The California Alliance for Community Schools
For the last year, UTR leadership has been meeting with leaders from 7 of the largest unions in California to discuss current issues in education and how we as a collective may challenge policies that hurt our public schools. This coalition grew to including parents, community, and students to form our platform. As of last week the coalition now called “The California Alliance for Community Schools” was announced nationally in various news outlets.
As educators in large urban school districts across California, we face many of the same challenges. We are particularly concerned about disinvestment in schools and communities, especially those with the greatest needs; educational policies that discourage authentic teaching and learning; and the rapid expansion of privately managed and unregulated charter schools at the expense of our neighborhood schools. We are committed to reversing these trends by fighting for well-resourced, community centered, publicly funded and democratically run schools and by opposing the DeVos/Trump privatization agenda.
Together, we are fighting for well-resourced, community centered, publicly funded and democratically run schools that prepare our students with the intellectual, social, and emotional skills necessary for success in a changing and often turbulent world.
The platform for the schools all our students deserve which the coalition and local unions will be demanding from our legislators are:
1. Low Class Sizes
2. Adequate Resources for all Schools with Additional Resources for our High Needs Schools and Students
3. Shared Decision-Making at Our Local Schools
4. Charter Schools Accountable to Our Communities
5. Safe and Supportive School Environments
In the next few months UTR will be joining Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, San Bernardino, and Anaheim in organizing state wide to put pressure to our state to change policies, prioritize the budget for education, and pay attention to this platform.
First step is a petition that the coalition has created in support of these items. The petition will be going to all the sites on April 10th. We ask that everyone please signs it and returns it to your REP. REPs please send through district mail, bring them to the UTR office, or turn them in at the next REP Council. Our goal is that every site will have a 85% participation rate in the petition. Please support UTR by spreading the word about the petition and the platform.
On April 19th, we will be passing out flyers to families and parents before and after school. The flyer will be inviting them to our big May 1st event as well as proving them with information on the platform and our current bargaining efforts to increase salary for our educators in WCCUSD!
May 1st! This will be our BIG event. UTR is asking the district to make May 1st a minimum day. We will be sending information to every site about doing teach ins and discussing the labor movement with your students, doing a walk out at the end of the day as a staff, and coming to our district Townhall at DeJean Middle School. We are inviting the WCCUSD School Board, Superintendent Duffy, and cabinet to join us for a rally on our platform, salary increase proposal for all educators, and basic human rights that are being attacked nationally.
There will be more efforts in the next year around the platform but for now those three dates are the most important. Please be in the look out for more information from your rep, or UTR. If you would like to be more involved in these efforts please join our organizing community or human rights committee to help.
Organizing – Eric Swabeck – firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights – Jacob Gran – email@example.com
This is an incredible opportunity to create actual change in California. There hasn’t been such a powerful grassroots coalition created by unions, parents, organizations, and students since collective bargaining when unions came together to fight for the same cause. Right now is the time for all together to stand in solidarity for the schools our students and teachers deserve.
School Board Meeting
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
Lovonya DeJean Middle School
For the agenda please click HERE.
Some of the most important items on the agenda are:
1. WCCUSD and the ed fund will celebrate this years Ed Fund Teaching Excellence award winners. The names of this year’s awardees are: Third Grade Teacher Tiffany Okubo Chieudjui at Grant Elementary School, Dance Teacher Jessy Kronenberg at El Cerrito High School, Seventh Grade English Teacher Sarah La Due at Fred T. Korematsu Middle School, and Spanish Teacher Paula Raj at De Anza High School. Congratulations to these wonderful educators!
2. There will be the first hearing for “Uplift Contra Costa Charter School” who submitted a Charter Petition for a Kindergarten through twelfth grade and a Workforce Development Youth for ages 16 through 24. Uplift Charter proposes to open in the 2017-18 academic year with approximately 250 students in Kindergarten through sixth grade, and students spanning ages 16 through 24 years of age, and gradually expanding. On full enrollment in 2025-2026, the petitioners intend to serve 750 students. UTR STRONGLY opposes this charter.
3. The WCCUSD School Board will be updated on the temporary move of Wilson Elementary School this summer. Wilson will be rebuilt during the 2017/18 school year and staff will provide updates on the plan.
4. The WCCUSD School Board will be voting on their decision about “Voices College-Bound Language Academies” who submitted a Charter Petition for a Transitional Kindergarten through eighth grade school. Voices Schools propose to open in the 2018-2023 academic year with approximately 112 students in grades TK/Kindergarten and first grade using a Dual Immersion model. On full enrollment in 2025-2026, the petitioners intend to serve 504 students.
5. Associate Superintendent for Business Services, Sherri Gamba will be presenting the District’s Second Interim Report for 2016-17. This provides an update on the budget and the districts plan. Our bargaining team will be taking a look at these documents in the next few weeks.
6. There will be a public hearing and adoption of the Joint Initial Bargaining Proposal from West Contra Costa Unified School District and West Contra Costa Administrators Association (WCCAA).
7. There will be a public hearing and adoption of the Initial Bargaining Proposal from West Contra Costa Unified School District to School Supervisors Association (SSA), IFPTE Local 21.
Assembly and Senate Bills of Support
Last week, the UTR Executive Board unanimously voted to support 4 bills that are currently in committees at the California legislation. 3 of the 4 bills have to do with charter accountability that CTA through the support of our coalition were able to revive at the capital. The 4 bills are:
You may access the letters of support HERE.
I would like to wish you a great week, only 5 days until spring break!
President, United Teachers of Richmond CTA/NEA