It’s Time to Celebrate: CTA Turns 150!
It is CTA’s sesquicentennial and we plan to celebrate our long history of working on behalf of students, educators and public education all year long. John Swett founded the California Teachers Association in 1863 and we have been at the forefront of every positive change for public education ever since. It was CTA that fought to pass the law to provide free public schools to all California students in 1866, fought to ensure funding for non-white students and in 1911 fought for free textbooks in schools. We led efforts to pass child labor laws, fought to ensure women educators weren’t fired when they became pregnant, and passed the law giving educators the right to bargain salaries and working conditions. Our history is long and proud. Take time to learn more and celebrate it this year. You can start by watching the CTA history timeline video and by posting the timeline in your schools through a collectable timeline series in the Educator magazine. Many events are underway so be sure to stop by the 150th Anniversary booth at all CTA conferences.
Be Part of CTA’s Future
Do you have ideas about how CTA should move forward for the next 150 years? Through our effort called, Your Voice, Our Union, Our Future, a diverse group of members and staff is working to develop a long-term-strategic plan for CTA. The plan won’t really cover 150 years, but we are working to build the union we all want for our future, and we want to hear from you. The process is designed to engage all members and staff. It’s designed to look at what we are doing now and where we want to go. It’s designed to embrace new ideas, set priorities and focus organizational resources. Please check the CTA website and watch your email and mail boxes for more information. We want to build a stronger CTA that engages and empowers members to keep building a better state for public education.
Election Work Reflected in State Budget Proposal
All of our hard work last fall to pass Proposition 30 was reflected in Governor Brown’s proposed state budget for 2013-14. Overall, education funding (Prop. 98) for K-12 schools and community colleges goes up by $2.7 billion dollars, while the CSU and UC systems each get an additional $250 million. This certainly doesn’t solve all school funding problems, but it does start to repay some of the money owed to public education following years of devastating cuts. And let me be clear, if voters had not approved Prop. 30, local school districts would be making mid-year cuts, increasing class sizes and looking to layoff additional educators. So thank you for all of your work in last year’s election. It’s why politics does matter and it’s why we must continue to use our voice to speak out for our students and communities. Governor Brown is also proposing to change how K-12 schools are funded. Details about the Local Control Funding Formula have not been released and it’s unclear how it will impact local districts over time. Basically, the new formula provides a base amount of money per student and then provides additional funding for English learners, low-income students and other factors. We certainly appreciate the recognition that it cost more to educate some students, but have some concerns about the overall structure of the new formula, the quality of the data and the implementation timeline. Get more information on the CTA website and read CTA’s statement to the media. This is just a proposal and it will go through the normal legislative process. We will send more details as they are available.
Working to Make All Schools Safe
A recent shooting at Taft Union High School that wounded one student underscores the violence that has been rocking school communities across the country. I want to commend the teacher and campus supervisor, whose quick thinking and bravery prevented harm to more kids. Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, NEA has been working with other national organizations to encourage Congress to take action to ensure school safety. The NEA School Crisis Guide provides assistance to local districts, educators and parents. And as Vice President Biden convenes a special task force, a new NEA survey shows educators support common sense solutions to prevent gun violence.
Apply Now for CTA Scholarships
Looking to advance your teaching career? Is your son or daughter heading to college next year? A number of CTA scholarships are currently available for CTA members, their children and Student CTA members. Scholarships of up to $3,000 each are available to CTA members working to complete or advance their degrees. Scholarships in the amount of $5,000 are available to dependent children of active, retired or deceased CTA members. Scholarships are available to Student CTA members and ethnic minority students looking to go into teaching. And grants are available to educators and students working to promote human and civil rights by making public schools safe for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. The deadline for most of these scholarship opportunities is February 8. Apply online at www.cta.org/scholarships.