New California Coalition will Fight for Public Schools through Community Power

United around common struggles and a shared vision, eight California teachers’ union locals have joined forces in a groundbreaking new coalition, the California Alliance for Community Schools.

With the strength of more than 50,000 educators behind it, the California Alliance launched this month and aims to help build a movement to fight the Donald Trump/Betsy DeVos agenda to privatize our public schools, and will join organizing efforts with labor and community partners across the state. 

Coalition members currently represent the largest cities in the state: Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association, Oakland Education Association, San Bernardino Teachers Association, San Diego Education Association, San Jose Teachers Association, United Educators of San Francisco, United Teachers Los Angeles, and United Teachers Richmond. The alliance will expand to include other labor and community partners. 

Large urban school districts face many of the same challenges: 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.

"Now, more than ever, we must all stand together as parents, students, educators and community members to defend California’s public schools,” said Martha Sanchez, parent and member of Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment. “We must hold tight a line of defense around our public schools while also working at the local and state level to reinvest in our education system, and to build the community schools that all California students deserve."

The coalition is committed to reversing these trends through statewide demands for the Schools All Our Students Deserve. In the national context of a Donald Trump/Betsy DeVos administration that wants to dismantle public education and billionaire privatizers who want to replace public schools with unregulated charters, the five-point platform addresses the sustainability of public education by calling for: 

• Low class sizes.

• Adequate resources for all schools, with additional resources for high-needs sites.

• Shared decision-making at local school sites.

• Charter school accountability.

• Safe and supportive school environments.

Many of the unions in the coalition have collective bargaining agreements that expire around the same time, creating the opportunity to exponentially increase leverage at the local level and state level. The coalition’s coordinated actions will harness the energy of contract campaigns to support each other’s bargaining and to push for two critical items that require statewide action: increased funding for public education and increased accountability for unregulated charter school operators.

Read the full platform and find contact info for all eight unions here.

Read post on Diane Ravitch’s blog: https://dianeravitch.net/2017/03/22/california-teachers-form-statwide-alliance-to-fight-for-real-school-reform/