Entries by Gloria Romero

Orange County Labor Federation Joins Effort to Misinform School Parents

Santa Ana Unified is California’s sixth-largest school district. Only 28 percent of SAUSD tested students scored at basic levels of reading proficiency – and just 19 percent in mathematics. SAUSD has more failing schools – and a higher percentage of failing schools – than any other Orange County district. Increasingly, parents are leaving SAUSD and […]

Anaheim City Elementary School District Should Stop Thwarting Parents

It didn’t take long for Anaheim City School District’s trustees to snub Orange County Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks’ July 16 ruling that the district had unlawfully rejected the reform effort, supported by almost 67 percent of Palm Lane Elementary School’s parents, to restart the chronically underperforming school. Not only had Judge Banks issued the […]

Glazer Victory Proves Government Union Reform Is Bipartisan

Steve Glazer is a symbol of change. The Democrat mayor of Orinda, Glazer, won a decisive victory over Concord Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla in last week’s special election for the vacant 7th District State Senate seat. Given California’s open primary system, it was a Democrat vs. Democrat runoff in which Glazer’s foes resorted to attacking him […]

Union Controlled Anaheim School Board Forces Parent Activists to Fight in Court

Over 40 years ago, California’s Supreme Court recognized that a child’s access to an adequate education – regardless of race, ethnicity or wealth – is a fundamental right of the highest order. In Serrano v. Priest the Court affirmed “education is a major determinant of an individual’s chances for economic and social success in our […]

Union Controlled Legislature Continues Assault on Charter Schools

When it comes to dealing with California’s successful, independent charter schools, powerful, monied special interests – and the lawmakers they fund – prefer a twist on the adage “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Their version: If you can’t beat them, destroy them. This was manifested last month when four Democratic lawmakers trumpeted their introduction […]

California Democrat Goes Rogue, Incurs Government Union Wrath

It didn’t take long for “the brotherhood” of status quo politics to pile on. Within hours of former Assembly member Joan Buchanan having lost her election bid for Northern California’s 7th Senate District seat in last week’s special election to fill the vacancy, she endorsed labor-embraced and fellow Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord. Together, they […]

Union Monopoly on California's Public Education Remains Largely Unbroken

Just after Groundhog Day last week, the Brookings Institution released its annual Education Choice and Competition Index report, grading 110 school districts on the degree to which they empower parents with easily accessible, broadly available, publicly funded school choices and the degree to which the choice system results in greater access to quality schools. The […]

Parents Fight Union to Reform Failing Schools in Anaheim

November’s electoral outcomes at both the Anaheim City Council and Anaheim City School Board provide a potentially refreshing new start for transforming chronically underperforming city schools while simultaneously opening the door to a new era of respect for parents leading these efforts. The potential arises because two long-serving ACSB members will no longer oversee responsibility […]

Los Angeles Unified School District bid to dodge Parent Trigger Law fails

The California Senate Legislative Counsel issued last week a sweeping opinion, concluding a controversy as to whether a school district – Los Angeles Unified, in this case – can proclaim itself exempt from California’s historic Parent Trigger law, which enables parents of kids in chronically underperforming schools to transform it if a majority of parents […]

Union-dues case moves closer to Supreme Court

Sometimes you win by losing. That’s precisely what occurred last week, when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the motion by Rebecca Friedrichs’ attorneys to decide her case (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association) on the basis of the pleadings, without a trial or additional oral arguments. The “loss” actually means that plaintiffs – […]

Election Lessons for Education Reformers

Results from the Nov. 4 yielded both hits and misses regarding prospects for advancing education reform in the Golden State, along with a few immediate lessons: Understand your fight You can’t buy elections – especially the obscure post of superintendent of Public Instruction, a constitutional office created seemingly to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary […]

Anaheim Teachers Union Intimidates Their Members

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher and president of California Teachers Empowerment Network, summarized it succinctly: “Ah, the commissar has spoken from on high!” The “commissar” is none other than the president of the Anaheim Elementary Education Association, Kristen Fisher, who dispatched an email to dues-paying union members on Oct. 6. It seems that Fisher […]

Vergara Education Reform Lawsuit Emulated in Other States

The Vergara lawsuit – in which nine children successfully challenged the constitutionality of key California teacher employment and dismissal provisions – has gone national. Amid much pomp, Students Matter, the nonprofit fundingVergara, announced support for a similar challenge, Davids v. New York. Since then, peculiar things have occurred: Both Students Matter and the high-profile law firm Gibson, Dunn […]

Race for California Governor Should Emphasize Education Reform

On Thursday, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown will face off against Republican challenger Neel Kashkari in their only scheduled debate. Although Kashkari asked for 10 debates, Brown chose to do just one. Undoubtedly, a slew of issues will be discussed, from economic policy, including taxation and tax credits, to border security and immigration, earthquake preparedness, California’s […]

Being Open About Financial Support is the Smartest Policy

I recently admonished former U.S. Department of Education undersecretary Diane Ravitch for making what I considered sexist remarks seeking to discredit former CNN journalist Campbell Brown’s credibility on education issues. Brown founded New York’s Parent Transparency Project and is championing the newly formed Partnership for Educational Justice, dedicated to supporting the latest challenge to overturn […]

Shine Light On Low-Performing Schools

What do Barack Obama, William Jefferson Clinton, George Washington, Sonia Sotomayor, Cesar Chavez, Carlos Santana and John Muir have in common? Each has a chronically underperforming California school named for him or her. Sadly, following the celebratory ribbon-cuttings, these schools have been left to languish on state-identified “watch lists.” Disturbed by these lists and the […]

California's "Open Enrollment Act" Empowers Students to Transfer Out of Underperforming Schools

Have you ever wanted to know if your child is attending a chronically underperforming school? Well, start spreading the word: the list is out. Due to a law I wrote while serving in the California Senate, the 2010 Open Enrollment Act identifies the 1,000 chronically underperforming schools in California and empowers parents of kids enrolled […]

Momentum Shifts in Fight to Fire Bad Teachers

Thank you, Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor on Thursday sided with California parents seeking to protect their children from sexual predators in the classroom, over the interests of the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers seeking to protect their members by circumventing and defeating the most significant lawsuit – Vergara vs. California […]

Orwellian Reinterpretation of Desegregation Fuels Federal Attack on School Vouchers

Even as the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, commemorated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I have a dream speech” in Washington, D.C., his Department of Justice petitioned a federal court to halt the use of Opportunity Scholarships enacted by the Louisiana Legislature on behalf of predominantly minority children. […]

The Public Employee Union Chokehold on California

I created a stir last year when I — the former Democratic Senate majority leader — endorsed Proposition 32, the ballot initiative that would have reigned in special interests, including enabling union members to bypass their own union executive boards and make their own choices as to how to direct their own union dues for […]

Public pension data belongs to the public

What goes up must come down. That’s precisely what happened – in record-setting time – when the California Public Employees Retirement System, the state employees’ pension agency, attempted to provide to the public information about its retirees’ pensions and making it accessible to the public on the CalPERS’ website. The need for pension reform has […]

Union-backed teacher discipline bill inadequate

No one was surprised last week when the California Assembly passed Assembly Bill 375, which, allegedly, makes it easier to discipline and fire teachers accused of misconduct. The bill, which now is pending in the state Senate, is supported by the California Teachers Association, which was criticized for having defeated past efforts to streamline teacher […]

Union Refusal to Protect Students Costs LAUSD Millions

Los Angeles Unified School District, the state’s largest district and largest recipient of the Proposition 30 tax increases, figures to be writing a big check soon. Unfortunately, this check won’t be going to support math, reading or arts programs. Rather, the money, $30 million, would go to settle 58 legal claims filed against LAUSD related […]

Santa Ana Unified School District turns poor kids’ meal fund into cash cow

Unmistakable signs of trouble existed in Santa Ana Unified School District’s food-service program long before they were cited. According to the state Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes, district officials had been warned – in writing and in person. The warnings were simply ignored, and had been for years. Now, SAUSD has been ordered to […]