The last few months have been very busy. In addition to the PERB hearings we have already reported on, many of us have been working hard to address problems at our school through legislative and regulatory avenues. We have also been helping advocate for our colleagues when facing poor decisions and unfair actions by CAVA administration. Some highlights:
Legislation: Visits to Sacramento to support important legislation and regulations that will help us make CAVA better for our students and our colleagues. These have included: testifying at the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools, the California State Board of Education, Assembly Education Committee, Senate Education Committee, as well as countless meetings with State Assembly and Senate Members where we have shared our experience at CAVA and discussed the changes that are needed to make this a better place to teach and learn.
District Oversight: Meetings with County Superintendents and district school boards to help ensure public resources that go to CAVA are spent wisely and focus on our classrooms. In recent weeks, this has included a discussion with the San Joaquin County Superintendent as well as a recent visit to the Meridian Elementary School District. There are many problems at CAVA and insufficient accountability. Slowly, that is starting to change.
Protecting our Colleagues: Too often our colleagues are faced with mistreatment by certain administrators, frequently following years of committed and selfless service at our school. Recently many of us have attended trainings on our legal rights and best tactics for our CAVA colleagues when faced with unfair actions by administration. We are keeping track of bad behavior and building our case for holding those responsible accountable.
If you have any questions about any of these areas of action, have been mistreated, or would like to help, let us know! You can reach us at email@example.com.
In the end of April, union charter educators from all over California met in Los Angeles to plan the best ways we can coordinate to protect our students, our schools and our professions. A large contingent of CAVA educators joined approximately 90 participants from over 30 schools as we planned bargaining, community outreach and organizing activities for the year to come. We were very excited to hear about the great work of teachers at Alliance College Ready Public Schools—a large chain of charter schools in Los Angeles—who are in the process of unionizing, and facing some of the same challenges that we have confronted over the last year. Our movement is growing as more and more charter educators stand-up for a voice in decisions that impact their schools!
Summer can be a stressful time for CAVA teachers. Those of us who have been with CAVA for a couple of years, or more, know that we often do not get our employment agreements until sometime during the summer, and summer means no paychecks. With this stressful time rapidly approaching, a group of teachers decided to come together and ask Human Resources to provide all staff with employment agreements by June 1st. We think staff stability is good for our school and our students. We know it is good for our families! You can see the letter, which was sent on 5/7/15, here.
On May Day (May 1) we launched an online petition so parents, teachers and community members from different parts of country could offer their support for our efforts to unionize and negotiate a union contract that fixes the many problems here at CAVA. We are already at almost 300 signatures after the first 24 hours! You can sign our online petition here. Also, send it to your friends and post it to your timeline!
News out of Tennessee doesn’t look good for K12 Inc., as that state’s online school is scheduled to be shut down due to poor performance and other problems soon. Here in California we are facing many serious problems as well. That is why we are working so hard to address them.
We believe frontline teachers who are working with our students every day have insights and solutions to problems that can make our schools better. We also believe administration at CAVA should do a much better job of recognizing what we have to offer and working with us to fix the problems here in California. Unfortunately, administration does a poor job of taking our concerns seriously. That needs to change. Seeing what has happened in Pennsylvania, and now Tennessee, we hope it changes soon.
Members of our Union Organizing Committee have been reaching out by phone to each and every one of our over 700 teachers this month. We have a number of questions and updates. If you have not yet heard from us, you can request a phone call by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org