Colorado – Lobato plantiffs make case for adequate education funding at Colorado Supreme Court
The plaintiffs and their attorneys emerged from the Colorado Supreme Court in high spirits, confident they had made a compelling argument that Colorado needs to take action to correct the massive shortfall in public school funding in oral arguments presented, March 7, in Lobato v. State of Colorado.
Taylor Lobato, the Center High School graduate who is a named plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the adequacy of public education funding in Colorado, spoke to the media outside the Courthouse immediately after the hearing. Lobato told reporters about starting far behind in her studies at the University of Denver, and realizing she did not have access to education services offered at many other areas. She said she did not learn at the level of many other students.
“Right now, there are other children out there who don’t have opportunity, they don’t have people to help them, and they need the state to do that because that’s what the state has guaranteed,” said Lobato. “We have a long way to go. The Legislature has a long way to go. And it won’t be a win until the legislators provide an education system that provides for every single student in this state, and allows them to become the people of society that the State of Colorado needs.”
Watch more video and read the complete story at ColoradoEA.org.
Connecticut – CEA tells legislature parental engagement key to student success
Parents are working longer hours today than in past decades, making it even more difficult to maintain a healthy balance between work and family activities.
A balance between work and family creates more opportunities for parents to participate in their children’s educational experience, which improves student performance.
That’s why CEA asked the legislature’s Committee on Children to introduce HB 6501 An Act Creating Parental Engagement. The bill would allow parents, guardians, or grandparents having custody of school-age children to take up to 20 hours of earned time for parental leave annually from their employment to attend qualified school-related activities involving their children.
CEA President Sheila Cohen told the Committee today [ed note: pictured above] that this bill would address the struggle for time that most parents face when work obligations conflict with the educational needs of their children.
“The participation of parents in all activities of the school community sends a strong message to children that school is important and part of the family culture,” said Cohen. “The more parents are involved in their children’s education, the higher the children’s academic achievement.”
Get the full story at BlogCEA.org.
North Dakota – NDEA kicks off “Make the Average the Law” campaign
NDEA kicked off an organizational campaign on March 6, 2013 entitled ‘Make the Average the Law.’ This campaign is two-fold. First, the Association strongly supports the Governor’s budget. Second, NDEA believes the starting salaries for beginning teachers should be increased.
The Association likes the Governor’s budget because it uses a new funding formula that achieves three long desired outcomes. First, it treats all school districts fairly, regardless of their location or wealth. Second, it increases state funding per student from the current rate of $3,980 to $8,810–an increase of $4,830. Third, it lowers property taxes by giving more than $700 million in property tax relief to taxpayers, and, most importantly, it ensures that taxes don’t automatically increase due to fluctuations in taxable valuations.
So, the Governor’s budget is a plus for all teachers in the state during negotiations, because there is plenty of money to spread around.
In regards to the second part of the campaign, NDEA wants to see the starting salaries for beginning teachers increased. Before Cross Over (which is when bills switch from one house to another) the Association supported an amendment to the Governor’s budget in the House that would have increased the starting salaries for beginning teachers, but this amendment failed in Committee.
Find out more about the new ‘Make the Average the Law’ campaign at NDEA.org.
Louisiana – LAE calls tenure law ruling a win for Louisiana’s educators
Leaders of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) congratulate the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) on State District Judge R. Michael Caldwell’s decision to throw out the new teacher tenure law, also known as Act 1 of the 2012 Legislative Session. On Monday, Judge Caldwell announced that he reversed his December 2012 ruling which originally agreed with key parts of the law. After a second review of the title of the bill, Judge Caldwell ruled that Act 1 did, in fact, violate the Louisiana Constitution. LAE President Joyce Haynes said the ruling is a significant win for educators across the state.
“This is the second of Governor Jindal’s education overhaul laws struck down by the court,” she said. “We told Governor Jindal, Superintendent of Education John White, and legislators that these proposed laws were unconstitutional, but our pleas fell upon deaf ears. We applaud Judge Caldwell for upholding the law and hope that this sets a precedent as we head into the 2013 Legislative Session.”
After Governor Jindal rammed his questionable, education overhaul laws through the Louisiana Legislature in 2012, the LAE Board of Directors authorized legal challenges to Act 2 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 99; they reserved taking action against Act 1. Due to the large number of potential local legal scenarios, a decision was made to use association resources to pursue individual legal challenges on a parish by parish basis.
“In our minds it’s not just teacher tenure – due process rights – which we have to pursue for public education employees. LAE staff and legal team members from across the state have been proactively working on a number of ongoing challenges in several school districts respective to Act 1’s new requirements surrounding individual contracts, employee salary schedules, building fair and transparent reduction in force policies, helping improve teacher evaluation processes, and challenging those procedures designed to punish teachers rather than foster improvement,” said Haynes.
Visit LAE.org to find out more about the teacher tenure law.