Ten California teachers — several of them from Orange County — are suing in federal court to stop mandatory union dues. The lawsuit seeks to expand last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision involving union activity in a California special election.
California law allows public employees to decide whether to have union representation for collective bargaining, which requires members to pay dues. The dues are used to finance union activities, which sometimes includes political lobbying.
The lawsuit, filed by ten California teachers against their state and local unions and national advocacy groups, seeks to change that. Michael Carvin, lead attorney for the teachers, said: "We’re not attacking unions. We are attacking the union’s ability to coerce people ... to give money."
Union members are allowed to ask unions for a refund on the portion of dues spent on political activities. The teachers essentially want to opt-in to such dues, not have to opt-out after the fact.
Kids eat lunch at Jardín de Niños in Lincoln Heights. The program provide multi-lingual early education to low-income families.
Should under-nourished students be allowed to eat in the classroom? The issue became a hot topic this week after Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy passed on making a decision, putting the future of a pilot breakfast program into the hands of the school board.
The program was launched last year after LAUSD discovered that only 29 percent of children eligible for free breakfast were eating before school in the cafeteria.
Nevertheless, teachers say that it takes away from instructional time and leaves a clean-up nightmare.
Science Experiment: One of two stories looking at science in the schools – from pre-K to high school. Click here to read Part 1: RELATED: New science standards hard sell at cash-strapped Sylmar High School (Photos).
Yet MacDonald’s experience in early education taught her that children have vastly more potential for learning than adults believe – and she felt that fact-based standards like learning your ABCs didn’t go far enough. So she set out to revamp them.
As she searched for a theme for the schools on campus, which at the time served 93 infants, toddlers and preschoolers, she chose science.
"We try to create a culture of inquiry and foster asking a question,” said MacDonald, who likes to call her preschoolers “pre-scientists.”
Science Experiment: One of two stories looking at science in the schools – from pre-K to high school. Click here to read Part 2: UCLA Preschool and the California Science Center museum help turn kids into "pre-scientists."
Ronald Hitchcock has been teaching science at Sylmar High School for more than a decade. He's seen a lot of changes, but perhaps nothing has hit the school harder than the news last fall that it lost a $3.5 million QEIA grant.
"We're pretty cash strapped right now," he said. "The budget for the science department is usually in the $20,000 to $25,000 range for consumables and in reality this year we have just about $5,000."
Hitchcock has been following the development of new K-12 science standards, released by California and 25 other states earlier this month. He's excited about the potential of the new standards and likes their hands-on approach to learning.
On Monday LA Unified board member Bennet Kayser called for improvements to the school district’s one-year old Breakfast in the Classroom program, not its elimination.
The statement was prompted by a move by Superintendent John Deasy to put to a vote of the school board the future of a program that's the first project of LA Fund For Public Education, founded by Deasy and an LA philanthropist. The program has fed more than 200,000 students at a third of the district’s schools by moving federally-funded breakfast into the first 15 minutes of the school day
In a written statement, Kayser said an audit earlier this year of the Breakfast in the Classroom program returned a list of things worth fixing but did not propose the program’s elimination. The audit found that some clean-up procedures weren’t followed and that time allotted to eat the breakfast was exceeded by 5 to 30 minutes.