Teachers organizations from across the state of California have formed an alliance to fight for genuine School reform.

CALIFORNIA: 8 Teacher Union Locals Unite Against the Trump/DeVos Agenda, Fight for Public Schools through Collective Bargaining, Community Power

United around common struggles and a shared vision, The California Alliance for Community Schools is a groundbreaking coalition of educator unions from 8 of the largest cities in California, representing more than 50,000 educators. The alliance officially launches tomorrow, Thursday March 23 and includes: Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association, Oakland Education Association, San Bernardino Teachers Association, San Jose Teachers Association, San Diego Education Association, United Educators of San Francisco, United Teachers Los Angeles and United Teachers Richmond.

All 8 unions are uniting around statewide demands, through local bargaining as well as legislation, for more resources in schools, charter school accountability, lower class sizes and other critical improvements. Most of the locals are in contract bargaining or are interested in organizing around these key issues. The alliance plans to expand to include other labor and community partners.

As California faces a statewide teacher shortage, school districts issued more than 1,750 pink slips for educators last week. Trump released his proposed federal budget, which slashes funds for disadvantaged children, afterschool programs, teacher trainings and other vital services. Trump wants to spend $1.4 billion to expand vouchers, including private schools, and would pay for it from deep cuts to public schools. Voters in California have twice rejected voucher plans.

“We are reaching a state of emergency when it comes to our public schools,” said Hilda Rodriguez-Guzman, an Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment member and charter school parent since 1994. “We must support and reinvest in public education. I join educators in the fight for well-resourced, transparent, accountable, and democratically run schools, at the bargaining table and beyond.”

All 8 unions will use the power of bargaining and statewide organizing to fight for:

Lower class sizes

Resources for high-needs schools and students

Shared decision-making at local school sites, critical to student success

Charter school accountability

Safe and supportive school environments

The first significant step is the launch of the bargaining platform and petition, which includes statewide demands and specific contract demands for each local union. The petition reads:

“As educators in large urban school districts across California we face many of the same challenges. We are particularly concerned about disinvestment in schools and communities, especially those with the greatest needs; educational policies that discourage authentic teaching and learning; and the rapid expansion of privately managed and unregulated charter schools at the expense of our neighborhood schools.”

We applaud the work of these unions, who are fighting back the Trump/DeVos agenda and standing together with their students and communities to reinvest in public education.

To find out more, contact each union for more information:

Anaheim: Grant Schuster, CTA State Council Representative on ASTA Executive Board, schusters3@charter.net, (562) 810-4035

Los Angeles: Anna Bakalis, UTLA Communications Director mailto:abakalis@utla.net, (213)305-9654

Oakland: Trish Gorham, OEA President, oaklandeapresident@yahoo.com, (510) 763-4020,

San Diego: Jonathon Mello, mello_j@sdea.net, (619) 200-0010

San Francisco: Mathew Hardy, Communications Director, mhardy@uesf.org, (415) 513-3179

Richmond: Demetrio Gonzalez, UTR President, president@unitedteachersofrichmond.com, (760) 500-7044

San Jose: Jennifer Thomas, SJTA President, jthomas@sanjoseta.org, (408) 694-7393

San Bernardino: Ashley Alcalá, SBTA President, ashleysbta@gmail.com, (909) 881-6755

We are a coalition of California parents, community, educators, and students united in our commitment to transforming public education in ways that contribute to a more just, equitable, and participatory society.

Together, we are fighting for well-resourced, community-centered, publicly funded and democratically run schools that prepare our students with the intellectual, social, and emotional skills necessary for success in a changing and often turbulent world.

Our Platform for The Schools All Our Students Deserve

1. Low Class Sizes: Quality instruction for all our students depends on limiting the number of students in a class. Lowering class sizes improves teaching and learning conditions leading to growth in student achievement and positive social interactions.

2. Adequate Resources for All Schools with Additional Resources for Our High Needs Schools and Students: All schools and students deserve adequate levels of funding and support, including but not limited to quality early childhood education programs, lower class size, lower Special Education caseloads, additional educators, after-school tutoring, counselors, nurses, certificated librarians, and other resources to address our students’ academic, emotional, and social needs. Schools and students with the highest need should receive additional funding and support. Site based governing bodies consisting of democratically selected staff, parents, students, and community partners should be responsible for deciding how such additional supports are to be used.

3. Shared Decision-Making at Our Local Schools: The needs of a school are best addressed by the members of the school community. Site based governance by democratically selected stakeholder representatives is a critical component for school and student success. Districts and unions should provide joint trainings to fully empower these bodies.

4. Charter Schools Accountable to Our Communities: All schools receiving public money must be held accountable and be locally and publicly controlled. Unfortunately, many privately run, under-regulated charter schools drain needed resources from neighborhood schools, are not fully transparent in their operations, and fail to provide equal access to all students. Common sense standards and adequate oversight are necessary. New charter schools should not be approved without ensuring accountability and transparency and without a comprehensive assessment of the economic and educational impact on existing public schools.

5. Safe and Supportive School Environments: All students at publicly funded schools, regardless of ethnicity, gender, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, and immigration status, have a right to an academically stimulating, emotionally and socially nurturing, and culturally responsive environment that recognizes and addresses the many stresses that affect student performance and behavior. Adequate trainings and supports for restorative justice programs must be provided as an alternative to punitive disciplinary programs.