vergara v. California. Should the judgment survive the appeals process, legislators would need to pass new laws to fill the void. But Republican lawmakers aren’t waiting for a decision, which won’t come down for months—or possibly years.

UTLA says money is there for teachers; LA Unified not so sure
LA School Report | Feb. 19, 2015
Fueling the impasse announced yesterday between the teachers union, UTLA, and LA Unified is a dispute over so-called “unaccounted” sources of money that the teachers union says could be used for raises and other demands. 

Judgment Day
Slate | Feb. 19, 2015
On Tuesday evening, liberal Catholics in San Francisco announced a vigil to protest new sexual-conduct rules for teachers in the city’s Catholic schools. “We stand with teachers,” they declared, “in rejecting morality clauses that impede their freedom, including the right to choose who to love and marry and how to plan a family.” 

Accreditor still has final say over fate of City College of San Francisco
Chronicle of Higher Education | Feb. 19, 2015
On paper San Francisco’s city attorney won a victory on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the accreditor that oversees City College of San Francisco. 

Judge orders accreditor to redo portion of San Francisco college review
LA Times | Feb. 18, 2015
A San Francisco Superior Court injunction released Wednesday would allow -- but not force -- City College of San Francisco to seek a somewhat narrow reconsideration of a private commission's decision to revoke its accreditation. 

City College will defend its accreditation following court injunction
The San Francisco Appeal | Feb. 18, 2015
The chancellor of City College of San Francisco said tonight that the college will take up the opportunity provided by a court injunction to seek reconsideration of a regional commission’s decision to revoke its accreditation. 

Middle ground remains elusive in San Francisco Catholic high school handbook fight
National Catholic Reporter | Feb. 17, 2015
The clash over Catholic high school faculty handbooks and teacher contracts in the San Francisco Bay Area seems to be a standoff between those who embrace Catholic teaching as settled and unchanging and those who insist it is evolving and must do so. 

This year, billionaire Eli Broad won’t pay the $1 million prize for inner city school districts
Jewish Business News | Feb. 9, 2015
Billionaire Eli Broad, 81, is refusing to pay out a $1 million prize which was promised to the best inner city school systems, arguing the schools are not improving, at least not as fast as they should, the LA Times reported. In fact, Broad is not sure it pays to support any of the traditional school systems. 

Hangovers continue from 1999-2000 pension binge
U-T San Diego | Feb. 9, 2015
Awful decisions involving public employee retirement benefits made during the Legislature’s 1999-2000 session continue to haunt California. The deluge began with the September 1999 enactment of a 50 percent retroactive increase in pensions of most state employees. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, astonishingly, told lawmakers this giveaway would have little or no long-term cost because the stock market boom would never end. 

Broad Foundation suspends $1-million prize for urban school districts
LA Times | Feb. 8, 2015
Billionaire Eli Broad has suspended a coveted, $1-million prize to honor the best urban school systems out of concern that they are failing to improve quickly enough. And, associates say, he's no longer certain that he wants to reward traditional school districts at all.

AFT president Weingarten visits town to give LA teachers a boost
LA School Report | Feb. 5, 2015
As the teachers union’s negotiations with LA Unified drag on, one of the nation’s leading voices for teachers appeared at an event last night hosted by district board member Steve Zimmer and made a strong case for union activity and solidarity.

Broad Foundation suspends public school prize, awards charter school
Breitbart News | Feb. 4, 2015
The Broad Foundation, disappointed with the lack of progress in urban school districts, has suspended its $1 million scholarship prize. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation said “sluggish academic results from the largest urban school districts in the country” caused the foundation to put the program on hold.

S.F. archbishop’s morality clauses run counter to pope’s message
San Francisco Chronicle | Feb. 4, 2015
While a forward-thinking pope is changing the image of the Catholic Church by preaching compassion in Google hangouts, his archbishop in San Francisco is going in a different direction, emphasizing sexual limitations in employee morality clauses. 

Broad suspends prize for urban school districts
LA Times | Feb. 3, 2015
The locally based Broad Foundation has suspended a widely recognized prize for top-performing urban school systems. 

Landmark court decision puts students' needs first
Reason.com | Feb. 1, 2015
"Being a kid in the California system right now is a lot like the lottery," says Julia Macias, a ninth grader who lives in California's San Fernando Valley. "You might get an amazing teacher one year and then a not so amazing teacher and you see your scores are reflected upon that." 

EDUCATION IN THE NEWS

San Francisco archbishop defends strict teacher morality code
CBS News | Feb. 20, 2015
The archbishop of San Francisco sent a letter to California lawmakers on Thursday asking them to respect his right to hire people who uphold Catholic teachings.

Common Core lessons aim to close persistent achievement gap
EdSource | Feb. 19, 2015
Michelle Rodriguez, assistant superintendent of the Santa Ana School District, is convinced that the new Common Core State Standards can help narrow California’s achievement gap. For all too many decades, that troubling disparity has been marked by lower test scores and higher dropout rates for African-American, Latino and low-income students, and students who are still learning English.

S.F. archbishop fires back at lawmaker critics
SF Gate | Feb. 19, 2015
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone fired back Thursday at state lawmakers who characterized as intolerant and possibly illegal his effort to have teachers at four Catholic high schools sign a labor contract declaring their opposition to same-sex unions, abortion and contraception.

California task force urges reform of special education funding
EdSource | Feb. 19, 2015
Federal and state funding rates for special education would be equalized across California and new special education teachers would be authorized to teach general education if draft recommendations from a task force presented on Wednesday are implemented.

Under San Francisco's new handbook language, could gay marriage lead to dismissal?
National Catholic Reporter | Feb. 19, 2015
If a teacher's same-sex marriage becomes public knowledge, will he or she be dismissed as an employee of a Catholic high school owned and operated by the San Francisco archdiocese?

‘Constitutional crisis’ declared as Los Angeles Unified lawyers defend teacher evaluation system
LA Daily News | Feb. 18, 2015
Los Angeles Unified lawyers argued this week that a “constitutional crisis” should allow them to keep a controversial new teacher evaluation system without the consent of its 35,000-member teachers union.

Archbishop on crash course with S.F., state
SF Gate | Feb. 18, 2015
San Francisco’s archbishop is trying to make its Catholic schools more Catholic, but city and state officials are poised to push back, saying any effort to discriminate against employees will be met with legal action.

Hundreds protest morality clause for teachers proposed by SF Archbishop
ABC 7 News | Feb. 18, 2015
There's backlash against San Francisco's Catholic archbishop and his controversial move to make teachers sign morality clauses critical of same-sex marriage and birth control, among other things.

Head Start programs in California rebound as funding increases
EdSource | Feb. 18, 2015
Two years ago, federally funded early learning providers in California were forced to reduce the available slots for 6,000 incoming students after a gridlocked Congress could not agree on how to reduce the deficit, triggering a round of automatic spending cuts to Head Start and other federal programs across the nation.

Tuition hike put on hold for UC summer school
LA Times | Feb. 18, 2015
Students planning to attend UC's upcoming summer school sessions got a much welcome reprieve Wednesday from tuition increases that could have been as large as 5%.

Lawmakers urge S.F. archbishop to withdraw teacher morality clauses
LA Times | Feb. 17, 2015
Eight state lawmakers on Tuesday urged San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone to withdraw the "morality clauses" he unveiled this month in a handbook for high school teachers, and to reverse his intention to redefine teachers as "ministers" in their employment contracts.

California could lose millions in funding, report states
EdSource | Feb. 15, 2015
The White House released a report that shows that school districts with large numbers of low-income students, including Los Angeles, Fresno and San Diego, stand to lose millions of dollars in federal funding under the House version of amendments to the nation’s education law.

California schools utilizing Common Core coaches
Education Dive | Feb. 13, 2015
To ease the transition to Common Core, some California districts are putting instructional coaches in classrooms to help teachers modify their lessons for the new standards.

S.F. archbishop's imposition of morality clause at schools outrages many
LA Times | Feb. 12, 2015
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone sparked a protest last summer when he ignored pleas from public officials to cancel his plans to march in Washington, D.C., against same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers skeptical of Brown’s facility funding plan
Cabinet Report | Feb. 12, 2015
Lawmakers on Wednesday expressed skepticism of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to reduce the state's role in building and maintaining schools by pushing the bulk of the financial burden onto local districts and their communities.

Jerrod Bradley: Common Core math is worth the effort
Fresno Bee | Feb. 12, 2015
California schools are actively working toward the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced assessments. This is a multiyear effort and represents an important step toward better preparing students for what comes after high school.

Teachers protest as San Francisco archbishop insists schools uphold Catholic teaching on marriage
Life Site | Feb. 11, 2015
The Catholic archbishop of San Francisco is facing resistance to his efforts to protect the students in diocesan high schools from the secular wave of society, including from some teachers, parents, and students.

S.F. schools superintendent to receive 27% pay raise
SF Gate | Feb. 11, 2015
San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza will see an extra $65,000 in his annual paycheck — a 27 percent raise granted unanimously by the school board Tuesday night.

Educators, builders oppose Brown's plan to stop state borrowing to pay for schools
Ventura County Star | Feb. 11, 2015
Lawmakers, educators and representatives of the homebuilding industry pushed back Wednesday against Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to end a long-standing state policy of issuing bonds to help pay for school construction.

Charter school enrollment surges
San Jose Mercury News | Feb. 11, 2015
Statewide enrollment in charter schools grew 7 percent this school year, so that more than one in 12 California public school students attends a charter school, according to an advocacy group's report released Wednesday.

Archbishop Cordileone is a true shepherd of Catholic schools
San Francisco Chronicle | Feb. 11, 2015
Much ado has been made about Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s efforts to ensure that Catholic schoolteachers model moral behavior. If the mission of Catholic schools is to form students both in knowledge and in faith, then he is simply doing his job to ensure that teachers have the necessary qualifications for religious education.

Autism advocacy group states vaccination link unfounded
EdSource | Feb. 10, 2015
In the midst of a nationwide measles outbreak tied to unvaccinated children and adults in California, the nation’s leading autism advocacy group has changed its position and now clearly states there is no link between vaccinations and autism.

Common Core and California’s economic success
Fox and Hounds | Feb. 9, 2015
California is on its way to becoming the world’s seventh-largest economy. Driving this growth is our world leading high technology businesses alongside our longtime strong entertainment, agriculture and energy sectors. Sustaining California’s economic growth will require a skilled workforce to meet the demands of our evolving, expanding economy. Unfortunately, there is a significant skilled workforce shortage in our state. The disconnect between workers and job readiness has challenged employers in Kern County and all of California.

Teacher directive prompts vigil at San Francisco cathedral
SF Gate | Feb. 6, 2015
About 100 people attended a vigil outside the Roman Catholic cathedral in San Francisco on Friday to protest the local archbishop's move to require teachers at four Catholic high schools to lead their public lives inside the classroom and out in accordance with church teachings on homosexuality, birth control and other hot-button issues.


New lawmakers rise instantly to run committees on children’s policies

EdSource | Feb. 5
In a sign of how much term limits are affecting the legislative process in California, freshman legislators have been appointed to chair four out of six key committees handling education and children’s issues – even though they had no prior experience as lawmakers in the state Capitol.

How not to fix No Child Left Behind
EdSource | Feb. 5
Mattilyn Gonzalez is a thriving student, who has earned straight A’s and a spot in an accelerated learning program at her middle school. Her parents, Orlando and Celine Gonzalez, trace that success back to a strong preschool program – so they were determined that their second daughter, Arianna, would get the same opportunities.

The college loan bombshell hidden in the budget
Politico | Feb. 5, 2015
In obscure data tables buried deep in its 2016 budget proposal, the Obama administration revealed this week that its student loan program had a $21.8 billion shortfall last year, apparently the largest ever recorded for any government credit program.

California lawmakers aim to limit vaccine exemptions
Education Week | Feb. 5, 2015
California lawmakers proposed legislation Wednesday that would require parents to vaccinate all school children unless a child's health is in danger, joining only two other states with such stringent restrictions.

Analysis: In California, charter school students most likely to be unvaccinated
Education Week | Feb. 5, 2015
Charter and private school students in California are much more likely to have vaccine exemptions than students enrolled in a regular district schools, according to an analysis by a researcher at the University of Maryland in College Park.

SF archdiocese requiring educators to publicly align with Catholic teaching
San Francisco Examiner | Feb. 5, 2015
The Archdiocese of San Francisco is strengthening language in its faculty contract and handbook that requires high school educators to uphold Catholic teachings in their professional and public lives.

Disney measles outbreak: State lawmakers propose ditching 'personal' vaccine exemption
KPCC | Feb. 4, 2015
With California dealing with the measles outbreak that began at the Anaheim Disney theme parks, three state lawmakers Wednesday proposed ditching the law that allows parents to not vaccinate their children based on "personal belief."

What will bachelor's degrees from community colleges be worth?
LA Times | Feb. 4, 2015
When 15 California community colleges received preliminary approval to offer four-year degrees recently, officials touted the move as a way to provide highly trained workers at a lower cost, especially for technical jobs in fields such as medicine and dentistry.

Classroom coaches critical as teachers shift to Common Core
EdSource | Feb. 4, 2015
To break down the isolation that many teachers experience in their classrooms, California schools are using instructional coaches as a key tool to help teachers adapt their instruction to implement the Common Core standards in math and English language arts.

Spotlight on Jeb Bush's K-12 group as new chief takes over
Education Week | Feb. 3, 2015
Jeb Bush's decision to turn over leadership of the prominent K-12 organization he founded to Condoleezza Rice as he mulls a White House bid could signal a new phase for the Foundation for Excellence in Education—and for a broader network of advocacy groups seeking to challenge what they view as the status quo in education.

National magazine, Reason, has a look at the Vergara case
LA School Report | Feb. 3, 2015
With the eyes of the educational world closely watching the Vergara v. California case as it awaits an appeal ruling, the libertarian-tilted publication Reason magazine is the latest national media organization to profile the issue.

API should be replaced, state committee recommends
EdSource | Feb. 3, 2015
A state advisory committee that spent more than two years trying to find a way to rejigger the Academic Performance Index is now recommending moving away from that single number in favor of a more comprehensive system allowing for a broader picture of school effectiveness.

Common Core enters arena of presidential politics
EdSource | Feb. 2, 2015
With the growing certainty that Jeb Bush will be a candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign, his support for the Common Core State Standards guarantees that the standards being implemented in 43 states will be drawn into the whirlpool of presidential politics.

Easier path from community college to Cal State, report says
LA Times | Feb. 2, 2015
The number of community college students who earned degrees that streamline entry into Cal State grew significantly last year, but too many students still are unaware of the transfer program, according to a report released Monday.

CCSF special trustee retires unexpectedly
SF Gate | Feb. 1, 2015
The state-appointed “special trustee with extraordinary powers” who replaced the elected Board of Trustees at City College of San Francisco in 2013 is abruptly retiring as the huge school appears to have escaped a closure threat, for now.

CCSF special trustee to retire; replacement to be named by end of month
San Francisco Examiner | Feb. 1, 2015
Robert Agrella, the special trustee tasked in 2013 with saving City College of San Francisco from losing its accreditation, will retire just weeks after the embattled school was given two more years to meet accrediting requirements.


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