Capitol Alert

Neel Kashkari rips Jerry Brown’s ties to California Teachers Association

In a lengthy video released on the eve of their first – and likely only – debate, Republican Neel Kashkari attacked Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday for his ties to the California Teachers Association and appeal of a court ruling that found the state’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional.

The video comes less than a week after Brown announced he was appealing a closely-watched Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that California’s rules for teacher tenure and dismissal deprive students of their constitutional right to a quality education by keeping inferior teachers in classrooms.

Kashkari accuses Brown of siding with organized labor over students in the case, Vergara v. California, and of taking millions of dollars from the CTA for his political causes in a relationship going back to when Brown was governor before, from 1975 to 1983.

“Jerry Brown and the teachers union: 40 years of violating the civil rights of poor and minority kids,” text in the video reads.

Kashkari is right that the CTA gained broader influence in state politics after Brown signed the Rodda Act in 1975, requiring school districts to engage in collective bargaining.

The CTA spent millions of dollars helping Brown win election in 2010, and the union has donated $54,400, the maximum allowed, to his re-election effort this year.

Yet despite their generally favorable relationship, Brown has irritated the union in the past with his advocacy for charter schools. He started two charter schools while mayor of Oakland and lobbied against legislation to unionize charter school teachers.

Brown has avoided discussing Vergara, and his campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

In a legal filing, lawyers for the state complained the court declined to detail the legal basis for its ruling and that “changes of this magnitude, as a matter of law and policy, require appellate review.”

The video, which runs more than eight minutes, was released a day before Brown and Kashkari meet for their only scheduled debate, on Thursday night in Sacramento.