Make Classified School Employee Week Meaningful

Schools can be amazing places. Institutions that focus on the education and nurturing of young people have a special place in our society. While the interaction of students with their teacher is obviously an essential part of the educational process, it really does take a community of people to make learning possible and schools successful.

An essential part of that community is the team of classified employees who work in and around the classroom to enhance learning and make the school environment attractive. Their work often happens in the background but without these people doing their job, teachers wouldn’t be able to teach effectively and kids wouldn’t get the education they need.

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Originally published in the Orange County Register on February 28, 2016:

Don't let gains of Prop. 30 slip away

For years now, I’ve been saying that Proposition 30 is an essential component of California’s public education system, and needs to be extended if we want to continue providing the state’s students with the infrastructure they need to succeed well into the future.

But you don’t have to just take my word for it. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recently released a report forecasting the impact a Prop. 30 extension would have on the state’s economy. As we have seen since California voters passed Prop. 30 in 2012, an extension continues to provide additional revenue benefiting millions of people by asking the wealthiest to pay a bit more in personal income tax.

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Originally Published in the Sacramento Bee:

Teacher-tenure lawsuit distracts from real issues

Last month, the state 2nd District Court of Appeal heard arguments in Vergara v. California, the lawsuit challenging the state’s teacher employment rules. The trial judge in the case erroneously concluded that five provisions of state education codes violated the constitutional rights of all students in California, particularly those who are poor and minority.

Teachers see firsthand how racism and economic disparities have a profound impact on a child’s education. Particularly during recessions when school budgets are cut, working-class kids and children of color are disproportionately hurt.

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State of the Union Speech by Joshua Pechthalt, President 

> Watch the video on YouTube.

The Grapes of Wrath written by John Steinbeck powerfully told the story of one family’s challenge to survive the devastation of the Great Depression of the 1930s. It's a story that continues to resonate eighty years later. As they begin their journey to California, the Joad family asks Reverend Casey, who in the film version is played brilliantly by the great American actor John Carradine, if he would like to join them. Carradine, with his deep voice and wide eyes responds, “I'd like to. There's something happening out there in the west and I'd like to try to learn what it is.”

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Teachers unions need dues to help students

BY JOSHUA PECHTHALT

Special to The Bee

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that asks whether all workers in public sector unions, be they members or not, have an obligation to contribute to the union’s costs to represent them in grievances and at the bargaining table.

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Eyes on the Prize

For the most part, the Democratic debates have been substantive, leaving the angry innuendo and personal attacks to the Republicans. Anyone who follows politics knows that candidates tend to be respectful until the campaign heats up. Then attacks get sharper and often personal. But this time around, we can’t afford that. There is too much at stake for Democrats to alienate their potential base so that they decide to sit out the general election.

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