• Election Results

    The results are in!  Fran Zumwalt was again elected and supported as GEA President; James Messina will be taking over the position of Vice President; and Jay Tweet will assume the position of Treasurer.  

    Thank you to all members who voted and showed their active support of our leadership.

    Recognize that even though all the candidates ran unopposed, these 3 people did step up into roles of leadership that are time-consuming and often difficult. The people in the roles of leadership put in countless unpaid hours to work for the interests of the GEA Membership. They value the profession of teaching and believe in the institution of public education.

    Thank you Fran, James, and Jay for all you do and once again congratulations!

  • Your professional rights are on trial – Vergara V. State of California

    Background: 

    A group of billionaires and corporate special interests who want to push their education agenda on California schools filed a lawsuit last year attacking educators’ professional rights. The lawsuit now going to trial beginning January 27th, Vergara v. State of California, aims to overturn due process protections for teachers. If upheld, it will make it harder to attract and retain quality teachers in our schools. The lawsuit alleges that California laws governing teacher dismissals, attainment of permanent status and layoffs are unconstitutional and should be eliminated. The allegations—which are baseless and meritless—circumvent input by local parents and educators through the legislative process.  CTA and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) got involved in this lawsuit to ensure all stakeholders have input in education policy decisions and to protect the rights of educators for the sake of the students they teach. 

     

Maya Angelou hits Obama on school ‘testing overuse and abuse’

on Friday, 11 April 2014.

Famed author and poet Maya Angelou and 120 other children's book authors are challenging President Obama's national education policy over what they call an "overuse and abuse" of standardized testing. They say the focus on testing hurts children's imaginations and has a negative impact on children's love of reading.

Obama's signature education program, "Race to the Top," has been criticized for heightening the value placed on students' performance on standardized tests as an indicator of a teacher's success in the classroom.

Read the letter below:

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,

We the undersigned children's book authors and illustrators write to express our concern for our readers, their parents and teachers. We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration's own initiatives, on children's love of reading and literature. Recent policy changes by your Administration have not lowered the stakes. On the contrary, requirements to evaluate teachers based on student test scores impose more standardized exams and crowd out exploration.

Bargaining Update: April 8, 2014

on Thursday, 10 April 2014.

GEA Team: Linda Pierce (Bargaining Chair), Fran Zumwalt (GEA President) Bryan Ross (GEA V.P.), James Messina, Jay Tweet, Doug Coffin, Laura Bowen (CTA Rep).

District Team: Steve Sonnich (Assoc Supt, HR), Gary Schwartzwald, Tim Schwuchow, John Rajcic, Rick Roberts, Dan McDowell

GEA met with district representatives from 9:30 AM to 3:15 PM.

1. District Substitute Issues

2. Infinite Campus presentation from Rick Roberts and Dan McDowell

3. District Salary Counteroffer

4. GEA Salary Counteroffer

5. LCAP/LCFF Committee Proposal

6. TUPE, EL Coordinator, GATE Stipends

7. Special Educations Vans

8. PE Tutorials for Credit

9. Summer School

 

Bargaining Update: March 28, 2014

on Tuesday, 01 April 2014.

GEA Team: Linda Pierce (Bargaining Chair), Fran Zumwalt (GEA President) Bryan Ross (GEA V.P.), James Messina, Jay Tweet, Laura Bowen (CTA Rep).

District Team: Steve Sonnich (Assoc Supt, HR), Gary Schwartzwald, Tim Schwuchow, Scott Patterson (Deputy Superintendent, Business Services), Theresa Kemper

GEA met with district representatives from 9:30 AM to 3:15 PM.

1.Special Education Vans

2. District Budget

3. District Salary Counteroffer

4. GEA Salary Counteroffer

5. LCAP/LCFF Committee Proposal

6. CTE Hourly Teachers

 

Bargaining Update: March 13, 2014

on Friday, 14 March 2014.

GEA Team: Linda Pierce (Bargaining Chair), Fran Zumwalt (GEA President) Bryan Ross (GEA V.P.), Doug Coffin, James Messina, Jay Tweet, Laura Bowen (CTA Rep).

District Team: Steve Sonnich (Assoc Supt, HR), Gary Schwartzwald, Tim Schwuchow, Theresa Kemper, Jodi Sevilla

In this update:

1. District Salary Counteroffer

2. GEA Salary Counteroffer

3. LCAP/LCFF Committee Proposal

4. Restructuring Calendars

5. Special Education Vans

 

Bargaining Update: March 7, 2014

on Friday, 14 March 2014.

GEA Team: Linda Pierce (Bargaining Chair), Fran Zumwalt (GEA President) Bryan Ross (GEA V.P.), Doug Coffin, James Messina, Jay Tweet, Laura Bowen (CTA Rep).

District Team: Steve Sonnich (Assoc Supt, HR), Gary Schwartzwald, Tim Schwuchow, John Rajcic

In this update:

  1. Layoffs
  2. Salary
  3. Summer School
  4. LCAP/LCFF Committee Proposal
  5. Counselor Infinite Campus Training
  6. Special Education Vans
  7. Autism Authorization

Bargaining Update: February 25, 2014

on Friday, 28 February 2014.

GEA Team: Linda Pierce (Bargaining Chair), Fran Zumwalt (GEA President) Bryan Ross (GEA V.P.), Doug Coffin, James Messina, Jay Tweet, Laura Bowen (CTA Rep).

District Team: Steve Sonnich (Assoc Supt, HR), Gary Schwartzwald, Tim Schwuchow, John Rajcic

In This Update:

  1. Transparent California CPRA Request
  2. Counselor Infinite Campus Training
  3. Salary
  4. LCAP/LCFF
  5. Special Education Vans
  6. Autism Authorization
  7. Teacher/Administrator Ratio
  8. Class Size
  9. Evaluation

Alpine Teachers Approve New Contract

on Friday, 28 February 2014.

Back in the classroom today after huge affirmative vote

Alpine Teachers Approve New Contract

ALPINE – Alpine Teachers Association members approved a new contract with the Alpine Union School District by a 96 percent margin, immediately returning to their classes Tuesday morning, February 25, ending their three-day strike over significant cuts in salary and health benefits.

Compared to the district imposition of a 7.58 percent salary cut and an $8,000 cap on health care benefits, details of the new settlement include:

  • Two percent salary re­storation, effective April 1, 2014

  • Health care benefit restoration of $1,500, effective January 1, 2014, resulting in a $9,500 cap

  • Two percent salary restoration effective July 1, 2014, contingent upon receipt of 28.05% "gap funding" from the state for 2014-2015

  • A built in salary increase, based on Governor Brown's budget and "gap funding"

  • One-time stipend equivalent to .56 percent each day for two days of Common Core staff development in 2014-2015

  • Six furlough days in 2013-2014 and seven in 2014-2015

  • $8,000 retirement incentive.

"We are very relieved to return to our classrooms to work with our students," said ATA President Gayle Malone. "Teachers offered cuts all along, but we had to stand up to keep them from being devastating. We believe this settlement, though still painful, can serve as a basis toward a more harmonious relationship with the district, especially as new funding comes in the next few years, to hopefully alleviate Alpine's fiscal difficulties."

The Failure of Test-Based Accountability

on Thursday, 27 February 2014.

By Marc Tucker on February 27, 2014 8:17 AM

In my last blog, I pointed to the data that shows that, after 10 years of federal education policies based on test-based accountability, there has been no perceptible improvement in student performance among high school students (which, when you get right down to it, is what really matters) as a whole, or when the data are broken down by different groupings of disadvantaged students.  There is little doubt—whether test-based accountability is being used to hold schools accountable or individual teachers—that it has failed to improve student performance.

That should be reason enough to abandon it.  But it is not.  The damage that test-based accountability has done goes far deeper than a missed opportunity to improve student achievement.  It is doing untold damage to the profession of teaching.

Anyone who has been paying attention has by now seen many videos of widely admired teachers explaining to the camera why they are giving up teaching and why they would not recommend that their children, nieces or nephews choose teaching as their career.  The narrative is always the same.  They have loved teaching because it has enabled them to make a real difference, one child at a time.  They talk about the children consumed by anger or alienation who they reached with kindness and care and whose life was turned around as a result, and the student who discovered in music something they could do well and take pride in, and another whose interest in science was kindled by field trips that departed from the official curriculum and included material not on the test but which enabled the student to see the wonder of science all around her and who went on to win the country science fair and another who sat silent in class and never turned in any homework until the teacher was able to unwind the nature of the problem in a horribly abusive family situation and get social services to rescue the student.

Continue Reading At:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2014/02/the_failure_of_test-based_accountability.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2