Hear From Your Committee

Get A Button!

If you participated in our petition drive, then you deserve an “I’m In” button. Handcrafted with pride right here in West Sacramento, California, this little goldenrod-colored beauty will show the world you are part of something bigger.  People have been wearing them to in-person events like testing and outings.  Wearing a button to display support is one of our legally-protected rights.

You can get yours in just 3 easy steps:

1.  Find your electronic device of choice.

2.  Send your name and mailing address to me via text (916-710-0721) or e-mail (shilenfamily@nullgmail.com).  Oh, I guess you could call me, if you prefer (916-942-9205).  Let me know how many buttons you want.  You can give them to colleagues who are also supporters.

3.  Wait a few days and then open your mailbox.  It’s that simple!

-Jen Shilen

High School History Teacher

Jen Shilen

  My response to the anonymous ‘CAVA Employee’ email dated 5/12/14: Time to Stand Up

As credentialed teachers, we have worked years to enter the teaching profession and each one of us takes great pride in the responsibility of being a teacher and having the opportunity to be a positive impact on each of our students’ lives. Unfortunately, occurrences at CAVA have made that increasingly difficult. As a result, a strong majority of CAVA teachers have bonded in the effort to form a union in order to have a voice in our school and help improve our work condition for the betterment of our students and our school.

The letters emailed from Katrina Abston in the past two weeks and the faceless ‘CAVA employee’ are an attempt to divert these efforts. These letters had several falsehoods and it is time that they are dispelled with honest facts:

Culture: The current culture does not invoke ‘an individualized’ approach. It is not a culture based on mutual respect as educators. We rarely have a close working relationship with our direct supervisors. Too often we are neither treated as individuals nor as professionals. We are ordered to do time consuming administrative tasks that detract from instruction or student support and coldly told to ‘get it done.’ Most of us only hear directly from our supervisor when he/she wants to find out if we have met a K12-determined deadline with no consideration of an ‘individualized’ approach. Our efforts as a union will allow us to have a voice in these administrative tasks, how and when they are assigned and what can be expected while keeping student needs first.

Perks: The job description of the virtual teacher suggests that we have flexibility in our jobs. In reality, we are spending well over an assigned workday to complete our work. As a union, we seek to return to the flexibility that was promised us in our job description. We seek to be able to be better teachers. The concept of a salary increase going entirely towards dues is another falsehood. Dues are expected to be under $1,000 a year while our salary is 30 – 50% below our peers.

The concept of measuring keystrokes demonstrates the low perspective the anonymous ‘cava employee’ has for our role. How do you measure teacher effectiveness with the number of keystrokes? How do you equate the keystrokes it takes to show a student how to complete a problem vs. grade a five page essay? Instead, we are already measured and compared at every juncture. Grade assignments within three days; percent completion or usage of scantron, ISMA, ILP, Study Island; pass rates; class connect participation. It is sad that a “CAVA employee” would suggest that we can be measured by the number of keystrokes we hit in a day – if that can even be captured. The concept is absurd. And requiring land lines as a condition for employment makes very little sense and seems discriminatory and illegal in today’s mobile society.

Committee: The ‘CAVA employee’ suggests we set up a committee to work together with administration without a union. This has been requested in the past, implemented for a short time and then management reverted to old habits, which only got worse. Even our administration has little say in what we do and how we do it. They take orders from K12. With a union, we can still talk directly to administration. What changes is administration has to listen to us and negotiate with us, the teachers. The union is not an outside behemoth that takes over; it is us, the teachers, who care about our school and our students, instead of ensuring K12 profitability.

Our job is not what we have signed up for. We have little to no say in how we support our students. We have little time to actually teach. And we are paid the equivalent of jobs that don’t require a college education, let alone a credential. Look at the myths in the letters from Ms. Abston and the ‘CAVA employee’ who is too timid to actually use his/her name and seek the truth. Ms. Abston’s job will change if we are united. We will seek to improve our school, the student experience, and our work conditions. She will need to listen to us instead of a ‘Just get it done’ response. It is time to stand up for our students, stand up for our profession. It is time to be strong and to be united.


DeAnn Meyers

HS Geometry Teacher


Credentialed in English, Foundational Math and Foundational Science

Two years with CAVA

5 thoughts on “Hear From Your Committee

  1. Thank you for stating all of the facts so eloquently. You said everything I have been feeling but couldn’t find the right words.

  2. My sister is a member of the CTA and recently attended the convention held in Southern California. I was excited to hear there were CAVA teachers there representing my school. However, I am appalled at the amount of money given to K12 for our curriculum while I am asked to include paper, ink and other supplies for my students out of my “stipend.” I make over $10,000 less than a starting teacher in my area, and I have been teaching for over 10 years. I feel devalued. I love my job and my students but I struggle to understand how K12 gets so much of our funding.

  3. Thank you so much for stating all that I have learned in just 2 short, but oh so long months. My students are suffering from lack of attention and I am suffering from all the keystrokes and repeatedly hitting the ‘F8’ on a computer that never worked correctly from day 1. However, CAVA insisted I use it until the help desk used up 4 hours of my precious work day remotely killing it before they would send me another. Now I am literally weeks behind, doomed to fail at catching up, and woe to my poor students.

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