“Parents! Students! Read this guide to find out how to ensure that your schools get the books, teachers, and clean facilities that all students deserve. A great resource to create change.” ~Abdi Soltani, Executive Director, ACLU of Northern California “This guide is a useful resource for anyone who cares about public education. The stories it highlights are examples of democracy in action – parents, students, and community members making their voices heard to reform schools in the communities that need it most.” ~Amanda Broun, Senior Vice President, Public Education Network
Praise for Your Schools, Your Rights, Your Power
“Parents! Students! Read this guide to find out how to ensure that your schools get the books, teachers, and clean facilities that all students deserve. A great resource to create change.”
~Abdi Soltani, Executive Director, ACLU of Northern California
“This guide is a useful resource for anyone who cares about public education. The stories it highlights are examples of democracy in action – parents, students, and community members making their voices heard to reform schools in the communities that need it most.”
~Amanda Broun, Senior Vice President, Public Education Network
- Your Schools, Your Rights, Your Power: A Grassroots Guide to Effective Williams Campaigns April 2009
- A Teacher is Key: Using the Williams Settlement to Monitor Teacher Quality March 2007
- Williams complaint process brochure, in English and Español
- Williams v. California: The Statewide Impact of Two Years of Implementation August 2007
- The Williams v. California Settlement: The First Year of Implementation November 2005
- Williams v. California: Hope and Confidence for Students and Parents Fall 2007 Article
www.decentschools.org – Additional information about the Williams v. Californiacase and settlement, including documents filed with the court, expert reports, and clean-up legislation.
www.cde.ca.gov/eo/ce/wc/ – California Department of Education page devoted to implementation of the Williams Settlement.
http://www.opsc.dgs.ca.gov/Programs/SABPrograms/default.htm – California Office of Public School Construction page with information about the Emergency Repair Program and the Facility Inspection Tool used by county offices of education and school districts to determine whether or not a school facility meets the Williams “good repair” standard.
Outreach & Training
- The Williams Complaint Process: Simple Steps to Enforce Your Rights (English): Brochure about the Williams complaint process.
- Proceso Para Presentar Una Queja Williams: Pasos Sencillos Para Hacer Cumplir Sus Derechos (Español): Folleto sobre el proceso de quejas.
- Telling Our Stories: AYPAL, Youth Together, & PUME: 5 minute video featuring youth from Oakland and parents from Huron sharing their experiences working on a Williams campaign.
- Sample Short Presentation on Williams: Developed by Californians for Justice, this curriculum is a 30-minute brief introduction to Williams designed to get people interested in joining a Williams campaign. Appropriate for classroom use.
- Sample PowerPoint Presentation on Williams: Adapt this training to fit the needs of your organization. Please contact Public Advocates if you would like assistance developing a Williams campaign training or are interested in attending a train-the-trainers session about the Williams complaint process. Español
- Sign-in Sheet: Use this sign-in sheet at your Williams training for keeping track of potential new members and following up with participants later to collect complaints.
- Williams Background Information: One page description of the Williams v. California case and settlement.
- Sample Williams Classroom Notice: A notice like this should be posted in every classroom in your school. Speak up to your principal if it is not there!
Identifying Williams Issues at Your School
- Facility Inspection Worksheet (English): After training your members on the types of facilities problems covered by Williams, this easy-to-use two page worksheet will guide members in inspecting the condition of their school facility and identifying Williams issues.
- Formulario Para Inspección de Instalaciones Escolares (Español):Después de haber capacitado a sus miembros sobre los tipos de problemas de instalaciones escolares cubiertas por Williams, usted puede usar este formulario para guiar su inspección sobre las condiciones en la escuela y para identificar otros problemas relacionados con Williams.
- Facility Inspection Tool (FIT): This worksheet, developed by California’s Office of Public School Construction, must be used by districts to conduct their own self-evaluations of whether each school in the district is in “good repair” (i.e., clean, safe, and functional). The FIT is also used by county offices of education to inspect facility conditions in the state’s lowest-performing schools. It gives a detailed list of the types of building conditions to be on the lookout for as you inspect your school.
- Facility Inspection Tool Guidebook: Produced by the California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH), this is a more technical guide to inspecting school facilities. Refer to it as questions arise in your inspections.
- Sample Public Records Act Request: The California Public Records Act (Cal. Gov’t Code § 6250 et seq.) allows any member of the public to request documents held by public agencies, including school districts. Use this sample letter to request information on the names of teachers at your school and the courses they are assigned to teach. You will need this information to determine whether or not teachers at your school are “misassigned.”
- California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Web Site: Allows you to look up a teacher’s credential.
- A Teacher Is Key: Using the Williams Settlement to Monitor Teacher Quality: Use this Public Advocates’ guide to help you determine whether or not a teacher has the proper credential to teach the class s/he is assigned to teach.
- The Administrator’s Assignment Manual: Published by the CTC, this is the document principals and district “Human Resources” directors refer to when they need guidance on whether or not a teacher is properly credentialed to teach a particular class. This manual is very technical, but may be useful if you want to arm yourself with the same information that school officials have.
- CDE’s Frequently Asked Questions: California Department of Education FAQ about instructional materials, including the requirement that districts hold a public hearing within the first eight weeks of the school year to determine whether or not all students in the district have sufficient textbooks and instructional materials.
- CDE’s Instructional Materials Survey Forms: California Department of Education survey forms, which list standards-aligned textbooks and instructional materials that have been adopted by the State Board of Education for grades k-8. Most districts choose to adopt some of the books on this list for use at the district level, a requirement for qualifying for state instructional materials funding. NOTE: Look on your school district’s web site, or contact your district’s Instructional Materials Department, to obtain the list of the textbooks and instructional materials adopted by your district.
School Accountability Report Cards
- Find out about SARCs and Read your school’s School Accountability Report Card (SARC) to learn more about the resources available at your child’s school.
- Williams Complaint Form (English): Fill out this one-page form to file aWilliams complaint.
- Formulario Para Presentar Una Queja Williams (Español): Llene este formulario para presentar una queja.
- Sample Complaint Tracker: Adapt this spreadsheet to keep track of the complaints you have filed and the responses you have received.
- Sample Press Release: If you want the media to cover your Williams campaign, here’s a sample press release from the Huron campaign to guide you in writing your own. NOTE: A press strategy will have implications for your relationships with school officials.
- Sample Timeline for Campaign Event Planning: A checklist to help you plan ahead and get organized for a major press event, developed by Californians for Justice.
- Sample Agenda for Meeting with District Officials: If you are unsatisfied with the school/district’s response to your complaint, or the school/district fails to respond in a timely manner, you may want to schedule a follow-up meeting with school/district officials to press them to remedy the problems identified in your complaint. Here’s an example of an agenda to guide you in developing your own.
- Sample Facilities Appeal Letter: If you are unsatisfied with district officials’ response to a facilities complaint, you can appeal directly to the California Department of Education. Use this sample facilities appeal letter as a template to guide you in writing your own. NOTE: You must do so within 15 days of receiving the district’s response.
- Text of California Laws and Regulations Addressing Williams Complaints
- Education Justice article: Quality Education Litigations Bring “Extraordinary Leaps” in Equity and Opportunity: New Jersey & California