Presentation on theme: "Protecting the Right to Education in California Information Courtesy Brooks Allen Director of Education Advocacy, ACLU of Southern California."— Presentation transcript:
Protecting the Right to Education in California Information Courtesy Brooks Allen Director of Education Advocacy, ACLU of Southern California
Education is a fundamental right under the California Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled that there is no right to education under the federal Constitution.
[a] general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence [is]... essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people Article IX, Section 1 of the California Constitution Public education is uniquely a fundamental concern of the State and prohibits maintenance and operation of the common public school system in a way which denies basic educational equality to the students." - Butt v. California (1992).
Williams v. California
May 17, 2000 on the 46 th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Class-action lawsuit filed by ACLU, civil rights groups, and attorneys on behalf of students from 18 schools located throughout California. Charged State of California with failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide all students with the bare essentials necessary for education. Charged California with violating state and federal requirements that equal access to education be provided without regard to race, color, or national origin. Press Conference to announce filing of Williams v. California
Lack of Instructional Materials Degraded, Overcrowded, and Unsafe Facilities Lack of Qualified Teachers
Too few textbooks or other necessary instructional materials Outdated, beat-up, or defaced textbooks Lack of lab science equipment No homework due to lack of materials
Broken or nonexistent AC or heating systems; extremely hot or cold classrooms Unrepaired, hazardous facilities, including broken windows, walls, and ceilings; leaky roofs and mold Locked, non-functioning, or disgustingly dirty bathrooms
Vermin infestations Rats, mice, cockroaches, etc.
Water fountains were broken or non-existent Photo shows a water fountain at STF public school in Fall, 2012
Jefferson High School Los Angeles, CA (Picture taken in 2000)
Luther Burbank Middle School San Francisco, CA (Picture taken circa 2000)
Mark Keppel High Monterey Park, CA Luther Burbank Middle School San Francisco, CA
As few as 13% of teachers with full teaching credentials Teacher absences were never filled and students had a long chain of substitute teachers Students learning English had teachers that werent qualified to teach them
Williams v. California Settled August 13, 2004
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrates the settlement with Plantiff Williams
Established standards Created and improved accountability systems Provides $1 billion to help schools meet standards WHAT DID THE WILLIAMS SETTLEMENT DO?
Apply to all schools Sufficient - Each pupil must have a textbook or instructional materials, or both, to use in class and to take home. Good repair requires that the facility is maintained in a manner that assures that it is clean, safe, and functional (Facility Inspection Tool (FIT)) Teacher misassignments and teacher vacancies District self-checks, Williams Complaint Process, COE visits and reviews of decile 1-3 schools THE DECISION IN WILLIAMS
Students, Teachers, Parents & Guardians: Pursuant to California Education Code Section 35186, you are hereby notified that: There should be sufficient textbooks and instructional materials. That means each pupil, including English learners, must have a textbook or instructional materials, or both, to use in class and to take home. School facilities must be clean, safe, and maintained in good repair. There should be no teacher vacancies or misassignments. There should be a teacher assigned to each class and not a series of substitutes or other temporary teachers. The teacher should have the proper credential to teach the class, including the certification required to teach English learners if present. A complaint form may be obtained at the school office, district office, or downloaded from the schools Web site at (Web site address). You may also download a copy of the California Department of Education complaint form from the following Web site: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS POSTER? The Williams settlement requires this notice be posted inside every classroom in California. Everyone has a right to file a complaint if their rights under the case are violated.
Decent Schools for California Williams Case Website
Massive state budget deficits Governors proposed trigger cut would cut $4.8 billion from k-14 schools (per pupil funding cut additional 6%) School year could be reduced by up to 20 days in some school districts– down to 160 school days FAST FORWARD TO NOW
California ranks 46th in spending per pupil Gap grew over last ten years – To reach the national average in per-pupil spending, California would have to spend an additional $17.3 billion on education – thats an increase of 32.1%.
1/3 districts have cut school days – 49% of HS Programs eliminated – summer school (65% of HS at least reduced), counselors, art and music, libraries, professional development, etc. 32% of high schools report reducing tutoring and other after-school support services. WHATS AT STAKE?
California lost 34,000 teachers (11% of all teachers in the State) between and Increasing class sizes... WHATS AT STAKE
California now ranks 50th in in class sizes (The highest number of students per teacher in the country)
In some cases students and families are still asked to pay unconstitutional fees for joining athletic teams, required school activities, uniforms, and mandatory equipment This makes education a commodity for sale, rather than a right for all. It disadvantages students whose families cannot afford to pay. PUBLIC EDUCATION in California is a RIGHT, yet…
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Research & Educate Take Action Local + State Advocacy
Brooks Allen Director of Education Advocacy American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU) 1313 West Eighth Street Los Angeles, CA (213) Information and some images courtesy