California Teachers Association Statement - March 2001

The California Teachers Association adopted the following statement at the State Council meeting of March 24-25, 2001. This statement was the work of several Council committees and was adopted with the support of the executive officers.

The three paragraphs of rationale are all based on existing CTA policy. The thirteen bullets lay out a legislative agenda.

CTA reiterates its firm opposition to the imposition of sanctions against schools in the Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program (II/USP). CTA believes that the root causes of low performance can be found in the underfunding of these schools, inequitable allocation of resources, concentrations of emergency permit teachers, vast disparities in socio-economic conditions and students' English language development among other factors.

Until there is significant leveling of the playing field for these schools, quick fix ideas such as sanctions on schools and school employees are unwarranted and unjustified.

Just as good pedagogy tells us that positive reinforcement is more productive than negative sanctions, positive support for these schools that specifically targets the educational needs of students, teachers and their communities will lead to real and steady school improvement.

To that end, CTA supports legislation that:
* Provides adequate financial support for all schools
* Calls for the elimination of emergency permits and encourages and supports teachers with emergency permits to obtain full credentials
* Deals with over-crowding in schools
* Provides a safe and clean school and classroom for each student
* Provides effective, fully funded intervention programs for students beyond the instructional day
* Provides resources for professional development programs for all education professionals that are ongoing, long-term needs-based, and directed by those being served
* Develops community services focused on schools that promote parental support and involvement for schools and classes
* Repeals legislation that proposes forcing sanctions on schools labeled "underperforming"
* Creates an effective assessment program based on multiple measures of student and school performance that has the confidence of the public and education professionals
* Provides reduced class sizes throughout grades K-12
* Provides additional support and services to English language learners and their parents at these schools
* Addresses the recruitment and retention of credentialed teachers in low performing schools
* Provides a full range of counseling and support services to all students.