TEAPAC FIRST FRIDAY BREAKFAST FORUM Making California Golden Again: Taking California into the 21st Century

Over the next ten months, we will be hosting presentations from policy experts to look at where we are, where we have been and where we need to go in California in the 21st Century.

 

Please Join us for a presentation by Former California Democratic State Senator Gloria Romero Co-Founder, Executive Director 

Scholarship Prep Charter School   March 3, 2017

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"The State of Education in California in 2017"  

When TEAPAC began over seven years ago, we sought to elect candidates - - mostly Republican - - who would enact the Tea Party agenda of lower taxes, reduced debt, reduced spending, fiscal responsibility and limited, constitutional government.  But we learned early on that the party divide on our values is not clearly Republican vs. Democrat.  We found wide, truly non-partisan support for our values with voters from both major parties, and we discovered to our chagrin that it is the POLITICIANS and elites on both sides of the aisle who oppose us.  TEAPAC eventually abandoned its efforts to work with candidates of either party.  Instead we decided that we would work with any and all Californians through the initiative process on key non-partisan issues.  It is in this spirit that we are thrilled to announce our next speaker who is truly a courageous, passionate, dedicated individual.  She leads by example and, for that reason alone, is worthy of our support. 

Senator Gloria Romero is Founder and Strategic Planner of the California Center for Parent Empowerment, she is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Scholarship Prep Charter School in Santa Ana, California and remains a Full Professor at California State University, Los Angeles.  She has been a dynamic advocate for education reform and civil rights. 

Senator Romero led the way in championing California's reform legislation in Race to the Top and was the author of the Parent Open Empowerment Act (popularly referred to as the Parent Trigger and Romero Open Enrollment Act law).

Senator Romero (Ret.) was elected to the 24th Senate district in 2001, representing East Los Angeles and the greater San Gabriel Valley.  She was elected to serve as Senate Democratic Caucus Chair and as Senate Majority Leader - the first woman to ever hold that leadership position in the history of the California State Senate.  Prior to serving in the Senate, she held the post of Majority Whip in the California State Assembly from 1998 to 2000 and served on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees from 1995 to 1998 and the Los Angeles Elected Charter Reform Commission in 1998.

Senator Romero served as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education, and the Chair of Public Safety.  She believes that education is the civil rights issue of our time.  States Romero, "My mother had a sixth grade education; I have a Ph.D.  I understand the transformational power of education and the key it holds to accessing the American Dream."

Senator Romero is the product of California's public education system.  She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and has taught at every level of higher education.

 

The TEAPAC Team 

 

Reminder Email:

It is clear that Sen. Romero is an overt advocate for School Choice in all its forms.  We highly recommend the following 2014 Orange County Register article by Sen. Romero in which she argues that America faces an unprecedented crisis in our education system due to lack of educational choices for over 49 million students and their parents nationwide.  She points out that at the time of writing this article nearly three out of four high school seniors could not write proficiently; American students ranked 17th among 27 nations in science and 25th of 27 in math; and fewer than 47 percent of Americans graduate from college.   

Meanwhile, the growth of the School Choice movement, once considered for "whites only" but is now increasingly embraced by African-American and Latino parents, has been remarkable.  She discusses this growth and the breadth and depth of our movement.  "In a free nation, giving parents the right to become the architects of their children's educational future is key . . . education truly is the key to the American Dream." 

Article The Orange County Register Opinion January 7, 2014 Gloria Romero: School Choice Week puts spotlight on optionsBy GLORIA ROMERO / Register columnist

ROMERO / Register columnist

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MCT ILLUSTRATION

America's education system long has lacked robust choices for parents. Consequently, we face an unprecedented crisis in educational quality. Consider these statistics:

• Nearly three of four high school seniors cannot write proficiently;

• American students rank 17th among 27 nations in science and 25th of 27 in math;

• Fewer than 47 percent of Americans graduate from college.

Against that backdrop, parents are laying plans for the celebration of National School Choice Week, starting Jan. 26. School-choice supporters will embark on a 3,800-mile whistle-stop train tour to galvanize public support for educational choice. “From suffrage to civil rights, whistle-stop tours brought people together. Education is no different; families deserve the freedom to choose the best education environments for their children,” said Andrew Campanella, who is spearheading the 2014 effort.

By most estimates, approximately 49 million students nationwide lack educational choice options. Nonetheless, the growth of school choice has been remarkable. There are about 2.3 million students attending 6,000 charter schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2.5 million students attend magnet schools, and 29 states offer full-time virtual schools. About 254,000 students utilize 48 private school choice programs in 23 states and Washington, D.C., including voucher programs in 13 states and the District of Columbia, tax credit scholarship programs in 13 states and one state with an education savings-accounts. Some 19 private school choice programs were either initiated or expanded in 2013.

Generally speaking, there are six types of school choice options: high-performing traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, virtual (online) schools and home schools. California was an early leader in establishing public charter schools. Washington's voters approved a charter school initiative just last year – two decades after California, and interests led by the Washington teachers unions are challenging the election outcome. Forty other states support charter schools, and four times as many public charter schools are operating now as there were in 2000. Twenty-nine states allow full-time virtual or online schools. Sadly, California – home of Silicon Valley – has been slow in this area.

While California offers a limited variety of school choice options, ZIP code still remains the default mechanism for education assignment utilized by most school districts. Some districts, however, are experimenting with ending ZIP code-based education. Demand is high to expand options throughout California, but the demand far outstrips the supply. For example, 50,000 students are on charter school waiting lists.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the school-choice movement is the demand for the availability of opportunity scholarships – also known as tuition vouchers – and scholarship and tuition tax credits. Once depicted as a “whites only” movement, African-American and Latino parents increasingly are embracing the demand to be free to transfer their children out of chronically underperforming schools. ZIP code-education and the unequal outcomes it inevitably represents is being litigated across the nation, similar to the civil-rights fight against redlining and inequitable access to housing loans and fair banking practices based solely on ZIP code.

In a free nation, giving parents the right to become the architects of their children's educational futures is key. The whistle-stop tour underscores our nation's understanding that education truly is the key to the American Dream.

Register opinion columnist Gloria Romero is an education reformer and former Democratic state senator from Los Angeles. Email: Gloria@parentempower.org

 

 

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