March 23, 2011 The environment in Sacramento is top of mind this year for the California charter school community. This year's election resulted in a massive shuffling of the deck chairs: Jerry Brown newly elected as Governor, again; Tom Torlakson newly elected as State Superintendent of Public Instruction; many new freshmen legislators, elected as a result of term limits; and other new elected and appointed officials who have some influence on charter schools. This has created a climate of uncertainty for charter schools in Sacramento. One of Governor Brown's first efforts, for example, was to remake the composition of the State Board of Education, moving from a Board that has been predictable for charter schools to one whose policy perspectives are unknown.
CCSA has traditionally featured Regional Meetings, hosted in conjunction with the Annual California Charter Schools Conference, but this year's focus was a novel call to action to begin to engage the charter schools community broadly in the essential work of protecting and promoting charter school interests in the state's capital.
The Association's President and CEO, Jed Wallace, and staff from the Government Affairs and Statewide Advocacy teams delivered a strong but sobering message to the membership that we need to engage in Sacramento, as a movement, in new and profound ways in order to ensure that we maintain everything we have worked to obtain over the 20-year life of the charter schools movement in California. CCSA staff delivered the message about the depth of the state's current budget crisis, the uphill challenges in the state's legislature for charter-favorable legislation, and in general the need to become actively involved.
These meetings signaled a call to action for the California charter school movement. We intend to impact the dynamic in Sacramento by building stronger relations with legislators and other state-level officials, but we cannot do it without our members. You can become engaged by:
- Attending CCSA Advocacy Day at the Capitol on May 4, in conjunction with National Charter Schools Week, where you will visit with influential legislators to discuss your school's program and issues that are important to you as a charter school leaders
- Join us for a visit with your local legislator(s) in their home office
- Work with us to schedule a school site visit for your local legislator(s)
- Diligently read the Capitol Update and the Weekly Member Digest for critical information on activities in Sacramento impacting charter schools that may need your help
- Participate assertively in our calls to action on budget and legislative matters in Sacramento
Members, stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks from your Regional Director on how you can best get involved. You are also encouraged to reach out proactively to your Regional Director or to the Government Affairs team.