CAVA Teacher Raises: A Small Step On the Path to Stability?

ChairRecently we learned that CAVA teachers would be receiving a 5% raise. While our teachers certainly deserve and welcome this news, we can’t help but wonder what the motivation was behind this unexpected increase. Employers (especially those like CAVA who are managed by a for-profit corporation) don’t just give money away without a reason. Some of us question whether this was an attempt to placate teachers and try to weaken support of our union. After all, CAVA and K12 have made it crystal clear they are hostile to teachers have no real voice in decisions.

Whatever the motivation, we believe it is a step in the right direction but not enough. Our colleagues deserve a decent salary. As long as we are compensated well below the average of what teachers receive in California, turnover will remain too high. This destabilizes our school and disrupts our student’s learning. Also, while salary is important to all CAVA teachers trying to make ends meet, it is just one among a host of issues we seek to address in our union contract. Among other concerns raised in recent bargaining surveys that our colleagues filled out:

  • Less administrative duties to allow teachers to focus on teaching.
  • Job security and due process.
  • Clearly defined and communicated policies that remain consistent rather than changing every year and sometimes mid-year.
  • Implementation of a BTSA program to support new teachers.
  • Lack of a professional salary schedule.
  • Standardized evaluation procedure and criteria for raises
  • A clearly laid out salary schedule.
  • The ability to advocate for students without the fear of reprisal.

Currently, CAVA teachers do not have a voice in these matters, or in any aspect of our school operations. We are the ones on the front line. We see how the problems in our school are hampering student success. We would love nothing more than to work with administration to fix these problems; to create a place where students thrive and teachers want to work. We urge our administration to stop delaying and set a date to meet at the bargaining table.

 

New CEO of K12 Inc. Selected: More Focus on Quality?

shipEffective February 8, 2016, K12’s CEO will be Stuart J. Udell.  Udell is a long-time education industry executive, most recently serving as CEO of Catapult Learning, LLC.  He has also worked for a variety of other education firms, including Penn Foster Education Group, Kaplan, and Renaissance Learning.  Udell is currently on the board of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, a program of Clemson University focusing on dropout prevention and increasing graduation rates in American high schools.  According to a recent K12 Inc. press release, Udell comes to the company with vast operational experience in the education industry and after having almost doubled Catapult Learning’s revenues “by focusing on maintaining high education quality standards and introducing technology-based offerings”.  Udell replaces Nate Davis, who will become K12’s Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

 

We hope Udell will seize the opportunity to make needed changes in K12 Inc.’s priorities. More focus and resources must be given to our classrooms. Also, teacher turnover is too high. It is past time that CAVA’s great and professional teachers are compensated fairly. This is especially important now that there is a teacher shortage. So many of our colleagues are leaving to take jobs in either virtual or brick and mortar schools in other districts or charter schools. Teacher turnover creates instability which is bad for our students.

 

We communicated the urgent need for improvements to shareholders when a delegation of CAVA organizing committee members went to Washington DC in December. We see the appointment of a new CEO as a step in the right direction. Though we don’t know what specific plans are in store for CAVA as a result of this change, we believe Stuart Udell should take advantage of the opportunity to work with us to make our school better for our students. We are hopeful, but rest assured, no one in the Organizing Committee HQ is holding their breath!