In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bumper crop of new laws that will benefit classified staff across the state.
“We did well this year,” said CCE President Carl Williams, “but it also shows how much more we can accomplish if we lobby harder and smarter.”
On Thursday, October 3, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1505, a historic charter school reform bill that is essential to ensuring charter schools are accountable to local communities and all California students. The new law follows months of incredible organizing and weeks of intense negotiations, during which CFT leaders, members, and staff have stood with fellow educators, school workers, parents, and students to push for reform.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond released the much-anticipated Charter Task Force Report on June 7, ahead of the July 1 deadline.
The report’s central focus is twofold: the fiscal impact that charter schools have on traditional public schools and the inconsistencies in how charter schools are authorized throughout the state. Recommendations were made to alleviate concerns in these areas and provide specific ways to address fiscal impact and authorization challenges.
Urge your Assembly & Senate representatives to support AB 1505, 1506 and 1507!
On April 10, over 80 CFT members took part in a successful Legislative Day of Action in Sacramento. Educators and classified professionals from throughout the state gathered at the capitol to push for more accountability for charter schools and full funding for public education. And despite aggressive tactics by charter backers, we were successful in moving several important bills through the Assembly Education Committee.
On February 25, CFT joined fellow educator and school worker unions, the NAACP, and several concerned state lawmakers to announce proposed legislation that would fix the laws governing charter schools in California. The legislation, Assembly Bills 1505, 1506, 1507, and 1508, would ensure charter schools were accountable to local communities and neighborhood schools.
Eight days after the six-day strike had ramped up public pressure, the Los Angeles Unified school board passed a groundbreaking resolution calling for a moratorium on new charters in the district until Sacramento completes a study of how their unchecked expansion has affected traditional schools. The district also made a significant investment in local community schools.
Gemma Abels, the president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, saw how for-profit charter schools hurt the children and families in her district in Santa Clara County. A school there, Flex Academy, operated by the largest for-profit charter company – K12 Inc. – closed just a few weeks before school started, leaving families scrambling to find places for their children.
By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President
I recently attended a forum with Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas organized by the NAACP to examine charter schools. America’s oldest civil rights organization is hosting a series of events around the country to get feedback on a proposed national policy calling for a moratorium on new charter schools.
The latest flashpoint in the big-money expansion by charter school chains in Silicon Valley is Morgan Hill, a bedroom community with rural roots just south of San Jose.
Within the last year both Rocketship Education and Navigator Schools petitioned to open charter schools in the Morgan Hill Unified School District. Following swift mobilization and communication by the union and community groups, the school board denied both applications.
Next week, the Santa Clara County Board of Education will hear testimony on whether to increase the number of charter schools in the Morgan Hill Unified School District, just south of San Jose, based on a proposal from two charter corporations. The district board has already turned down the idea, and the corporations appealed to the county board.
Seeking a larger voice in their workplaces, career stability and the power to better serve their students, teachers and counselors at three charter schools recently voted AFT as their union, and will have the benefit of belonging to well-established and effective AFT local unions.
In 1988, the late Albert Shanker, then president of the AFT, introduced the notion of charter schools to the American public in a Press Cub speech in Washington, DC. Charter schools have received support across the political spectrum.
Conservatives supported charter schools for a variety of reasons; they believed that: