Charter Caps, Laser Pointers and SuperPACs

Here’s a partial list of proposed business items currently under review by the board of directors and various committees of the California Teachers Association:

* That CTA amend the first paragraph on charter schools to read “CTA believes the role of charter schools is to provide students, parents and CTA members with educational opportunities that supplement not supplant public school offerings.”

Rationale: Current language does not deal with the reality that charter school growth is often negatively impacting school districts’ programs and forcing our members to become subject to reduction in force.

* That CTA amend by addition to policy on charter schools the following first paragraph: “CTA believes in a cap on charter schools that does not exceed 10% of school districts’ enrollment.”

Rationale: When the charter school enrollment of a district exceeds 10% the likelihood is that charter schools will become less a supplemental option and more likely place competitive pressure on the economic resources of a district. A large number of charter schools reduces opportunity to attend public schools.

*That CTA Board explore options to generate additional resources from both internal and especially external sources to counter the vast resources available to our political opponents due to the Citizens United decision.

Rationale: CTA needs to recognize we are in a war we do not currently have the resources to win. Since the Citizens United decision our political opponents have been able to raise unlimited amounts of money via “Independent Expenditure Only Committees,” popularly known as “Super PACs.” Although CTA currently has such a committee, it has only been utilized on an ad hoc basis. We need to aggressively pursue consistent funding sources. These could include entertainers, professional athletes or other wealthy individuals with possible ties to public education. CTA-retired members could be a valuable resource to assist in this effort.

* That CTA consider additional policy to include laser pointers as weapons in the policy book on page 285. Lasers should be banned at the student level like guns.

Rationale: Several teachers in Hemet TA have been lasered by their students. Lasers are not toys and may and can cause vision loss and blindness. Our teachers need to be protected and a policy statement needs to be made now before these weapons become more dangerous. Our students and staff need to know they are valuable and we promote school safety.