In the News Archive: July 2014


Bringing the classroom to court: the battle for teacher protection
Roll Call | July 30, 2014
Two sets of lawsuits currently moving through the courts have the potential to upend the way teachers unions operate, first in California and potentially across the country.

Big suits
The American Lawyer | July 30, 2014
On June 10 a state trial judge in Los Angeles struck down five California statutes governing how the state's public school teachers are fired, laid off or granted tenure. The order came in a case brought by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Theodore Boutrous Jr., Theodore Olson and Marcellus McRae on behalf of nine public school children who claim that the state laws have protected thousands of "grossly ineffective" teachers across the state, thereby depriving the plaintiffs of equal access to a public education under the California Constitution

Why public education needs teachers unions
EdSource | July 17
There have been many assertions made over time about the negative effects of teachers unions on student performance. A number of states have moved legislatively to curtail the collective bargaining rights of teachers and, indeed, some states have never allowed teachers’ collective bargaining.

At AFT meet, energized resistance to attacks on education
People’s World | July 17, 2014 An energized resistance to ongoing attacks on education was on display at this year's American Federation of Teachers national convention here, July 11-14. Under the theme of "Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education," speakers and more than 3,500 delegates pledged to rebuff attacks by corporate forces on teachers, while also vowing to bring back equity in higher education for students and faculty.

Tenure is not the problem: Debunking education reform myths — and providing a real path forward
Salon | July 14, 2014
I’ve been a California public high school math teacher for eight years. I’m not the best teacher in my school or even in my department, but I get consistently positive evaluations, I have been honored by my principal with a local teacher of the year award called the Golden Bell, and I’ve been the chair of my department for three years.

Will AFT Call For Sec. Duncan's Removal?
Education Week | July 11, 2014
In her "state of the union" address, AFT President Randi Weingarten announced a new grant program to help affiliates deal with the common core, noted that the union had posted higher membership numbers, and praised a new Democratic political group to support public education and counter Democrats-in-name-only.

What's on tap for the 2014 AFT convention
Education Week | July 10, 2014
Friday kicks off the American Federation of Teachers' biennial convention, and we'll be bringing you the news from Los Angeles.

Keep state’s movie magic going strong with new bill
San Francisco Examiner | July 8, 2014
More than 100 years ago, 467 feet of silent black-and-white film became "A Daring Southern California Holdup," credited by many as the first movie made in Los Angeles and distributed for worldwide audience viewing.

Group files teacher tenure suit
Glen Falls Post Star | July 8, 2014
It didn’t take long for the California Supreme Court’s ruling on teacher tenure to have aftershocks closer to home.

For Vergara ruling on teachers, big questions loom
Education Week | July 7, 2014
In the annals of education-equity cases, the decision in Vergara v. California was nothing less than a bombshell.


Commission lays out next steps for CCSF on path to restoration
San Francisco Examiner | Aug. 1, 2014
The commission that last summer voted to revoke accreditation for City College of San Francisco will decide by January whether it will grant the college restoration status, the last administrative option for the embattled school to maintain its accreditation.

CCSF's last option to avoid closure is full of uncertainty
San Francisco Chronicle | July 30, 2014
City College of San Francisco leaders have exercised their last remaining option, short of winning a lawsuit, to keep the huge school accredited and to avoid closure, but they say the move is filled with uncertainty.

CCSF applies for accreditation 'restoration' option
Inside Higher Ed | July 30, 2014
City College of San Francisco this week applied to have its accreditation status restored, a solution that could buy the college two more years to work on fixing problems the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has identified. City College's lengthy accreditation crisis has become politicized. And many critics of the embattled commission had pushed for the college to resist the restoration option and to instead hold out to see the results of a legal challenge filed by San Francisco's city attorney. That trial is scheduled to begin October.

Q&A: Michelle Rhee on teacher tenure challenges
ideastream | July 30, 2014 
In Vergara v. California, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that the state's teacher tenure system hurts poor, minority students because they are more likely to end up with "grossly ineffective" teachers. The case focused on three areas: tenure, cumbersome dismissal policies and seniority-based layoffs. 

Campbell Brown’s anti-union group uses union slogan 
Washington Post | July 30
Campbell Brown doesn’t hide her disdain for teachers unions. She has frequently railed against them, and formed an anti-union advocacy group that filed a lawsuit in New York this week seeking to eliminate job protections for teachers in the state.

The Vergara era, part 2: a new opportunity
Huffington Post | July 29, 2014
The other day, I was in a science center when I stumbled upon a quote by John F. Kennedy that seemed to speak to this precise moment in public education: "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." While the quote was meant to make me think of climate change, I was thinking about Ron Taw, a dedicated veteran teacher, who wants to help his union lead on education equity and reform. I was also thinking about what Ron's vision for unionism and educational justice might mean for the students beyond his classroom in South Los Angeles--the students in Watts, Pacoima, Boyle Heights and my neighborhood in Highland Park.

CCSF chancellor confirms school will seek restoration status
San Francisco Examiner | July 29, 2014
City College of San Francisco has applied for restoration status, despite having "serious reservations" about the move, CCSF Chancellor Art Tyler said Monday.

Another lawsuit challenges tenure in New York
Wall Street Journal | July 28, 2014
Seven families brought together by a new advocacy group filed their anticipated suit against New York state Monday, saying that tenure and seniority protections for teachers violate students' rights to a sound basic education.

Teacher tenure lawsuits spread from California to New York
ideastream | July 28, 2014
Why are so many low-income and minority kids getting second-class educations in the U.S.?

California schools face lawsuit over physical education classes
L.A. Times | July 27, 2014
Thousands of elementary school teachers have been asked this summer to hold on to their lesson plans as 37 school districts throughout the state seek to show that they are providing students with required exercise.

EXCLUSIVE: Second lawsuit challenging teacher tenure to be filed by group of New York families
New York Daily News | July 27, 2014
Seven families will file suit Monday to end teacher tenure in the fiercest attack yet on job protections enjoyed by New York State educators.

Teacher group rallies in Washington to protest Common Core, Arne Duncan
Star Ledger | July 27, 2014
Last fall, Melissa Tomlinson took on Gov. Chris Christie and his educational policies in a heated exchange that received national attention.

AFT, NEA Agendas Converge Amid External, Internal Pressure
Education Week | July 25, 2014
What may end up being a new era for the teachers’ unions began, fittingly, with a marriage.

State looks for final decision on teacher tenure laws
KFBK | July 24, 2014
Will there be an appeal? The state is looking for a final decision on its teacher tenure laws.

Researchers find grim employment status for teachers
Cabinet Report | July 24, 2014
(District of Columbia) Much of the disproportionally high rate of teacher turnover in hard-to-staff schools serving high-poverty students can be attributed to a lack of quality induction programs for beginning teachers, according to guidance released earlier this month.

Teachers get ready for new Common Core
Manteca Bulletin | July 24, 2014
The last days in July up to the beginning of Aug. 1 are busy days for parents getting their children ready for the start of the school year. Shopping for new clothes, shoes, backpacks, papers, pencils, and pens is part of all that preparation.

To fight for public schools is to fight for democracy
Huffington Post | July 24 , 2014
Friends, when a small group of parents and educators formed the Network for Public Education in 2013, we had a singular goal: to mobilize the allies of public education against the powerful forces supporting privatization and high-stakes testing. To advance that goal, we hoped to create a force to counter the large amounts of money that were being dumped into state and local school board races to undermine public education, to demoralize teachers, and to promote an agenda of choice, testing, and sanctions.

Brown keeps mostly mum on teacher tenure ruling
Fresno Bee | July 23, 2014
In his first public comments on the controversial Vergara v. California ruling that struck down teacher tenure laws in June, Gov. Jerry Brown offered little insight into his thinking on the ruling.

Education “reform’s” new Ann Coulter: A reeling Michelle Rhee passes the lead to Campbell Brown
Salon | July 23, 2014
For years, Michelle Rhee, the former District of Columbia schools chancellor, has been upheld in the media as someone with the formula and fight required to “fix” public schools.

CCSF still in bad shape, accrediting commission says
SF Gate | July 22, 2014
City College of San Francisco remains out of compliance with eight accreditation standards, so the threat to revoke its accreditation stands, said the commission that set July 31 for the action that would shut the college down.

Accreditor won’t reconsider decision on City College of San Francisco
The Chronicle of Higher Education | July 22, 2014
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges said on Monday that it would not reconsider its 2013 decision to revoke City College of San Francisco’s accreditation, after an independent appeals panel ordered the commission to review the college’s compliance with accreditation standards.

Accrediting panel rejects City College of San Francisco's appeal
LA Times | July 22, 2014
Another evaluation, another thumbs down. So it goes for City College of San Francisco after a private commission Monday rejected an appeal to continue the school's accreditation.

Commission completes reassessment of CCSF, rules school failed to meet accrediting requirements
San Francisco Examiner | July 22, 2014
The clock is ticking on a July 31 deadline for City College of San Francisco to apply for restoration status, a recently formed policy that would give the embattled school two more years to reach full compliance with accrediting standards.

Tuning in to teachers
Huffington Post | July 20, 2014
Why would 3,500 people go to sun- and fun-filled Los Angeles and opt to spend the bulk of their time inside a cavernous convention hall? To be heard. This was the case last week at the American Federation of Teachers biennial convention, where educators spoke up forcefully and passionately about economic and social justice, education and professional issues on which they are often denied a voice.

Teachers union conventions reflect common (Core) frustrations
Labor Notes | July 18, 2014
At national conventions of the two major teacher unions this month, controversy flared over the Common Core, a standardized curriculum largely funded by the privatizers at the Gates Foundation.

Bonanza! Silicon Valley sees gold in corporate-driven school reforms
Capital & Main | July 17 , 2014
When Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu struck down the tenure rights of the state’s public school teachers last month in Vergara v. California, his decision was hailed by Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs, as “a terrific, wonderful day for California students and for the California education system.”

Vergara ruling becomes campaign issue
EdSource | July 17, 2014
State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Marshall Tuck this week launched a petition calling on his opponent, incumbent Superintendent Tom Torlakson, not to appeal a lawsuit ruling that struck down statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority. The move indicates Tuck views the decision in Vergara v. California as an election issue that can work in his favor.

The Vergara era, part 1: how we got here
Huffington Post | July 17, 2014
As a black educator -- and the proud daughter of two immigrants who always remind me that my family climbed out of poverty on the rungs of an education -- I have nightmares when I think about what schools might have looked like if the courts hadn't "butted into the business of public education." Historically, it has been the courts that have forced lawmakers and citizens to have a brutally honest conversation about race, class and equity in public education.

Due process targeted along with teachers
Canton Daily Ledger | July 17, 2014
A lot of attention is understandably being paid to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent “Harris v. Quinn” ruling, which eliminated agency-fee arrangements for Illinois’ home health care workers who benefit from union representation but don’t want to contribute to collective bargaining.

Regents name new UC San Francisco leader, approve chancellor pay raises
LA Times | July 17, 2014
The UC regents Thursday confirmed UC San Francisco's medical school dean, Sam Hawgood, as chancellor of that health sciences campus and set his new salary at $750,000, a 13.8% increase. The regents also approved 3% pay raises for other UC chancellors and some top administrators.

Legal challenge to City College of S.F. closure gets go-ahead
SF Gate | July 16, 2014
City Attorney Dennis Herrera can go ahead with his challenge to an accrediting commission's attempt to shut down City College of San Francisco after a judge rejected the commission's request Wednesday to put the lawsuit on hold.

Judge: City College of San Francisco allowed to sue ACCJC
ABC 7 | July 16, 2014
A judge ruled Wednesday morning that a lawsuit filed on behalf of beleaguered City College of San Francisco against a regional accrediting commission can continue despite the school's accreditation no longer being in imminent danger of revocation.

Judge rejects ACCJC attempt to suspend lawsuit in CCSF saga
San Francisco Examiner | July 16, 2014
The trial between The City and the commission that revoked City College of San Francisco’s accreditation will proceed as scheduled, a judge ruled this morning.

Moral Monday leader a hit at AFT convention
People’s World | July 16, 2014
Teachers gathered here this week for the convention of the American Federation of Teachers heard the iconic leader of the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina characterize them as part of a movement fighting for the very soul of the nation.

College Board president: 'We are building an iron wall of inequality'
Huffington Post | July 15, 2014
When it comes to the state of student testing in the US, College Board President and CEO David Coleman said, "We are building an iron wall of inequality today into the next century." At the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, Coleman, whose organization develops and administers standardized tests, such as the SAT, PSAT, and Advanced Placement exams, is also the architect of the hotly debated Common Core.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti rallies teachers at convention
LA Times | July 12, 2014
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti rallied thousands of teachers Saturday morning at a downtown teachers union convention, voicing his support for controversial job protections, praising their efforts and pledging his political support going forward.

Neel Kashkari shows up at teachers convention to challenge Brown
SF Gate | July 11, 2014
Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari - rebuffed so far in his efforts to debate Gov. Jerry Brown - took a more aggressive approach Friday, showing up at a convention where the governor was speaking to challenge him on teacher tenure.

Teachers union takes on Common Core
Politico | July 11, 2014
The American Federation of Teachers will open its annual convention Friday morning with a startling announcement: After years of strongly backing the Common Core, the union now plans to give its members grants to critique the academic standards — or to write replacement standards from scratch.

Teachers union to rally in L.A. against loss of job protections
LA Times | July 11, 2014
National union leaders will rally members in Los Angeles this weekend to oppose a recent court ruling that struck down key teacher job protections in the state.

Grounding Vergara in the realities of teaching in California
Education Week | July 10, 2014
The recent ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu striking down parts of California's long held teacher tenure laws has roiled California's educational landscape. Whatever the impact of the ruling, one thing is clear. Whether one supports or opposes the Vergara decision the ruling raises critical issues regarding teaching quality with which California policymakers soon must grapple in order to strengthen the state's system of teaching and learning.

From Calif. teachers, more nuanced views on tenure
Capital Public Radio | July 10 , 2014
In the weeks since a California judge overturned the state's rules governing teacher tenure, the political noise has only grown louder. Advocates on both sides of the issues have largely stuck to "give-no-ground," press-release rhetoric that risks drowning out educators in the middle.

AFT convention set in Los Angeles
Crown City News | July 10 , 2014
The American Federation of Teachers’ mid-July convention in Los Angeles will focus on fighting back and fighting forward on key domestic issues to reclaim the promise of America, including the Common Core State Standards, due process and tenure for educators, and investing public pension dollars for much-needed infrastructure projects.

Teachers’ union convention tackles pressing school issues
LA Daily News | July 10, 2014
Union delegates from across the nation are converging in downtown Los Angeles this morning to hear California’s governor and school superintendent and education experts speak at the opening day of the American Federation of Teachers convention.

At AFT convention, teachers union expected to fire up the base
LA School Report | July 9, 2014
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) kicks off its annual convention in downtown Los Angeles tomorrow bringing more 3,500 national union delegates to the home of LA Unified, the second largest school district in the country.

Activists take teacher tenure battle to more states
U.S. News | July 9, 2014
Parents, students and legislators are challenging teacher tenure laws in an increasing number of states, as the influence of a landmark decision in California begins to ripple throughout the country.

Accrediting commission slammed by state auditor
Morgan Hill Times | July 9, 2014
State auditor Elaine Howle slammed the accreditation commission responsible for the controversial shutdown of City College of San Francisco. She said the commission—on which Gavilan College President Steve Kinsella serves as vice president—lacks transparency and consistency.

City College of San Francisco board could return to power this year
San Francisco Business Times | July 8, 2014
Although Robert Agrella was reinstated for a year as special trustee to City College of San Francisco on Monday, the troubled school's board could return to power in November.

Another teachers’ union could call for Obama’s education secretary to resign
Buzzfeed Politics | July 8, 2014
The National Education Association called for Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s resignation at its convention last week, and the next largest teachers’ union might soon follow suit.

Arne Duncan dismisses union call for resignation
Politico | July 7, 2014
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has brushed off a call for his resignation from the National Education Association.

Embattled City College may keep special trustee until next summer
San Francisco Business Times | July 7, 2014
Robert Agrella could be reappointed as special trustee at troubled City College of San Francisco until next July.

Unions to appeal California decision concluding tenure hurts poor kids
Heartland | July 7, 2014
The California Teachers Association has announced plans to appeal a June 10 court decision concluding teachers union rules send the worst teachers to the neediest students.

Why many Democrats have turned against teachers unions
Washington Post | July 5, 2014
For years now it’s been clear that Democrats have splintered over the issue of corporate school reform. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been leaders of the movement to transform public schools through standardized-test-based “accountability” and the expansion of charter schools, with other Democrats arguing that these reform measures are not effective ways of closing the achievement gap and improving student performance.

Union wins $15 minimum wage for L.A. schools' service workers
U.S. News | July 9, 2014
A Los Angeles Unified School District move to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour has thrust the system into the forefront of a national movement and marks another political victory for a powerful labor group — and it's not the teachers union.


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