By Mike Myslinski
Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown (second from left) joins CTA Vice President Dean Vogel, President David A. Sanchez, Secretary-Treasurer Gail Mendes, and Executive Director Carolyn Doggett at the June State Council meeting.
CTA President David A. Sanchez told CTA’s State Council of Education that it was “hard work and solidarity on key issues by teachers across the state that made a huge difference in the June 8 primary election and will help win the state budget battle and protect our schools.”
Introducing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, Sanchez reminded Council delegates that the current state attorney general “knows that California’s future depends on a world-class, quality public school system. He believes that the best education reform happens when there is collaboration among teachers, administrators and parents.”
Calling for more proven, teacher-supported reforms for our public schools, Brown told an enthusiastic Council audience he would “mobilize the people of this state” behind public education to achieve a better future for all.
“Look, we’re facing big changes, and people who haven’t been around always want to reinvent the wheel with yesterday’s tried and failed programs,” said Brown of state and federal obsessions with standardized testing and other so-called reforms. “We don’t make progress by dividing. We make progress by uniting.”
Drawing loud cheers and applause, he said teachers should be trusted to know what works in their classrooms — and should get proven reforms, like more time for colleagues to share ideas, more prep time and professional development. He called for one united California to protect the middle class and to end political gridlock.
Public schools and public servants deserve more respect, said Brown. “I think we have to restore the trust of the people — we have to show trust in the teachers and the [public] servants who serve us all.”
November’s showdown election for governor is about the positive values of educators who care about their students and public schools versus the negative, anti-union values of billionaire Meg Whitman, said CTA Executive Director Carolyn Doggett. Whitman is clearly focused on scapegoating public employees for the state’s fiscal woes, and is part of the “public employee and teaching bashing agenda that’s being played out across this country,” said Doggett.
“Meg seems to forget that public employees are teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers, child care workers and custodians,” continued Doggett. “They are you and me. They’re our friends and neighbors. They make us smart and keep us safe and healthy. They are the working class that helped build this country and who are the heart of our communities.”
Key election victory
President Sanchez praised CTA members for leading the June 8 primary election fight victory for CTA-backed Assembly Member Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) in the critical race for state superintendent of public instruction. Torlakson emerged from a crowded field to face former San Jose Unified superintendent Larry Aceves in a November runoff. Teachers led the fight against state Sen. Gloria Romero of Los Angeles, who narrowly failed to make the runoff.
With Romero championing the flawed policies of the federal Race to the Top program and of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sanchez said this race was a “California referendum on the Obama-Duncan reform agenda.” Romero’s defeat shows this divisive agenda was clearly rejected by voters.
“It was a vote in support of the people who know what is going on in our classrooms and know how to work to support and improve them,” he said.
CTA-supported candidates also won primary races for other state offices: Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor; Dave Jones, insurance commissioner; Debra Bowen, secretary of state; John Chiang, state controller; and Bill Lockyer, state treasurer.
Budget battle continues
Sanchez discussed the budget battle, acknowledging that devastating state cuts are frustrating so many CTA chapter bargaining teams — and causing so much turmoil from the potential loss of 16,000 teaching jobs this year.
Closing the state’s $19 billion budget deficit without further gutting education funding — which has seen $17 billion in cuts over the last two years — will best be done with the “California Jobs Budget” plan offered by Assembly Speaker John Perez, he stressed.
Sanchez warned that the governor’s revised spending plan unveiled in May would cut $4 billion more from our schools, and eliminate health care and child care programs for poor kids. The Assembly budget plan — backed by CTA and the entire Education Coalition — would raise revenues, protect Proposition 98, increase funding for K-12 and colleges, and protect our social safety net.
“With these kinds of cuts, this isn’t just a fight about money, this is a fight about our values and about what’s right,” said Sanchez. “And CTA is not about to change our values just to make life easier for a failed governor.”
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In other action, State Council:
- Passed the CTA budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, including an $18 dues increase.
- Elected CTA Director Theresa Montaño (District J-HE); re-elected CTA Director Jim Groth (District P); elected NEA Alternate Director Doreen H. McGuire-Grigg; and elected CTA/ABC Committee members Cheryl Fowlkes (District F), Chris Prokop (District P), and Juan Caballero (At-Large).
- Recommended the following candidates: Kamala Harris, attorney general; Richard Pan, Assembly District 5; Ricardo Lara, AD 50; Betsy Butler, AD 53; Ben Hueso, AD 79; Paul Clay, Senate District 36; Mary Salas, SD 40 (pending election results certification); and Pat Meagher, Congressional District 41.
- Recognized winners of the State WHO Awards.
- Recognized winners of the Theodore Bass Memorial Teacher-in-Politics Awards: Christopher Bushée, Overall Award; Jill Low, Getting Others Involved; Debbie Imerson, State Priorities; David R. Bean and Jil Burnes, Local Priorities; and Antonia Brookshire, Coalition Building.
- Recognized winners of the Joyce Fadem Memorial Chapter-in-Politics Awards: Travis Unified Teachers Association, Small Chapter; San Joaquin Delta College Teachers Association, Medium Chapter; San Ramon Valley Education Association, Large Chapter; and King City Elementary Teachers Association, Rookie Chapter.
- Took “Support” positions on the following initiatives that are on track to appear on the November ballot: Legislative Term Limits Reform Act of 2010 (09-0048); Passing the Budget On Time Act of 2010 (09-0057); State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Fund Trust Fund Act (09-0072); and Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act.
- Took “Oppose” positions on the following initiatives: Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010 (SBx7 2); Voters FIRST Act for Congress (09-0027); Local Tax Payer, Public Safety, and Transportation Protection Act of 2010 (09-0063); Sinclair Paint Initiative (09-0093); and California Jobs Initiative (09-0104).
- Authorized up to $13 million from the initiative fund to support CTA’s positions on initiatives on the November 2010 general election ballot.