A victory for corporate “reformers” over teacher unions in California

A victory for the corporate “reformers” in the decision of the court in Vergara v California

Duane Campbellby Duane Campbell

California judge Rolf Treu ruled Tuesday in the Vergara v.California case that California teacher tenure laws deprive students of their right to an education that is guaranteed under the state constitution and violates their civil rights. The decision is a major defeat for teachers’ unions and will presumably lead to challenges of tenure laws in other states. The ruling overturned five state statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority.

The implementation of the ruling has been stayed while under appeal.

The Sacramento Bee editorial board and Bee columnists Marcos Breton and Dan Walters, along with their candidate Marc Tucker each applaud the court ruling. Note what they say in their columns. They applaud this defeat of the Teachers Unions, they do not deal with the critical issue of adequate school funding. June 11.

What do the sides agree upon?

It is clear that many students in California receive a substandard education and that failing schools are concentrated in poor and minority neighborhoods.   The judge cites the long history of successful law suites Serrano V. Priest I, II. III, and more that mandated changes in state funding to provide equal funding. There is also general agreement that teacher quality is a significant factor in improving education. Continue reading

Update on Cesar Chavez, farmworker organizing, and immigration reform

by Duane Campbell

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally.

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, as Californians celebrated Cesar Chavez Day the Real News Network has recorded an excellent two interviews with persons presently engaged in farmworker organizing. Both had worked with Chavez-
Marc Grossman and Rosalinda Guillen. They give current testimony to conditions in the fields, the role of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, and two different views of the issues of immigration reform. Guillen describes the current largely indigenous labor force in the fields

I encourage all friends of labor to inform themselves and these important struggles.



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Columnists seek to shape opinion in discussing school reform

Duane Campbell

Duane Campbell

The Paucity of Dan Walters’ Commentary on School Issues

The column by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee entitled “California’s School Wars Heat Up” in the print edition for Dec.20, and entitled  “Powerful Factions Go to War Over Direction of California Schools,” http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/20/6015661/dan-walters-powerful-factions.html  in the on line version  seriously and deliberatively misinforms.  Walters’s columns are reprinted in newspapers throughout the state.

He frames the conflict between the School Establishment ( school administrators, elected officials, teachers’ unions]  vs. the “School Reformers”.   These are indeed two of the powerful factions competing in the California State Capitol, but not at all the complete story.

To understand the distortion lets see who these “reformers “  see the Democracy and Education Institute  https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg

Continue reading

This immigration bill is not good enough- PICO

Sacramento meeting This immigration reform is not good enough – Pico of California.

by Duane Campbell

At a mass meeting and send-off of pilgrims, hosted by Pico of California, with Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto ,  Pico youth leaders  Cecilia Munoz and Noemi Hernandez declared, “this Immigration reform is not good enough “ at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sacramento on Aug.11, 2013.

The meeting in the packed church hall was a send off event for eleven pilgrims to begin a 285 mile walk through California’s Central Valley, the vegetable heart land of U.S. agriculture. – a pilgrimage toward citizenship.  The walk begins on Monday Aug. 11.  Religious and human rights activists are also  preparing to go to Modesto to  join with the pilgrims as they walk neighborhoods to bring pressure on Central Valley Congressmen who have not yet supported comprehensive immigration reform.  The 285 mile walk will conclude in 22 days  at the  Bakersfield office of  Cong. Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip in the House.   McCarthy is not usually counted among the Tea Party Congress persons.  The Bakersfield area district has a 35% Latino population and 22.8 %  of the voters in the 2010 election were Latino. Continue reading

California Is Taxing the Rich… and So Can You

Yes on 30 Steve Rhoades

The Yes on 30 campaign won higher taxes for rich Californians, winning 55 percent to 45 percent. Even though polling showed that people were willing to vote for higher taxes on the rich, the governor kept talking about “shared sacrifice.” Photo: Steve Rhodes.

“There is no alternative to austerity,” insist the rich, along with their politicians, foundations, think tanks, and media.

They’ve been saying it for decades. “Taxes are bad,” they also claim. “Government doesn’t work. And public employees are greedy.”

Consequently, common wisdom had it that “you can’t raise taxes.” Even people who should have known better believed this—while the public sector slid down the tubes.

So how did Proposition 30 succeed? This measure, passed by voters last November, raises $6 billion a year for schools and services—in California, a supposedly “anti-tax” state. The money comes mostly through an income tax hike on rich people, along with a tiny sales tax increase of ¼ percent.

The story should be better known, because with the right preparation, you could make it happen in your state, too.

Continue reading

California’s Prop 32 a Sneak Attack on Unions

When Californians go to the polls on November 6, they’ll be asked to vote yes or no on Proposition 32, also known as the “Stop Special Interest Money Now Act.” Sounds like democracy in action, right? But The Nation’s Peter Dreier says the name belies the true intent of this bill.

“It’s a fraud,” Dreier says to Laura Flanders in a digital-only conversation on BillMoyers.com. “It’s really a corporate power grab being called campaign finance reform…. And it’s an attempt to put labor unions in a straightjacket.”

“They did this very purposefully to allow billionaire right wingers and insurance companies and hedge funds to continue to fund their causes in California. And if this wins in California, this will have ripple effects throughout the whole country.”

Why is the vote on California Prop. 30 so close ?

 And, what can we do about it

by Duane Campbell

A new Field  Poll says that if the election were held today 48 % would vote Yes on Prop. 30 to fund California  schools, colleges and public services, 38 % would vote no, and 14 % are undecided. That is too close.  This vote is our best opportunity to reverse the austerity cycle of budgeting used in California for the last 4 years since the economic crisis.

My experience in tabling for Proposition 30 in  on the Sac State campus  for the last 6 weeks  has reminded me of a major problem – we are not communicating  with and educating the vast majority of people of the need to support public education and other public services.

In one recent experience a beyond middle age African American woman stopped by the table to discuss California Prop. 30, an effort to fund schools, universities, and public services.  I will use her case as an example.   Her experience as a college student was that her fees went up over $2,400   over the last 4 years.  These fee increases  were pushing her out of the university.   But to her their was not a direct connection between these fee increases and the election ballot propositions.  Her question was  why do my fees go up ?  Doesn’t the federal government pay for our education ?   Why should I have to vote on this ? Continue reading


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