Nov. 15, 2011 - Recently, some parents in Los Angeles filed a lawsuit that will undoubtedly have ramifications all over the state and perhaps elsewhere. It seems that the "Stull" evaluations we have undergone in our teaching careers have been "incomplete." According to the Stull Act (Section 44660 of the states education code), part of a teachers evaluation is required to include a student achievement component, but this has not happened anywhere in the state. To learn more go here - and here.
Aug. 15, 2010 - The Los Angeles Times ran a piece called Who is Teaching Our Kids? What they did was this--
a. The Times obtained math and English scores for the California Standards Test for the years 2003-2009 under the California Public Records Act.
b. They hired Richard Buddin, a senior economist and education researcher at the Rand Corporation to conduct an analysis of the data.
c. The scores were then converted into percentile ratings, dividing them into five equal categories from least effective to most effective.
d. The first report, including 6,000 third, fourth and fifth grade teachers, will be posted by the Times on its website later this month.
e. The Times provided teachers an opportunity to comment on their ratings. It is important to note that teacher performance is being measured using the value added technique, which rates teachers "based on their students' progress on standardized tests year after year. The difference between a student's expected growth and actual performance is the 'value' a teacher adds or subtracts during the year."
June 15, 2010 - We recently polled our members about an interesting turn of events in Texas. The question we posed was -
On May 14, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott delivered an opinion which stated that school districts may not fund political action committees of teacher unions via payroll deductions. That means if a teacher in TX wants to help fund their unions' political causes, he or she will have to write a check to the Texas State Teachers Association. A similar decision in Utah left the teachers' union there with a 90% cut in its political monies.
As most of you know, in California, about 30% of your yearly union dues or about $300 goes for political purposes. Would you like to see a TX or UT situation here in CA or do you think the current set up should remain as is?
We would love to know your thoughts on this. Please let us know what you think. Thanks.
As you will see here, those of you who responded were overwhelmingly in favor of the new ruling in Texas.
February 1, 2010 - On March 16, CTEN President Larry Sand will be in New York as part of a debate team arguing against the motion, Don't Blame Teachers Unions For Our Failing Schools. His teammates will be Stanford Professor Terry Moe and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. The opposition will include Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. The debate will be televised on Bloomberg TV and carried by NPR stations across the country. To learn more about the debate, go here.
November 16, 2009 - Pending signatures, there will be an initiative on the ballot in November 2010, which if passed, could have a positive effect on your wallet. To learn more about the initiative, please go here. To read the actual initiative, go here.
September 17, 2009 - The Koret Foundation has donated $50,000 to CTEN supporters to bring learning resources to your classroom. Every teacher who has signed up with us by September 16, 2009 and one lucky like-minded colleague recommended by that teacher, will each receive a $50 giving card from DonorsChoose.org which can go toward school supplies, projects, etc.
February 18, 2009 - Several months ago, the CTA created quite a stir by giving the No on Prop. 8 campaign a $1,000,000 gift on top of a previous $250,000 gift and were chastised by many for doing so. It seemed that many people awoke to the fact the teachers' unions spend much of their members' dues on causes unrelated to education. Apparently, CTA is unchastened, as in mid-January they filed an amicus brief in which they hope to undo the vote of the people who voted in November to maintain the traditional definition of marriage. Additionally, Robert Benincasa just wrote a very interesting article for NPR in which he states that teachers in CA "gave about $2 to support the marriage ban for every $1 they gave to oppose it." This of course suggests a political disconnect between the union hierarchy and rank and file teachers. Nothing new here - union watchdog Mike Antonucci wrote about this phenomenon in 2005. To read his report, please go here,
January 29, 2009 - CTEN President Larry Sand, was on news station KNX in Los Angeles, commenting on the deteriorating situation between the school district and local union. To hear two of his brief comments go here and here .
November 20, 2008 - CTEN President, Larry Sand had an editorial printed in the Los Angeles Daily News. To read it, please go here.
November 1, 2008 - In mid-October, the CTA contributed $1 million (in addition to a previous $250,000 gift) to the No-on-Prop. 8 campaign. This large donation to a cause unrelated to education became a national news item. President of the CTA, David Sanchez, apparently feeling some pressure to explain the recent extravagant union spending decided to address the issue and at the same time take a few shots at CTEN in a letter written to union chapter presidents on Oct. 24. While we certainly don't mind his criticism, we would have appreciated Mr. Sanchez being a little more truthful in his comments. To read what Mr. Sanchez said, go here. To read CTEN's response, go here.
October 20, 2008 - During the weeks of Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, CTEN ran 2 radio ads that aired in Sacramento. They both dealt with CTA's activities in the legislative arena. To hear the ads, click here or here. Please see the October 6 entry below to learn more about the legislation that CTA is involved with.
October 18, 2008-- CTEN President, Larry Sand had an editorial printed in the Los Angeles Times. To read it,
t, please go here.
October 6, 2008 – There is a new law in CA which will ensure that teachers who are convicted of sexual offenses never see the inside of a classroom again. The bill also increases from one year to five years the time period within which school districts will have access to criminal history information about teachers they are considering for employment. (Before this bill, if more than a year had passed, employing school districts needed to obtain permission from the teacher prior to having access to any adverse information.)
This legislation started out as SB 1105, which CTA opposed. To read the actual legislative analysis, which explains the need for the bill, how and why it changes the law, who supports and opposes this bill, and how the members of both the CA Assembly and Senate voted with regard to this bill, please go here.
To read a typical op-ed on the subject, please go here. To learn more about the types of legislation the CTA is involved with, go here. If you disagree with their positions, please get in touch with them here.
February 15, 2008 - Once again, CTEN has come across a document which outlines some very controversial union negotiation tactics. In this instance they are being employed by the Michigan Education Association, the NEA's affiliate in that state. However, these tactics targeting school board members are not limited to Michigan. In fact, we have received quite a few emails from people who have seen them in action here in CA. If you have any stories to share on this issue, we would appreciate your sending them along. Anonymity will be respected. To hear the actual training session or read the transcript, please go here.
February 12, 2008 - Each month CTEN puts out a monthly newsletter which is emailed to all our supporters.Those letters are now archived and can be found here.
January 4, 2008 - On or about January 20, 2008 a letter will be sent to California State University faculty members who have chosen not to join the California Faculty Association. These faculty members will be told that unless they decide to "opt out" they will be charged the "equivalent of dues." What this means very simply is that those who have opted not to join the union will be paying full union dues unless they jump through hoops to maintain their current status as agency fee payers. Please click here to read the letter recently mailed to all CFA members.
July 17, 2007 -- For some time now, we have had an article posted on our website which claims that the NEA doesn't always give the best investment advice to its teachers. Now, two NEA members have initiated legal action against the nation's largest teachers union. Read the story here.