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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Edward Ring

The CTA Empire Strikes Back

Emperor Palpatine: There is a great disturbance in the Force. Darth Vader: I have felt it. Emperor Palpatine: We have a new enemy, the young Rebel… Darth Vader: How is that possible? Emperor Palpatine: Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You know it to be true. He could destroy us.The Force is strong with him. – Quote (edited for brevity) fromStar Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1980

There are indeed great disturbances in the force. There are indeed challenges to the imperial monopoly that, for nearly 40 years, has eroded the quality and escalated the costs for California’s system of public K-12 education. And the imperial stormtroopers who enforce their educational edicts on California’s state legislature, its thousands of public school boards, and by extension, millions of parents and children, are all part of an evil empire called the California Teachers Association, or CTA. In plain English, the teachers union.

A comprehensive summary of just how harmful… Read More

Katy Grimes

Schools Superintendent Horse Race Provides Stark Contrasts

Only ten months ago, I wrote a story about the California Schools chief who at that time announced he wanted to extend Proposition 30’s “temporary” taxes. Only one year into Proposition 30’s five-year life, Democratic State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called for an extension ofthe 2012 ballot initiative.

Set to expire in 2018, Prop. 30 was sold to voters as a temporary tax.

Today, Torlakson has many Democrats lined up with him, pushing for the tax extension, essentially lying to the public.

The 2013 Brown budget plan blamed “economic uncertainty” as the result of “global economic developments that tempered investment” and “Hurricane Sandy.”

“’We need to renew Prop. 30,’ Torlakson, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said at a coffee meeting with local PTA leaders in a Sacramento home,” theSacramento Beereported in January.

TorlaksonRead More

Katy Grimes

CA teacher tenure ploy ruled unconstitutional: students win big

A landmark ruling Tuesday by Los Angeles County Superior Court JudgeRolf M. Treu found the two-year teacher tenure rule in California, unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs in the Vergara vs. the State of California case, nine California public school children,argued they were directly harmed and deprived of a quality of education by the state statute that forces schools and districts to pink-slip good teachers, and retain ineffective teachers, because of tenure.

But most telling in Treu’s ruling was his outing of the teacher tenure rules — a practice which could only be describes as “stacking the deck.”

Treu found that new teachers,evaluated at… Read More

Edward Ring

Opt-out campaigns log incremental gains, but two court cases could change the rules

Whenever anyone suggests that public sector unions are forcing their members to make political contributions, the unions retort that the contributions are strictly voluntary. Technically speaking, this is true, but the tedious process of opting out of making political contributions is a powerful deterrent.

The California Teachers Association, for example, allow their members to become “agency fee payers,” which means they no longer belong to the CTA, do not have to make political contributions, and merely need to pay their “fair share” of the collecting bargaining expenses from which they still presumably benefit. But even if a CTA member has served written notice and been given agency fee payer status, they still will have 100% of the regular union dues withheld from their paycheck as full members; about $1,200 per year. They then have to request, in writing, between Sept. 1st and Nov. 15thevery year, that the CTA issue them a check for the portion of their dues that was used for political spending.

This amounts to a rigged system that ensures that very few CTA members bother to opt-out, and even fewer manage to consistently… Read More