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Wednesday, May 27



  

Reopening schools safely, driven by your input


The state and county released guidelines today on what learning could look like when it is safe to reopen schools, including concepts such as one-way halls, staggered school days, and smaller class sizes. 
 
This guidance from the state and county is only a framework — every school district will develop its own plan. UTLA will be at the table with LAUSD bargaining what a safe reopening looks like for our schools, and we know that the health and well-being of our communities depend on getting it right. We can’t underestimate the challenge of opening schools in a way that protects students and staff and prevents children from becoming carriers for infection in their own families. This is especially critical in LA, with our students living with so many of the equity issues that coronavirus has laid bare: high-density living situations with multigenerational families; the disproportionate exposure and death rates among communities of color, especially Pacific Islander and Black communities; and a lack of access to healthcare. 


We are sending a member survey soon about reopening schools, and we are encouraging all chapters, using CAT structures, to engage in discussions about priority issues next week to shape that survey. Chapter chairs will be getting more info soon on these chapter conversations. It’s critical that all UTLA members take part in these discussions and submit the survey once it’s available. We will not go back into bargaining until we have this input from members.

There is no vision for a safe reopening that does not involve additional resources for schools — resources to implement social distancing and other safety guidelines and funding for the additional supports our students need in the wake of this crisis, including increased mental health support. Our school conditions need to be healthy, safe, and improved — the status quo will not be enough. Our fight against the proposed $13 billion in budget cuts and for increased funding is essential to a safe return. We are also clear that a reopening and improvement plan must extend to the community. Our students are shaped by all aspects of their lives. Reopening of schools must be coordinated with massive investment in housing, healthcare, replacement pay, and jobs. 

This fight will take all of us, and the stakes could not be higher. These are the most important actions you can take right now.

  • talk to your chapter chair about signing the Classrooms and Communities Over Cuts petition
  • regularly attend your UTLA chapter meetings
  • take the UTLA bargaining survey when it is released next week  

  



Amazon head has made $35 million every day of the pandemic 
 

As 40 million Americans file for unemployment and scramble to pay the bills, Amazon head Jeff Bezos has made $35 million every day of the COVID-19 crisis. And he is not alone in profiting from the pandemic: US billionaires got $434 billion richer in just a few months

Public health researchers have projected that one in four Americans will experience hunger and food insecurity in the coming months as a result of the economic crash and mass unemployment set off by the pandemic. Nobody should have to choose between their health and safety and making enough money to live on. Yet this is the painful decision millions of Americans are facing as pressure builds to return to work. In an economic system where one person can make $35 million a day, the money is there, through fair taxation, to invest in public education, housing, healthcare, and building a safety net for our communities.

 


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“He went from ‘Miss, I don’t like school’ to being one of the most involved students on campus”
 
Housing insecure and disconnected to school, Keith Wallick found new purpose in the creative arts, guided by his teachers at Santee Education Complex. Now a graduating senior, Wallick is heading to art college in the fall, but he’s struggling with the school shutdown and the loss of his primary source of social emotional support. Read his story in the LA Times here (content behind pay wall).



Justice for our communities

Another week, another unconscionable murder of a black man, George Floyd. As communities of color die at higher rates from COVID-19 and Black people die at the hands of police and others (RIP, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery), we grapple every day with the fallout of systemic racism. Our fight for social and racial justice defines UTLA as a progressive union. The only way forward is for oppression and white supremacy to be acknowledged and eradicated. 

FURTHER READING: The Fight to Redefine Racism


 

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New and ICYMI FAQs
CAR PARADES

I've heard conflicting answers. Are school car parades allowed?

In a statement released last Friday, the district approved car parades for special celebrations, including graduations, quoting a Los Angeles County Emergency Operations announcement on this topic. This is different from a prior advisory the county had issued on May 16. The district added that the parades, as well as any other activities or celebrations, must meet all social distancing and safety guidelines issued by the Los Angeles County health authorities. 
 



CREDENTIALING

Because of COVID, I can’t meet the required 600 hours of clinical practice for my teacher prep program.

For Multiple and Single Subject programs, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is allowing teacher preparation programs the authority to determine if you have completed sufficient clinical practice hours even if you haven’t completed all 600 hours. Read more here on these and other flexibilities the commission has developed related credentialing, including CBEST requirements and what to do about expiring credentials. 
 



PD PAYMENT
 
When will we get paid the $500 for the April LAUSD PD?
 

LAUSD says that teachers who completed the Continuity of Learning PD by the April deadline will be paid on July 10 in a separate check (not on your regular paycheck). 
 



CLOSING OUT SCHOOLS

What's the deadline for packing up our classrooms and offices?

Under LAUSD's Closing the School Year policy memo, you have until June 30 this year to pick up your instructional and personal belongings. As LAUSD developed its procedures, UTLA argued for as much time as possible to be given to complete this work, for adherence to safety guidelines consistent with direction from public health authorities, and for alternative arrangements to be available for high-risk staff. If safety protocols are not being observed, if members are not being provided with appropriate flexibility, or if administrators are making unreasonable requests or demands, contact your chapter chair, who should then contact UTLA.


Am I mandated to go to school and clean out my classroom?

For members unable to come to school and participate in closing protocols because of a high-risk factor (including childcare issues), the LAUSD policy calls for chapter chairs and administrators to work together to come to an alternative arrangement. Site administrators need to be as collaborative and flexible as possible, and we’ve already heard of creative solutions that some schools are devising.

 


 

#UTLAWellnessWednesdays
 


Watch here or click on image above.
 

Students from Narbonne High School's Mental Health Club created an amazing video with daily advice for self-care for today's #UTLAWellnessWednesday. Also on today's session — the final in the series — are UTLA member Dr. Kimani Norrington-Sands, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and UTLA officer Arlene Inouye.

  



Waves and shout-outs for Multnomah's drive-by parade
 

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Multnomah Elementary upped the car parade game with cool drone footage of the cars snaking through the streets of the community.

Share your inspiring educator/student videos and photos by tagging @UTLANow — we want to spread the incredible spirit of our education communities.

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Friday, May 26

 



“We cannot ask schools to do more with less”
 
Education leaders across California amplified warnings this week that schools can’t reopen safely without federal dollars and that confronting the COVID-19 pandemic calls for more nurses, counselors, and teachers. During a video conference with education officials and advocates hosted Thursday by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, UTLA West Area Chair Erika Jones said that it was time for a major investment in students.
 
“This isn’t the time to even think about layoffs,” said Jones, who is on the California Department of Education Task Force on Reopening Schools. “As things stand, schools already lack full-time nurses and other needed supports. Our kids have been through so much in this crisis. They deserve more, and they're going to need more.”

The cost of reopening with social distancing and other safety guidelines will be costly for districts already facing a 13% cut in the state’s proposed budget. 

“We believe our school districts can’t reopen safely if they have to implement these kinds of cuts,” Thurmond said. “We cannot ask schools to do more with less.” 

Support from the federal government, as well as more resources in the state budget and fair taxation of corporations and billionaires, is critical. With the combined wealth of America’s billionaires increasing by $434 billion during the pandemic, the money is in our economy to fund schools and social services.
 
BUDGET FIGHT ACTIONS

 

  • Contact your chapter chair to sign the Classrooms and Communities Over Cuts petition and commit to the fight against all budget cuts and layoffs.
     
  • Tell your legislator to pass a state budget with no cuts to education. Call 1-855-977-1770 to speak to your legislator (see more under ACTIONS FOR THE COMMON GOOD)

 



Watch UTLA member Erika Jones' section from the CDE video conference this week. Jones, UTLA West Area Chair and CTA Board member, is on the California Department of Education Task Force on Reopening Schools.



Major union organizing win: PERB certifies UTLA at five Alliance charter schools


After a two-year-long legal fight, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) certified UTLA this week as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of educators at the five Alliance charter schools that filed for union recognition: ACRMA #5, Burton Tech, Gertz-Merkin, Leichtman Levine (ESAT), and Morgan McKinzie.

Alliance has been fighting PERB certification since educators at three schools filed for union recognition in May 2018, with two more filing in 2019. But now with this decision, Alliance educators have prevailed after a two-year legal delay intended by Alliance to deny educators their right to bargain and to organize with UTLA. Alliance educators are ready to move forward. They urge Alliance to start setting a better example for their students and the Alliance community by respecting PERB’s decision and its own educators. 

Particularly in this unprecedented time, it's more important than ever that educators have an equal voice in decisions impacting their students, their schools, and their profession. Alliance educators simply want to sit down with Alliance as real decision-making partners and together decide what will make their schools the best place to work and learn. Alliance educators look forward to bargaining at five union schools and are committed to organizing at all Alliance schools. 
 




“I look forward to us having an equal voice in decision making and bargaining over educational policy and practices that will strengthen the Alliance in the coming years. We call on Alliance to do the right thing: recognize our union and begin to bargain with us in good faith.”
— Edgar Hermosillo, History, Burton Tech 

 



Parents and teachers protest co-location and charter school bailouts

Amid news that Gabriella Charter School is receiving a $1.3 million federal bailout loan, LAUSD parents and teachers held a second car caravan protest this week, visiting the homes of three members of charter school boards who are putting students’ health and safety at risk by continuing to pursue co-locations in the fall.

Families from Kennedy, Lizarraga, Menlo, Shirley, Teresa Hughes, and Wilton Place Elementary Schools and Maple Primary Center delivered letters to board members from El Rio Community Charter, Gabriella Charter, and Citizens of the World, urging them to rescind their co-location requests for the 2020-21 school year. 

At the stop at the Gabriella board member’s home, educators and parents held a news conference, calling out Gabriella Charter for taking a Paycheck Protection Program loan designed for small businesses while the school’s main revenue source — per-pupil government funding — has been unaffected by the pandemic. PPP loans are not available for public schools.

“I can’t believe that Gabriella is receiving $1.3 million from the federal government and still planning to endanger our health by taking over space in our school,” said Maria Sanchez, a teacher from Lizarraga Elementary. “It’s not fair that a charter company is getting bailed out, while our students are facing budget cuts. We are asking that Gabriella put the health of their students and our students first, and not co-locate at our school.”
 
If the charter schools proceed with their planned co-locations, they will jeopardize the health of all involved – of public and charter school students, educators, and their families. With two schools crowding onto one campus, staff and students will not be able to follow the social distancing guidelines that public health officials say are crucial for safely reopening schools. Thousands of parents, teachers, and students have signed onto a petition calling on Superintendent Beutner to prioritize their health and enact a moratorium on new charter co-locations for the 2020-21 school year.

“The health and safety risk is very personal to me,” said Patricia Gutierrez, parent of a fourth-grader at Lizarraga. “My son is asthmatic, and he has been hospitalized many times. If Gabriella co-locates, students will be crowding into one building and we will not be able to practice the social distancing the governor says we need to keep students safe.”
 


Click here or image for video



Chicago teachers’ union sues DeVos for failing to support special education students
 
The Chicago Teachers Union filed a lawsuit this week against the Trump administration, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and the Chicago Public Schools’ Board of Education for deficient policy during the pandemic and a clear indifference to the needs of special education students.
 
DeVos failed children across the country when she declined to offer states guidance on how to adjust federal policy to provide special needs students with the best chance to maximize learning during the pandemic. The Chicago school board exacerbated this failing by issuing conflicting and irresponsible mandates that threaten to interfere with student learning. 
 
The Chicago school board has directed special education teachers and case managers to rewrite every IEP and 504 plan for approximately 70,000 special ed students before June 18, requiring thousands of new and duplicative documents. This physically impossible mandate is diverting teachers, case managers, and clinicians into mass rewrites of plans rather than working directly through remote learning with special education students. 
 

The Chicago Teachers Union has long been an ally of UTLA, and the two unions led the massive strikes that bookended the year 2019. We applaud CTU’s efforts in holding DeVos accountable for her failure to provide guidance and resources for the education of students with disabilities during the pandemic. The Department of Education’s failure occurs in conjunction with Congress’ failure to dedicate any IDEA-specific funding to meet the unprecedented needs of our students with disabilities during the time of emergency education.

 





 

SheroesAtHome



Post a video or photo of how you or your colleagues are bringing your classroom or your support services to life at home. Use hashtags #SheroesAtHome #HeroesAtHome and #UTLAStrong.
  





 

Pass a budget with no education cuts



Right now, the California Legislature is debating the upcoming state budget. Ask your legislator to support a budget with no cuts and no educator or school employee layoffs, and one that prioritizes equity by repealing corporate tax credits.

The 2020-21 proposed budget has cuts of more than $10 billion to schools and community colleges that will be devastating at a time when students need more support. There are more than $6.5 billion in proposed cuts to the Local Control Funding Formula that could mean: 

  • equivalent cuts of $1,230 per student     
  • a 19% increase in class size
  • more than 57,000 educator layoffs
  • more than 125,000 classified employee layoffs

 
CALL 1-855-977-1770 TO SPEAK TO YOUR LEGISLATOR
  



#CareForUs rallies call for a moral budget that puts people over profits
 

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UTLA members and staff joined hundreds of young people, essential workers, and faith leaders representing more than 30 organizations in #CareForUs rallies across California last Friday. The local action was a 400-person car caravan through downtown LA, converging outside the Ronald Reagan State Building. Ralliers called on Congressional representatives and state leaders to pass a federal relief plan and state budget that cares for the vulnerable and asks wealthy corporations to pitch in their fair share so California can weather this crisis and emerge a stronger and more just society. As part of securing the funds needed to rebuild our communities, ralliers called out support for Schools and Communities First, the measure on the November ballot that would bring $12 billion a year to public education and social services.



#CareForUs rally video


Thursday, May 21

 

Today, parents, teachers and students from LAUSD public schools facing co-location will hold a car caravan to the houses of three board members of charter schools seeking to co-locate public schools for the 2020-21 school year. They are demanding that the charter school board members of Gabriella Charter School revoke their application for the $1.3 million loan and that all three charter companies do the right thing by prioritizing health and safety by revoking their applications to co-locate.

 

Click here or the image to watch the Facebook Live video.


 

 

 

 


Wednesday, May 20

 

Tell your legislator:

 

Pass a budget with no education cuts


Right now, the California Legislature is debating the upcoming state budget. Ask your legislator to support a budget with no cuts and no educator or school employee layoffs, and one that prioritizes equity by repealing corporate tax credits.

The 2020-21 proposed budget has cuts of more than $10 billion to schools and community colleges that will be devastating at a time when students need more support. There are more than $6.5 billion in proposed cuts to the Local Control Funding Formula that could mean: 

• equivalent cuts of $1,230 per student     

• a 19% increase in class size

• more than 57,000 educator layoffs

• more than 125,000 classified employee layoffs

 
CALL 1-855-977-1770 TO SPEAK TO YOUR LEGISLATOR

Be sure to tell your legislator:

• Your name

• Where you live

• Ask them to support a budget with no cuts, no educator or school employee layoffs, and one that prioritizes equity by repealing corporate tax credits.


Read the Facts on Costly State Tax Credits



FAQs on IEPs, matrix, and more


PD PAYMENT
 
When will we get paid the $500 for the April LAUSD PD?
 
LAUSD says that teachers who completed the Continuity of Learning PD by the April deadline will be paid on July 10 in a separate check (not on your regular paycheck). 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION 
 
As a general ed teacher, I’m concerned about the time virtual IEP sessions are taking.
 
It’s critical in this time of crisis, when our most vulnerable students are at risk, that we continue to uphold the rights of special education students.

One time-management strategy that has worked for some general education teachers is to ask to be put on the agenda at the start of the virtual IEP meeting, so your participation has a more predictable start and end time.
 

CLOSING OUT SCHOOLS
 
Even under LAUSD’s new protocols, won’t closing out schools be challenging?

All the critical things we do at the end of the school year — packing up classrooms, textbook collection, and closing out cums and final progress reports — are more difficult under this public health crisis. As LAUSD developed its Closing the School Year policy memo, UTLA argued for as much time as possible to be given to complete this work, for adherence to safety guidelines consistent with direction from public health authorities, and for alternative arrangements to be available for high-risk staff. 

If safety protocols are not being observed, if members are not being provided with appropriate flexibility, or if administrators are making unreasonable requests or demands, contact your chapter chair, who should then contact UTLA.


What's the deadline for packing up our classrooms and offices?

You have until June 30 this year to pick up your instructional and personal belongings. Until then, nothing in your classroom or office should be touched.
 

What if I can’t clean out my classroom or do my cums because I can’t leave my young children alone?

For members unable to come to school and participate in closing protocols because of a high-risk factor (including childcare issues), the LAUSD policy calls for chapter chairs and administrators to work together to come to an alternative arrangement. Site administrators need to be as collaborative and flexible as possible, and we’ve already heard of creative solutions that some schools are devising.

If educators need assistance mailing out the final progress report, they should refer to the process outlined in the FAQ of the Mark Reporting Guidelines from LAUSD.

 

MATRIX

What  if I don't have my assignment yet for next year?
 
Staffing selections should be completed by this Friday, May 22, per contract language that says teachers should be notified of their tentative assignments no later than 21 calendar days prior to the teacher’s last work day. For issues with assignments, there is a Dispute Resolution process that can be followed (outlined in the Matrix Checklist for Chapter Chairs).
 


BUDGET FIGHT

Is the current economic crisis more severe than the one in 2008?
 
If we look at the numbers, there is every reason to believe this crisis will be far deeper and longer than the recession of 2008. More than 36 million people are unemployed in the US, and 55% of Angelenos do not have a job. Gavin Newsom’s latest budget has a 13% cut to funding for public education at a time when we know that schools will need more money — not less — to open safely and provide students with the extra support they need.
 
In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, LAUSD laid off thousands of educators and UTLA members took furlough days, and we must prepare for the district to try to take the same approach. We have to get in front of this fight before 2008 becomes our new reality. Our coalition of teachers’ unions in seven of the largest cities in the state — San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Berkeley, Richmond, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles — are united behind a joint vision with three key demands:

1 We oppose any cuts and demand a federal bailout for public education and social services.  We will not allow privatization through distance learning.

2 We will vote for the Schools and Communities First initiative in November to raise $11 billion in new money for schools and social services.

3 We demand that the healthcare, economic, housing, and workplace needs of our students and families be met.

The first step of our fight is having every UTLA member sign the Classrooms and Communities Over Cuts joint petition and commit to demanding funding for our schools and the needs of our students. 

Contact your chapter chair about signing the Classrooms and Communities Over Cuts petition to move our fight forward against layoffs and budget cuts.


#UTLAWellnessWednesdays

 

Watch here or click on image above.
 

May is Wellness and Mental Health Awareness month, and the UTLA Wellness Team is hosting a weekly program to help you care for yourself during this pandemic. Today's session featured advice on creating normalcy at home and navigating the work-life balance with UTLA members Norlon Davis, MSW, Pupil Services Attendance Counselor, and Susan Domingo, RN, School Nurse. Connect with us next Wednesday at 8:30 am for our final #UTLAWellnessWednesday Facebook Live session. 



UTLA House of Reps meeting tonight


 
If you are not a member of the UTLA House of Representative but would like to attend the virtual meeting tonight, in lieu of the usual visitors' section you can participate by registering at this link and announcing yourself at the meeting: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUqdOyhrjIoH9yGVxaKpFOYO8xukuecyl0U

 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you have any questions please contact Arlene Inouye at  ainouye@utla.net.


Lots of love at Dolores Street parade

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Dolores Street Elementary put on an inspiring parade in their students' neighborhoods recently. Share your inspiring educator/student videos and photos by tagging @UTLANow — we want to spread the incredible spirit of our education communities.