Topic: Education Issues

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Charter school reform within reach 

Update: AB 1505 has been passed overwhelmingly by the California Assembly (27-11) and the California Senate (56-16). AB 1507 passed the Assembly with a 42-15 and the Senate floor with a 25-12-3 vote. Both bills move to the governor’s desk!

Article Charter schools

State Charter School Task Force makes recommendations
Superintendent of Pubic Instruction releases much-anticipated report

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.

Article Privatization

Spotlight on transportation services
Jobs returned when contracting out fails, drivers get more training

A recent video that went viral on social media showed a bus driver being attacked by angry parents in St. Louis. Bernard Benson knows how parents can lose their tempers. He has been driving school buses in the San Joaquin Valley for six years.

“A detour makes a driver late and parents get mad because of the delay. It happens all the time. It goes with the territory,” he said, adding, “Most of the time we’re looked at like the good guys because we get kids to and from school.”

Delegates reaffirm support for part-time faculty participation in shared governance

While the issues of pay inequity, the lack of job security, and access to health benefits are major challenges that plague part-time faculty —collegiality, inclusion, and connection with their campuses and fellow faculty are also important for a part-time faculty member’s long-term involvement with a particular institution.

Key to increasing adjunct involvement and connection in the California community colleges is increasing both the opportunities for and compensation of part-time faculty participation in shared governance.

Tri-National Conference: Top-down educational reforms endanger public schools

By Sarah Ringler, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, Retiree Chapter 

 Evidence shows that teachers are stressed. A 2017 survey in British Columbia found that two-thirds of teachers felt “stressed and emotionally exhausted all, or most of the time. In the United Kingdom, 86 percent of teachers reported increased workplace stress. In the United States, 40 percent of teachers quit teaching within five years, leaving schools with inexperienced teachers who often are assigned to teach the most challenging and vulnerable students.

Article

Students need more mental health support on campus, faculty too

By Mia L. McIver, President UC-AFT

In a recent survey of UC-AFT faculty, members highlighted mental health as an issue that deserves our union’s attention and energy. UC students experiencing psychological challenges often seek support from lecturers and other contract faculty, who are sometimes the only faculty with whom they can develop a one-to-one relationship.

Article Part-time faculty

Letters to the Editor

The real effort should be pay equity at the state level

I have taught part-time music at Cabrillo College for 31 years at the maximum number of units. I am a bit dismayed about the 80 percent cap (Convention votes to raise part-time workload cap to 80 percent, Spring 2018) because that means that the colleges can now cover more classes with underpaid part-timers.

This means fewer full-time jobs, which will make everything (committee work, student contact hours outside of the classroom, etc.) more difficult for the teaching staffs. I understand that the extra work is a godsend for many part-timers but the real effort should be pay equity at the state level, not the local level.

Article Part-time faculty Rank & Files

Freeway Flyers: Local action & quick news
Yuba adjunct wins President’s Award, Fresno adjunct wins Hayward Award

This spring, Neelam Canto-Lugo, an adjunct professor of communications at Yuba College in Marysville, and member of the Yuba College Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 4952, was awarded the gold-level President’s Volunteer Service Award for her work in poorer communities of Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Nepal, among other countries.

Article Part-time faculty Resolutions AFT Pay Equity

AFT resolution supports $7,000 per three-credit course for adjuncts

One of the more talked about resolutions passed by the biennial AFT Convention this July was Resolution 15, which calls for AFT to support City University of New York adjuncts in their quest to achieve through “actions, demonstrations, and advocacy,” a minimum of $7,000 per three-credit class.

The resolution, which passed with resounding support and no opposition, also supports this minimum in “all other AFT locals’ campaigns for fair adjunct pay.”

Article Charter schools

CFT scores major legislative victory by prohibiting for-profit charter schools in California

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.

Article Privatization Vouchers

School Choice: A Tale of Two Countries
Norway and Sweden take divergent paths

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT Secretary Treasurer

In October I accompanied AFT President Randi Weingarten and several fellow AFT union leaders on a fact-finding trip to Sweden and Norway. The purpose of the trip was to examine firsthand the approaches taken by the countries to inform our own approach to public education.

At first glance, Sweden and Norway seem nearly identical. Both countries have low levels of income inequality. They fund their schools well and it shows. They both have high rates of union membership and participation. And they both have a relatively high rate of electoral participation.