In the News Archive: May 2015


In San Diego Unified, pension tsunami is nearing shore
U-T San Diego | May 28, 2015
Stories about budget problems at local school districts have been a staple in California since the revenue crisis hit Sacramento in 2008. This eased somewhat after voters approved Proposition 30 in 2012, imposing temporary income tax and sales tax hikes to boost school funding. Now we’re hearing more good news about state education funding soaring in fiscal 2015-16 because of revenue running sharply higher than expected, thanks primarily to Silicon Valley’s latest boom.

State taxes may go down – and up
The OC Register | May 24, 2015
Is there a tax cut in your future? Could be. A consensus is forming that, barring a big recession, the $7 billion yearly Proposition 30 state tax increase voters passed in 2012 will be allowed to expire at the end of 2018. 

Editorial: No reason to make the temporary tax a permanent one
Chico Enterprise-Record | May 23, 2015
If you believe Gov. Jerry Brown’s words and his budget team’s projections, something miraculous
could happen in California next year. A temporary tax could actually prove to be temporary. 

Free College?
On Point | May 21, 2015
Another college academic year down, another huge whack of college debt for young Americans. $1.2 trillion in college debt now in this country. Absolutely massive. The only kind of consumer debt not headed downward since the recession. In fact, student loans are up 84 percent. Critics says it’s a yoke on the necks of a whole generation and more. Now there’s a call – and legislation on the table – to make public higher education, college tuition, free. Not cheaper, but free. Like Germany and Finland and more. Would that be wise? Crazy? Up next, On Point: College for free. 

CalSTRS finally allowed to cash out of controversial gun investment

Fox 40 | May 18, 2015
After two-and-a-half years of pressure from its members, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is about to do something it’s been trying to do since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

Anti-union groups target California teachers
People’s World | May 18, 2015
Pro-corporate education anti-union groups have taken aim at California teachers unions with two separate lawsuits - one of which would strip away the right for unions to collect "fair pay" or "agency fees" from non-members; and another which argues the right of workers to be represented by the union, and to vote in union elections, but to not have to join the union or pay agency fees. 

Brown believes state’s revenue will be healthy without Prop. 30 taxes
LA Daily News | May 17, 2015
When Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his revised state budget late last week, the news that California is swimming in black ink rightfully stole the show.

CalSTRS, others can cash out of gun investment
Sacramento Bee | May 15, 2015
A month after protesters demanded that CalSTRS dump its investment in a firearms manufacturer tied to the mass shooting at a Connecticut school, it appears they will get their wish. 

Education groups generally like Brown’s revised budget plan
KPCC | May 15, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal increasing funding by billions for education from a record $115.3 billion budget plan for the next fiscal year drew mostly applause after it was unveiled on Thursday. 

Governor Brown proposes record $115.3 billion budget
KPCC | May 14, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday proposed a record $115.3 billion California spending plan that will send more money to public schools, freeze in-state undergraduate tuition and establish a new state tax credit for the working poor.

Revised estimate for K-12 spending: $6 billion more next year
EdSource | May 14, 2015
Spending for K-12 schools in the coming year will be $6 billion more than Gov. Jerry Brown proposed just five months ago, raising per-student spending $3,000 – 45 percent – from what it was four years ago, according to the revised state budget that the governor released on Thursday.

Billions in extra education funds brings praise from around state
LA School Report | May 14, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget, which directs billions more toward schools over the next few years, has brought smiles to the faces of educational leaders around the state. 

Rapid response: Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget
Sacramento Bee | May 14, 2015
“The Assembly has made clear our budget priorities include reducing poverty, restoring funding for schools and early childhood education, improving higher education funding, building reserves and paying down debt, and providing a down payment for transportation infrastructure. The Governor’s May Budget revision makes significant progress in these areas, and we look forward to working with the Senate and the Governor in the coming weeks to find ways to improve the budget and make vital investments for California’s future.”

K-12 funding increase more than $3,000 per student over 2011-12 levels
San Jose Mercury News | May 14, 2015
As expected, Gov. Jerry Brown's revised state budget includes lots of good news for schools. It increases K-12 spending $6.1 billion above what was projected in January, based largely on higher-than-anticipated state revenues, boosting per student spending by $3,000 over 2011-12 levels, and rising 45 percent over four years. 

Unions target Prop. 13 again
OC Register | May 13, 2015
Public employee unions are leading a charge to take on what has long been considered a “third rail” of California politics: Proposition 13. The Make It Fair coalition, led by public unions such as the Service Employees International Union, California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers, proposes increasing property taxes for commercial properties.

Déjà vu or something new? California seeks labor-management cooperation
Education Week | May 13, 2015
A quarter century ago Julia Koppich and I synthesized the experience of labor relations radicals in A Union of Professionals, case studies of districts and unions that were trying to redefine teacher labor relations by moving from industrial unionism toward what we dubbed "professional unionism." Late last week, I observed California districts and unions getting energized by some of the same possibilities.

EDITORIAL: Unions target Prop. 13 again
Press Enterprise | May 13, 2015
Public employee unions are leading a charge to take on what has long been considered a “third rail” of California politics: Proposition 13. The Make It Fair coalition, led by public unions such as the Service Employees International Union, California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers, proposes increasing property taxes for commercial properties.


Group behind Vergara case says website was hackedGroup behind Vergara case says website was hacked
LA School Report | May 11, 2015
The non-profit group behind the Vergara lawsuit, Students Matter, said its website was hacked over the weekend to display “vulgar and disgusting language.”


Teachers unions battle court ruling on tenure laws
SF Gate | May 10, 2015
The fate of nearly a century of job-security protections for California teachers is in the hands of a state appellate court, which is preparing to review a judge’s bombshell ruling that found tenure and seniority laws protect incompetent instructors, serve no educational purpose and, in particular, discriminate against poor and minority students. 

Suit against teachers unions isn't about free speech but silencing members
LA Times | May 8, 2015
Attacks on public employee unions, especially teachers unions, have become a permanent feature of the political landscape. But you'd be hard pressed to find one as incoherent and dishonest as a lawsuit filed last month in federal court in Los Angeles against six California and national teachers unions. 

Teachers unions file appeal of Vergara decision
Heartland Institute | May 7, 2015

The California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association filed an appeal to the landmark Vergara decision on May 1. A local CBS affiliate reports the unions are challenging the ruling for lacking "legal or factual justification."

SD labor forum attracts statewide school, union leaders
U-T San Diego | May 7, 2015
Top officials from school districts and teachers unions throughout California will meet with state education leaders in San Diego this weekend for a rare, invitation-only conference that aims to promote collaboration between labor and management. 

California doesn't enlist in teacher wars; seeks labor-management partnership
Education Week | May 7, 2015
California is taking an exceptional labor relations path. In Republican-dominated states, declaring outright war on teacher unions has been a political best seller, and ambitious governors, such as Wisconsin's Scott Walker, see the drubbing of teachers as a ticket to the White House. In more traditionally Democratic states, such as New York, a war of percentages over testing diverts the state from what is more important business. California chose not to enlist in the teacher wars, and it is hoping for a peace dividend. 

Teachers unions appeal Vergara
Fox & Hounds | May 7, 2015
On May Day (how fitting!) the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers filed their appeal of the Vergara decision. In that 2014 ruling, Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu struck down California’s teacher tenure, layoff and dismissal laws, claiming that they deny students access to a quality public education, especially those from poor and minority families.

Teachers' unions throw students under the bus
Economics 21 | May 7, 2015
In many cities with abysmal school systems, teacher firings are exceedingly rare, due to powerful teachers' unions. In New York City and Chicago, barely 1 in 1,000 teachers loses his job for poor performance.

Calif. legislation would require schools to negotiate evaluations
Education Week | May 6, 2015
The Democratic leadership in both the California Senate and Assembly is backing bills to restructure teacher evaluation, bring it within the scope of collective bargaining, and connect it to test scores. The debate rekindles a historic divide and raises the question of whether either teachers or school administrators are prepared for the consequences of the new law.

Commentary: Chavez's failed bill proves teachers' unions have control
Seaside Courier | May 4, 2015
Former Oceanside City Councilman Rocky Chavez is learning, the hard way, just how tough it can be as a Republican in a state dominated, and run, by Democrats. 

The Grove School, Competitive Edge Charter plan events this week
Redlands Daily Facts | May 2, 2015
The Grove School in Redlands and Competitive Edge Charter Academy in Yucaipa offer learning experiences not typically found in traditional public schools. 

State, teacher unions file briefs in tenure-ruling appeal
San Francisco Chronicle | May 1, 2015
Attorneys for the state and California's powerful teachers unions argued in a filing Friday that a landmark California teacher tenure case was flawed and should be overturned because no evidence was presented showing the disputed statutes are the cause of educational inequalities. 

State teacher unions file appeal in Vergara case, calling it ‘baseless’
LA School Report | May 1, 2015
The state’s two teachers unions — the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers — filed their appeal today in the landmark education case they lost last year, Vergara v. California.

AB 925 lets debt collectors, subprime lenders, others secretly record phone calls
Satellite PR News | May 1, 2015
A coalition of California consumer, privacy, senior, student, labor and immigrant advocates urge the defeat of Assembly Bill 925 (Evan Low, D-Campbell), which would eliminate a longstanding prohibition against secret recordings of consumer cell phone calls by subprime lenders, debt collectors, student loan companies, hotels, health care providers, retailers and other businesses. Key backers of AB 925 include AT&T, Verizon and high-tech corporate lobbyists.

Democrats kill Republican bills on teacher tenure, firing
Sacramento Bee | April 29, 2015
A legislative committee on Wednesday rejected Republican education bills that would have overhauled teacher tenure and firing rules in response to a federal judge striking down California’s teacher employment laws.

In major anti-labor case, union-busters no longer even pretend unions don’t benefit workers
In These Times | April 29, 2015
April Bain is a high school math teacher in Los Angeles, and a dues-paying member of her union, Los Angeles Teachers United. She has benefited from this membership, and indeed claims that “everybody has a horror story of a teacher that needed their union.” She describes a personal experience of conflict with her principal in which having a union behind her made her feel safe. “You felt safe. You kind of felt like, okay, we can do what’s right here and we’ll be protected,” she has stated. 

School boards and administrators oppose teacher evaluation bills
EdSource | April 28, 2015
The Legislature’s top Democrats have made a comprehensive rewrite of the law on teacher evaluations a priority this session. But a fundamental disagreement over granting teachers the power to negotiate all aspects of evaluations, including whether to use student test scores as a factor, could doom prospects for passage, as it has in the past.

City College battle prompts bills to rein in accreditation panel
SF Gate | April 26, 2015
As state officials sift through the aftermath of the near-closure of California’s largest public college, a San Francisco lawmaker is proposing to rein in the state’s only community college accreditation commission — though it’s not clear that the state has the authority to regulate the private, nonprofit commission. 

Elementary indoctrination
City Journal | April 24, 2015
To say California’s teachers’ unions wield outsize influence over state education policy is hardly novel. From setting tenure rules to rewriting dismissal statutes and blocking pension reforms, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers roam the halls of the legislature like varsity all-stars. But less well known are the unions’ efforts to remake curriculum—and thereby influence the next generation of citizens and voters.


Union-led effort launched to change Prop 13, would make it easier to raise taxes on commercial properties, not residential properties; opposition swiftly surfaces from business interests
LB Report | May 8, 2015
A union-lead coalition of groups, calling itself "Make It Fair," has launched an effort to change Proposition 13 to make it easier to raise taxes on what it calls commercial properties -- mainly industrial, retail and office properties -- while not affecting owner-occupied homes, residential rental properties and agricultural land.

New Prop. 13 reform effort could succeed by splitting business interests
Capital & Main | May 7, 2015
A broad-based coalition today launched an effort to reform Proposition 13, the 1978 law passed by voters that many critics believe imposed a fiscal stranglehold on the Golden State.

Union-led coalition launches campaign to change Proposition 13
Sacramento Bee | May 7, 2015
A coalition of public employee unions and other liberal groups, including many churches, launched a campaign Thursday to alter Proposition 13, California’s iconic property tax limit, and raise billions of dollars by hiking taxes on commercial property.

Opinion: Finally, war on Prop. 13 breaks out
Sacramento Bee | May 7, 2015
A political war over taxes that’s been brewing for nearly four decades finally erupted Thursday – maybe. A union-led coalition of liberal groups launched a campaign to change Proposition 13, the iconic 1978 property tax limit, seeking billions more in revenue from commercial and industrial property owners.

The beginning of the end of for-profit colleges
ThinkProgress | May 7, 2015
Education Management Corporation or EDMC, announced it will gradually shut down 15 of 52 campuses of The Art Institutes, leaving 5,400 students without a college.

VUSD leaders heap praise on Dean Vogel, president of CTA
The Reporter | May, 7, 2015
President of the Vacaville Teachers Association, Moira McSweeney suggested a newspaper headline about Dean Vogel could read “local boy does good.”

After Corinthian, two more for-profit college chains announce closings
Fortune | May 7, 2015
For the for-profit college industry, the knocks just keep coming. Corinthian Colleges, once one of the nation’s largest for-profit chains, grabbed headlines late last month when it announced it would close its remaining 28 campuses, displacing roughly 16,000 students. The announcement came less than two weeks after the Department of Education announced a $30 million fine against the institution for misrepresenting student job placement data.

Schools ‘big winners’ from surging state revenues
EdSource | May 7, 2015
As Gov. Jerry Brown prepares to release his revised state budget for the coming fiscal year next week, educators around the state are looking forward to hearing about the additional funds they will receive, a dramatic departure from the bleak years of the recession, when they braced themselves for further cuts.

Students occupy CCSF administration building for several hours
SF Gate | May 6, 2015
About 200 students occupied the administration building at City College of San Francisco for several hours on Wednesday, demanding that program cuts be reversed and that the special trustee running the school be removed.

CCSF students occupy administration building, demand special trustee’s resignation
San Francisco Appeal | May 6, 2015
A group of City College of San Francisco students occupied an administration building this afternoon and said they intended to stay until their demands are met or they are forced out, a student organizer said.

Congresswoman Speier urges federal oversight of for-profit colleges in wake of Corinthian closures
San Francisco Appeal | May 6, 2015
Congresswoman Jackie Speier met with Bay Area college administrators this morning to discuss the lack of federal oversight that led up to the abrupt closure of for-profit college franchise Corinthian Colleges Inc. and its 28 campuses, including Heald College in San Francisco, last week.

Loopholes in Prop. 13 let corporations off the hook
Sacramento Bee | May 6, 2015
Californians having been living with scarcity for so long that it’s become natural for us to assume that our teachers will scrape together whatever they can for our classrooms, that libraries will be open only a couple of hours a day, that our communities won’t have what they need. We shrug our shoulders and accept that it’s OK for thousands of our roads and bridges to be structurally deficient, for our kids to have no place to go after school, for emergency response times to stretch longer and longer.

Students get piece of the action after seeking a say in budget
EdSource | May 5, 2015
Last fall, high school sophomores Stephanie Perez and Ismael Mauricio joined a contingent of students at a State Board of Education meeting demanding that students get a say in how school districts spend money.

Opt-out parents have a point
US News & World Report | May 5, 2015
A new phrase has rapidly become familiar in schooling: "opt-out." Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of students are refusing to take state reading and math tests, usually at the behest of their parents. In New York, 200,000 students have opted out of this spring’s state tests. Some New York districts have had more than half of their students refuse to take the tests. Polling suggests that half of all New York voters say they support the families that have opted out of the tests. Meanwhile, more localized opt-out pushes are bubbling up in states including New Jersey, Colorado and California.

For-profit Corinthian Colleges files for bankruptcy
Washington Post | May 4, 2015
Corinthian Colleges, once one of the country’s largest career college chains, on Monday filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a week after shutting down its remaining 28 campuses.

Updated: State board again to pursue waiver from No Child Left Behind
EdSource | May 4, 2015
The State Board of Education isn’t giving up on the hope that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan might grant California at least a partial waiver from the No Child Left Behind law that he has given to 43 other states.

Corinthian Colleges is out of money and drowning in debt
CNN | May 4, 2015
Twenty years after opening its doors, Corinthian Colleges has officially gone bust. The for-profit education company filed for Chapter 11 protection Monday.

Corinthian Colleges files bankruptcy to facilitate wind-down
Reuters | May 4, 2015
Corinthian Colleges Inc, the for-profit college operator hamstrung by federal and state investigations, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware on Monday, about a week after announcing it would shutter its remaining campuses and cease operations.

Why the movement to opt out of Common Core tests is a big deal
Washington Post | May 3, 2015
The movement among parents to refuse to allow their children to take Common Core-aligned standardized tests has been growing in a number of states, as recent Answer Sheet posts have chronicled (here and here, for example). As opt-out numbers have grown, so too has reaction from officials who argue that frequent testing is valuable and that school districts could lose federal funds if too many students refuse to take the test (a threat that appears to be based on shaky ground.) Though testing supporters have attempted to minimize the importance and impact of the opt-out movement, it is having a big impact, as explained in the following post by award-winning New York Principal Carol Burris.

"You're gonna rape me?" demands a Democrat whose teacher tenure law got killed
LA Weekly | May 1, 2015
It was a busy week in Sacramento, city of trees, where state legislators were frantically jamming their bills through committees to make a May 1 deadline by which all proposed laws must sent to various fiscal committees to live another day.

State panel blocks teacher evaluation, tenure bills
U-T San Diego | April 30, 2015
An Assembly committee on Wednesday shelved a handful of bills aimed at overhauling teacher tenure, evaluation and firing policies, including a measure by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego.

Californians embrace Common Core
San Francisco Chronicle | April 30, 2015
If you’ve tuned in to some of the national chatter aroud Common Core, you might assume that updating our education standards to meet the needs of today’s students is controversial. It’s true that in many states it’s been a lightning rod for conflict and political posturing, even with Common Core’s clear benefits to students and strong support from education, business and community leaders.

Popular LA preschool language program is targeted once again
EdSource | April 30, 2015
A popular and well-regarded preschool program in Los Angeles, which was created more than three decades ago to help children and their parents in low-income, racially and ethnically isolated neighborhoods of the city, would be shut down over the next two years under a district proposal to cut costs.

Jury finds Cal State acted reasonably in 2009 tuition hikes
LA Times | April 30, 2015
A jury Thursday found that California State University did not act unfairly when trustees voted to impose fee increases on students twice within a few months.

What’s not on California’s education agenda – and should be
EdSource | April 29, 2015
California is in the process of implementing a range of reforms, from the Local Control Funding Formula, the Common Core State Standards and a new accountability system. What other reforms are needed to ensure that students succeed? Nonprofit education leaders speak out on what reforms they think should be added to California’s agenda. Other voices will be added as part of this ongoing series. Please let us know if you want to contribute.

Despite progress, still too few Latinos admitted to UC, report says
LA Times | April 29, 2015
Despite progress in gaining admission to the University of California, Latino students in the state still are underrepresented compared with their overall population, and are heavily concentrated at three of the system’s 10 campuses, according to a new report.

State vaccination bill passes Senate committee
EdSource | April 28, 2015
The issue of mandatory vaccinations roiled a legislative hearing in Sacramento on Tuesday for the third time this month, and for the third time, state Senate committee members approved the proposed state law that would restrict exemptions to required school vaccinations

Hundreds protest S.F. archbishop’s push on morality clauses
SF Gate | April 28, 2015
Hundreds of Catholic-school teachers and supporters gathered outside the San Francisco Archdiocese on Monday afternoon waving rainbow banners and preaching acceptance of gays and lesbians — all in protest of efforts by the archbishop to require employees to embrace church opposition to “homosexual relations,” “fornication” and other “gravely evil” sexual activities.

Project-based learning on the rise under the Common Core
EdSource | April 27, 2015
The young-adult novel “Hatchet” – about a boy who learns to live in the wild after surviving a plane crash – has been a staple of elementary-school English classes for years. But this year Sara Siebert taught it with a twist.

Education bills squelch any reform agenda
U-T San Diego | April 27, 2015
Several years ago, TV host John Stossel held up a chart in tiny print detailing the long and complex process for firing a teacher in New York City. The audience was guffawing by the time he worked his way to the bottom of the second page — at which point he revealed that there were even more pages to this maddeningly long process.

SanFran Archbishop weighs 'adjustments' to teacher contracts
National Catholic Register | April 27, 2015
On April 27, the Archdiocese of San Francisco signaled that it was prepared to make "adjustments" to advance negotiaions with the local Catholic teachers' union. The statement marked an afternoon of protests against the archdiocese.

AM Alert: Darrell Steinberg returns to Capitol to promote mental health legislation
Sacramento Bee | April 27, 2015
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, will be on the east side of the Capitol at 11 a.m. to urge passage of legislation to overhaul the accreditation process for California community colleges. Last year, a scathing state audit slammed the accrediting agency for acting inconsistently and without sufficient public disclosure, particularly in the ongoing case of City College of San Francisco, which had its accreditation revoked in July 2013. The two bills, one of which would open the accrediting agency’s closed meetings, will get their first hearing before the Assembly Higher Education Committee, 1:30 p.m. in Room 126.

San Francisco archbishop: I expected controversy, but not to this degree
Crux | April 27, 2015
Many Roman Catholics in this city named for humble St. Francis are sparring with each other on social media and in letters to the editor over one figure: Their leader in the faith, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

Common Core tests well under way
EdSource | April 27, 2015
With less than two months of instruction time left before summer vacation for most California schools, roughly half of the 3.2 million students expected to take the first online tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards have begun to do so, the California Department of Education reported Monday.

"I want education, not indoctrination": Catholic teachers and students protest archdiocese
SF Weekly | April 27, 2015
Over 100 Catholic teachers, students, and labor activists rallied outside the San Francisco Archdiocese Chancery this afternoon, in protest of what teachers at Bay Area Catholic schools are calling attacks on their rights as workers.

Time for state's leaders to tackle teacher tenure
U-T San Diego | April 25, 2015
Nearly a year ago, a state Superior Court ruled in favor of nine students who brought a suit against California for violating their constitutional right to a quality education. The testimony of the students from racially and economically diverse backgrounds who brought the case laid bare our troubled and inequitable educational system, a system that continues to allow teachers to flounder and students to fail.

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