The Sacramento County Office of Education did the right thing when its
governing board approved five public charter schools focused on closing the achievement gap for the region’s most vulnerable students.
More than 1 in 3 African American children drop out in Sacramento County and 60 percent of African American students in grades K-8 never learn to read, write or do mathematics at grade level. So setting up charter schools based on an academic program that has been successful in eliminating the achievement gap for African American students was a smart idea. But now the California Teachers Association is threatening legal action to block the schools from opening and some county school board members are getting cold feet.
On Tuesday, May 10th the Sacramento County School Board is considering a proposal to tax the charter school petitioners (a non-profit organization and 120 parents) with the legal bills to defend the county school board’s decision to approve the charter petition against a CTA lawsuit.
This proposal is wrong. The county school board made the right decision when it approved the charter schools to close the African American achievement gap. The board should defend its decision against the CTA or anyone else.
So, what is CTA’s issue anyway? Well, they don’t like charter schools or the African American woman who proposed them in this case. Her name is Margaret Fortune. She’s a well known education reformer who has fought for education equity in the past, besting the CTA. As a result, the CTA views her as an enemy along with other African American leaders in education reform. The CTA strategy is to tie Fortune and the county up with frivolous lawsuits costing them time and money. Meanwhile, African American and other underserved children hang in the balance dropping out of school and into prison.
Charter schools – considered an avenue to school reform by the Obama administration—are sprouting everywhere including a record 115 in California this year. The CTA wants to preserve the way things are and they will stop at nothing to block change, even if it hurts kids.
Take action now, CUT & PASTE the letter below and
e-mail Sacramento County Board of Education by emailing the Trustees below and CTA President, David Sanchez in doing the right thing on May 10, 2011.
EMAIL THE SACRAMENTO COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION - TRUSTEES
Harold Fong, President:
Brian Cooley, Vice President:
Dear Trustee, On May 10, 2011, you will consider the Fortune School MOU. I am writing to ask you to strike the language that would require Fortune School to pay your legal bills to defend your decision to approve the Fortune School charter petition. You did the right thing in approving this charter school system to address the achievement gap in Sacramento County. Thank you for your courage. Now, I urge you to stand behind your decision and defend it. California’s African American community is aware that the CTA has threatened you with a lawsuit. Please stand-up for the most vulnerable children in our state and stand your ground. That means defending your decision against any challenge, including the CTA’s. Thank you for listening.
EMAIL CTA PRESIDENT, DAVID SANCHEZ
Dear Mr. Sanchez, I am a concerned member of the African American community. I am writing to ask the CTA to please stop blocking school reform designed to improve black student achievement. Our children are dropping out in record numbers. Organizations like Fortune School are making a difference in the African American community. They are opening schools to close the achievement gap for all students. We understand you have threatened the Sacramento County Board of Education with a lawsuit to try and prevent Fortune School from opening charter schools in Sacramento. This is wrong. We will resist your drive to protect the status quo. We are asking you to stand down.
Thank you for listening.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact (916) 924-8633