By Len Feldman
Dennis Kelly, Curtis Washington & Linda Plack at Lobby Day
This is what a journal entry might look like if it were written by one of the local chapter leaders who came to Sacramento to participate in Presidents Lobby Day.
May 22, 2012
I was among over 200 educators from across California to attend CTA’s Presidents Lobby Day in Sacramento — we educated lawmakers about the impact of funding cuts on our students and classrooms. We urged lawmakers to stave off any additional reductions, to defeat legislation that would harm schools and students, and to avoid changes in the state’s retirement system that would undermine California’s ability to attract and keep its highly qualified force of educational professionals.
The morning started with a meeting of the chapter leaders. CTA President Dean Vogel stressed the importance of advocacy. He said that we, as classroom experts, can best tell lawmakers what is happening in our schools.
Then we went to meet lawmakers. United Educators of San Francisco President Dennis Kelly, CTA Board member Curtis Washington, and UESF Vice President Linda Plack met with members of a legislator’s staff.
Just after lunch, CTA Board member Theresa Montaño, NEA Director Sonia Martin-Solis, CTA Board member David Goldberg, CTA Board member Mary Rose Ortega, NEA Director Sue Cirillo, CTA Board member Tyrone Cabell, and UTLA Secondary Vice President Gregg Solkovits prepared to meet with Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) to discuss with him the need to revise his SB 1530. It’s a bad bill that undermines teachers’ rights and does not protect students from predators.
While this was happening, East Side Teachers Association President Marisa Hanson and Evergreen Teachers Association President Brian Wheatley met with Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose). Valley College CCA President Gaylla Finnell, Montaño, Ortega, and CTA Board member Marty Meeden talked with Assembly Member and former teacher Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).
Texting is THE thing to do! Barstow Education Association President Candy Michelson and Adelanto District Teachers Association President La Nita Dominique used their phones to text and connect to their elected officials. CTA calls it the “Mobile Warrior.”
That evening, we talked to Gov. Jerry Brown at a CTA legislative reception. Gov. Brown, Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg were among the elected officials from both parties who spoke with us.
All in all, a good day. I thought talking to lawmakers would be intimidating. They asked questions that I could answer… and the CTA resources were helpful. Everyone should take the opportunity to visit elected leaders — in Sacramento and at home!