Have you ever thought what it would be like if you had no say in improving your profession? What if you were muzzled when it came to advocating for your students or yourself? These are the questions you need to think about before the November general election, because a new initiative designed to do just that has qualified for the ballot.
The so-called “Stop Special Interest Money Now Act” is a classic corporate power grab. This deceptive name and measure seek to deceive voters into passing a law that would change the rules to benefit wealthy corporate interests at the expense of middle-class workers and their unions at a time when corporations already outspend labor unions 15 to 1 on political contributions.
If this initiative passes, CTA would no longer be able to advocate effectively for increasing funding for schools and colleges, preserving adequate salaries and secure retirement plans, protecting our right to collectively bargain, Class Size Reduction, opposing No Child Left Behind, and even taking a stand on local school board races and ballot measures. “Defeating this initiative is CTA’s top priority,” says CTA President Dean Vogel. “While things aren’t as good as they should be in California’s schools and colleges, without a strong voice for students and educators they will surely get worse.”
Learn more about the Corporate Power Grab Initiative at
We asked our Facebook friends, “Why do you feel it's important for CTA to have a voice in politics?” Here’s what you had to say:
Sue Kenmotsu: Do I think CTA should have a voice in politics? YES and YES and YES. Yes — the rules and regs for schools would be in the hands of the Legislature with no accountability without a strong voice from CTA. Yes — the MONEY that means the difference between cuts and recovery come from the Legislature and we need CTA there. YES, that means politics. As long as politicians mess with education, we need CTA in politics!
Karen Wallace: Because everything we do in our classrooms has to do with politics.
Edward Mooney Jr.: Because those who would destroy public education are so well financed, and without CTA the other side would steamroll poor and middle-class kids.
Todd Finlay: We are a voice for the children.
Vicki Props Lawhorn: To be a mouthpiece for our state's children, and hopefully EDUCATE the legislators who typically don't know one iota of how the system, let alone a classroom, operates. It's all about the kids, and what's best for them.
Christina Prola: It's important because CTA is one of the few political voices that actually represent teachers. No one else cares about education as much as teachers do. No one else has the knowledge of education that teachers have. No one else will stand up for public education like teachers will.
Jennifer Waters: As long as politicians are making decisions that will affect how and what we teach and our rights as educators, we need a voice in endorsing representatives and initiatives and working to support or defeat them. Democracy matters and our ability to come together makes our voice stronger.
Erik Dabel: Because people that do not teach and have never taught should not be writing and pushing legislation regarding education.
John Savage: We don't have a choice! We can't just sit on our hands and complain about the state of things. We have to take a proactive role in protecting public education!
Ken Johnson: Only $10 or 1% of your dues dollars support candidates or issues. And that $10? By law, you can request it remain in CTA's general fund. Any decisions on CTA policy are made by the CTA State Council, a body of 800 educators that are democratically elected by the members of their locals. If you're a member of CTA, you vote for people to represent you. There is plenty of opportunity for admin to get rid of teachers that don't cut the mustard. CTA needs to be involved politically because if you don't want to be at the table, then you will be on the menu.
Patrick Mitchell: To counteract the politicians who spread misinformation about teachers.
DC Curtis: Because Corporations who want to privatize education, turn it into McTeaching, cut pay, and produce Widgit-Students already have a voice in politics. No, wait, correction, they already OWN politics. We need CTA and other organizations like it to push back against that system.
Lori Adams: To speak up for our students who do not get to vote.
Katie Burnette: It's important because otherwise people will listen to those folks bashing us who know NOTHING about what it takes to teach or to be a teacher. We need to be part of deciding the future of education or it will be decided by politicians who have NO clue (for example, No Child Left Behind).
Moyra Contreras: Educators need to be making decisions about education, not politicians!
Bill Sammons: As former CTA President Sanchez used to say, if you don't do politics, politics will do you!
Karen Spychala: If we had excellent working conditions and were paid what others get paid for our college level of education then I might not have to be political. I have waited over 30 years. All I know is we have to fight where it counts with money and political influence.
Gerald M. Fairman: We must stand up to those who want to destroy public education for their private gains. Together we are one — CTA.
Amy Jentoft Hussar: Because... who else is going to speak up for teachers (and the students they represent)?!