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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Edward Ring

The Real Reason Behind the Drive to Unionize Charter Schools

Want to know another reason California’s teachers unions are desperate to unionize charter schools? They want the leverage to force these schools to participate in CalSTRS, because CalSTRS charges all its participants the same pension contribution rates.

This is a truly amazing, grotesquely unfair, astonishing scam. It means that new schools have to pay for the every financial mistake that CalSTRS ever made, and they’ve made plenty. CalSTRS is only64 percent funded. CalSTRS is $107 billion in debt – that’s $238,000 peractive member. Better get more active members!

Even CalPERS, the largest public employee pension system in the U.S., and one that has engaged in its own share ofaccounting gimmicks, doesn’t make its financially responsible participants pay for the negligence of its financially irresponsible participants. Every… Read More

Edward Ring

Why Are Public Safety Unions Supporting Teachers Unions?

During the Los Angeles teachers strike earlier this year,an articlein the ultra-left publicationThe Nationoffered an excellent glimpse into the mentality of strikers and their supporters. The article begins by describing a scene in front of an LAUSD middle school on day three of the strike. A truck driver has arrived to make a delivery to the school, and the picket line won’t budge. Police have been called.

What happens next? According toThe Nation, “The line holds. The police don’t make good on their threats to cite or arrest teachers, and the truck and police cars drive off. One of the officers even gets on his radio before he leaves and says, ‘Don’t let them come between us. We support you!’”

It would take an expert to determine whether this conduct falls within the boundaries of normal police discretion or constitutes a minor act of civil disobedience in solidarity with the strikers, but it doesn’t take an expert to determine whose side this officer was on. “We support you.”

Police, along with the… Read More

Edward Ring

Resistance is NOT Futile

The union assault on charter schools in California has intensified, but resistance isnotfutile. Parents, students, conscientious teachers, lawmakers and concerned citizens are stepping up. There are many ways to fight for charter schools, which represent one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal performance by California’s K-12 system of public education.

In anApril 2019 reportin the respected websiteCalMattersentitled “Charter-mageddon: Lawmakers advance a raft of union-backed charter school curbs,” the ongoing battle between charter school advocates and their foes is updated as follows: “While the two sides have battled for decades—typically to a draw—the political momentum has shifted in favor of organized labor this session.”

This is an understatement. On April 4th, three charter-killer bills cleared the State Assembly’s Education Committee, and all of them have a good chance of moving on to the Governor’s desk, where Gavin Newsom is considered far more likely to sign them than former Gov. Brown would… Read More

Edward Ring

California’s New, Big, Nonpartisan Political Tent

“In politics, a big tent or catch-all party is a political party seeking to attract people with diverse viewpoints and thus appeal to more of the electorate. The big tent approach is opposed to single-issue litmus tests and ideological rigidity, conversely advocating multiple ideologies and views within a party.” – Wikipedia, “Big Tent

Something is happening in California. An unstoppable movement for reform is building, attracting support from conscientious Californians regardless of their age, income, race, gender or political ideology. The metaphor of a “big tent” aptly describes the approach that reform leaders are finally embracing.

The fabric of this big tent is supported by two poles, one representing restoring quality education, the other representing restoring financial health to California’s public institutions. But the big tent metaphor breaks down somewhat if it describes a political party. Because most of California’s reform leaders no longer care who gets it done, or what political party takes credit. They just want to Californian children to… Read More

Edward Ring

The Looming Bipartisan Backlash Against Unionized Government

Whenever discussing politically viable policy proposals to improve the quality of life in California, the imperative is to come up with ideas that strongly appeal to moderate centrists, since that is how most Californians would describe themselves. And there are two compelling issues that offer that appeal: making California’s system of K-12 education the best in the world, and restoring financial sustainability to California’s state and local governments.

While these two objectives have broad conceptual appeal, there is a clear choice between two very different sets of policies that claim to accomplish them. The first choice, promoted by public sector unions, is to spend more money. And to do that, their solution is to raise taxes, especially on corporations and wealthy individuals. The problem with that option, of course, is that California already has the highest taxes and most inhospitable business climate in the U.S.

The alternative to throwing more money at California’s troubled system of K-12 education and financially precarious cities and counties is to enact fundamental reforms. And these reforms, despite the fact that each of them arouses… Read More

Katy Grimes

Fear and loathing of charter schools

I received an distressed phone call yesterday from a reader about a starling accusation of school cheating.

This reader, whose children attend the Oxford Preparatory Academy, which runs charter schools in Mission Viejo and Chino, CA, said that after months of diligent, time-consuming preparation for the mandatory May Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR exams testing), and months of teachers putting in 12-hour days, the Oxford charter school students reached an outstanding score of 997 out of 1000 possible points on the Academic Performance Index.

What should be good news has turned to controversy, because someone on the Capistrano Unified School district School Board has now accused the charter school of cheating.

The parent said that she and other parents are flabbergasted, especially after having worked along side the children and teachers, and said that the cheating accusation is likely motivated by the local teachers union.

No stranger to controversy

Capistrano Unified School District’s Superintendent Joe Farley informed charter school officials that the school’s charter could be revoked in the face of… Read More