Labor, community blasts billionaires, defeats AB 1217

With statewide labor solidarity and community support, the billionaire carve-out bill known as AB 1217 was defeated last week. With strong campaign efforts by UTLA members and allies, including our affiliates, the NAACP, LA County Democratic Party and the state PTA, our message and organizing was powerful enough that the bill was never brought to a vote by the Senate.

AB 1217 was co-authored by State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-San Fernando) and State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), but was propelled by Eli Broad, Mercury PR and the California Charter School Association, to create a publicly funded, but privately operated STEM school in LA that would have bypassed the local School Board, parents and educators. This was a power grab by Broad and a continuation of his “some kids, not all kids” strategy to remove students from public schools and into an unaccountable privatized system.

Late Friday, Sept. 15, the bill was ordered to an “inactive file” at the request of Portantino, the co-author of the bill whose district resides in the San Fernando Valley.

“Many leaders are saying they haven’t seen a coalition act with such precision and energy in Sacramento in a long time,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, President of UTLA. “Investing in our existing STEM schools — not a billionaire carve-out that would take away local control — is how we help equity and access for all students, including students of color and our most underserved students.”

On the same day, another bill UTLA has been organizing support for, AB 1360, which calls for equity, access and due process rights for charter school students, is on its way to Governor Jerry Brown. After passing both houses, Brown is expected to sign it into law, before Oct. 15.

UTLA, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union local, represents more than 35,000 teachers and health & human services professionals who work in the Los Angeles Unified School District and in charter schools.

Media Contact:

Anna Bakalis, UTLA Communications

213-368-6247 (o)

213-305-9654 (m)

abakalis@utla.net<mailto:abakalis@utla.net>

Rally to support STEM schools, defeat ‘boutique’ school bill AB 1217

Rally to support STEM schools, defeat ‘boutique’ school bill AB 1217

Media Contact:
UTLA Director of Communications
Anna Bakalis
213-368-6247 (o)
213-305-9654 (m)
abakalis@utla.net<mailto:abakalis@utla.net>

Rally to support STEM schools, defeat ‘boutique’ school bill AB 1217

LOS ANGELES – Educators, students, parents and graduates of district STEM schools will rally tomorrow at 4 PM on the front steps of Helen Bernstein High School, home of a successful STEM program, to call out Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra and State Senator Anthony Portantino and their proposed AB 1217 bill that would give away local control to a boutique, privately-run STEM school in downtown LA.

Assembly Bill 1217 is a secretive, last-minute bill to create a publicly funded but privately operated STEM school, bypassing the local School Board, parents, and educators. If approved, it would take about 800 students from LAUSD but would not operate under the district’s purview. Citing accountability and funding concerns, the California Department of Finance opposes AB 1217. The bill would take away essential per-pupil funding and resources from the 142 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs already run in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The backers of the bill include Billionaire Eli Broad for years has bankrolled various “some kids, not all kids” schemes to kill the public education system that serves all students in favor of unregulated, unaccountable charter school operators. Ironically, Broad and his cohorts, like the California Charter Schools Association, just spent millions of dollars to buy the LA School Board election — and now he is driving a heavy-handed attempt to circumvent the same board just a few months later. Read LA Times story.Read More Here

Monday’s protest follows a recent campus visit from newly elected board member Nick Melvoin, who praised the STEM @ Bernstein. The visit was then followed by a board vote to undercut funding at that same school, which is in his district. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the LAUSD School Board voted 4-3 against George McKenna’s resolution opposing AB 1217. Divisive politics is what Nick Melvoin claimed to be avoiding as he voted along party lines, upholding the ‘billionaire bloc’ vote to deny local opposition to the state bill.

Read Capital and Main story. Read story here

PRESS AVAILABILITY

What: Rally against AB 1217
When: Monday, Aug. 28, 4 p.m. To 5 p.m.
Where: STEM @ Bernstein High School
1309 N. Wilton Place
Los Angeles CA 90028

UTLA, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union local, represents more than 35,000 teachers and health & human services professionals who work in the Los Angeles Unified School District and in charter schools.
www.utla.net<http://www.utla.net/>

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