April 2021 State Council Report

Policy updates:

CTA recommends that full-day kindergarten be compulsory by age five (5). CTA recommends that a full year of Kindergarten be a necessary prerequisite for advancement to 1st grade. The minimum age for entrance into full-day kindergarten shall be age five (5) by September 1st.

RATIONALE: ECE remains at the forefront of the Governor’s priorities. The ECE committee needs policy to address transitional kindergarten and kindergarten issues and upcoming changes in education.

COVID updates:

CTA was instrumental in pushing for all educators to be vaccinated and, ultimately, Governor Newsome reserved 10% of vaccines for school employees. The committee also discussed the recent survey of California Voters and Parents on Reopening Schools. Parents and voters are feeling better as case rates have dropped and vaccines are available. Key findings included: Parents are satisfied with their children’s education this year and support the decisions by their local districts on when and how to reopen schools. Parents continue to prioritize safety with 75% supporting keeping students safe over getting students back into classrooms as soon as possible. This is especially true in communities of color. And parents trust educators – even more than Dr. Fauci – when it comes to making reopening decisions. For everything COVID related and resources to share, visit cta.org/for-educators/covid19.

It’s up to all of us to remain aware of COVID-19 safety as we begin to return to school campuses. If you find or suspect a violation or unsafe situation at your school, notify your chapter president, report it to the California Department of Public Health “Safe Schools for All” Report a COVID Concern website, and work with your CTA primary contact staff to determine whether a Cal/OSHA complaint is warranted and to follow through if appropriate.

Finally, don’t forget about the recently signed SB95,  which provides a new 80 hours of Covid leave effective January 1, 2021.

Testing updates:

After receiving thousands of emails and a CTA petition with over 60,000 signatures, in March the State Board of Education unanimously voted to apply to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for additional flexibility for state testing in schools in spring 2021, allowing districts to use their own local assessments to measure students’ growth and needs. This would put decisions on testing where it should be: in the hands of local educators, parents, and communities.  Ultimately, while the U.S. Education Department didn’t suspend testing, after hearing testimony and input from CTA, the State Board of Education voted to allow for flexibility in conducting testing this Spring. School districts can now utilize local assessments in place of state standardized tests to meet the federal requirement. This is a big victory for students and educators across the state. Parents still have the right to opt out of state-mandated standardizing testing for their child. Look for a story, including a timeline of events, in the next educator about our testing waiver efforts.

California Department of Education (CDE) websites:

CDE webpage with 2021 Spring Assessment Administration Guidance and FAQs https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca/covid19assessmentfaq.asp CDE 2021

Spring Assessment Administration Flexibility Guidelines flyer https://drive.google.com/file/d/19kTp1tDEl0aLbSSLnzL5_6Q7mLAWXgZK/view?usp =sharing

CDE news release celebrating approval of waiver requests by the DOE https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr21/yr21rel26.asp

Retirement updates – Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision from the Social Security Act:

Robert V Rodriguez, from the NEA Executive Committee, appeared before the retirement committee to  advocate that members of CTA not only address the issue within the state, but also reach out to those they know in other states to make people aware of the unfair impacts of these harmful laws. Congress currently has a bill HR 82 to accomplish repeal this injustice to public servants. Become an advocate by going to this site and joining with others to urge Congress to act – https://educationvotes.nea.org/issues-and-actions/. To get updates on the status of this important legislation please follow this link – https://educationvotes.nea.org/issue/retirement-security/.


2021 Special Education Conference – Home Edition!

CTA is excited to announce our inaugural Special Education Conference – Home Edition! This first ever conference has been created specifically for CTA members working in either general education or special education. This brand-new online event will have sessions and workshops that were designed to meet the changing and demanding needs of our members as they work to support, educate and serve all students regardless of their circumstance or situation.

The theme of the 2021 CTA Special Education Conference – Home Edition! is Kaleidoscope. Just as the view through the kaleidoscope lens produces different images and patterns, this conference will provide you with new and timely learnings, models and inspiration that will fortify and strengthen you as you work to meet the needs of the students and families in your community.

The Special Education Conference – Home Edition! will offer a variety of workshops focused on core special education topics including instruction, identification, IEPs, behavior, and more. Some session highlights include:

  • IEPs Untangled: How to Write IEPs like a Pro in Half the Time
  • Dyslexia in the Classroom: A Teachers Guide to Signs and Accommodations
  • UDL, Inclusion and Collaboration: Expanding Access for All Students
  • Mild to Moderate Instructional Strategies
  • Transition: A Scope in Sequence
  • Trauma, Stress, and Behaviors, Oh My!

Keynote speakers include Heather Calomese, the Director of the Special Education Division at the California Department of Education, and Brian Donovan, the Director/Producer of the award-winning feature film Kelly’s HollywoodKelly’s Hollywood will be available to conference attendees to view in advance of his keynote address on Friday evening.

Your experience at the Special Education Conference is equal parts educational and transformational. You’ll learn new skills and find solutions to real-life challenges. You’ll leave the conference feeling inspired, motivated and with a knowledge of what you need to do to be even more successful in your classroom.

Register for the conference here!

Other upcoming conferences:

The California School Nurses Organization is hosting a COVID-19 conversation. The next one is on April 21, 2021. Go to https://www.csno.org/ for more information.

The California Educators for the Deaf are holding four webinars between 4/21 and 4/24. The topics being presented are: Elevating Families, Strengthening Deaf Child’s Bill Of Rights, Spotlighting Agents of Change in Deaf Education, Embracing a New Era In Deaf Education. To register go to: https://cal-ed.org/GoVirtual

The California Kindergarten Association is hosting virtual PD from 3/24-4/28. Check out the lineup and dates here: https://californiakindergartenassociation.org/professional-developmentworkshops/ . Members can earn university credit also.

The California Association of School Psychologists is accepting nominations for three $1,000 scholarships for outstanding school psychologists and students going into school psychology. Nominations for all three are due June 30. Visit https://casponline.org/awards/ for more information.

Clovis Educators:

Educators in Clovis Unified are building a strong and democratic union to ensure that their voices are heard and respected when decisions are made that impact our students and our schools.  Please like their Facebook page and check out their website!


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