What’s in store for 2013?
By CTA President Dean E. Vogel
I know the election has been over for a month. Yet, here it is, December, and I am still on cloud nine over what we accomplished. That’s because the election news is even better than we thought. In the past few weeks, we’ve learned that voters passed Prop. 30 and defeated Prop. 32 by even greater margins than were reported on Election Day. It’s incredible that Prop. 30 passed by 55 percent, while the anti-union Prop. 32 was defeated by 57 percent!
They said it couldn’t be done, but we did it. We made the case to Californians that our schools deserve to be adequately funded, and so voters passed the first statewide funding initiative in 20 years - an initiative that will bring $6 billion more to our schools for several years to come. What’s more, Prop. 32 was defeated by an even larger margin than two similar measures on the ballot in the past 15 years. With this vote, Californians delivered a strong message that they were not going to let out-of-state corporate interests dominate their election and have sway over the voices of the middle class. Do we live in a great state, or what?
So, again, thank you! I hope you continue to take in what we’ve done. It is truly amazing.
As we begin 2013, CTA will be celebrating its sesquicentennial, and this election is only the latest in 150 years of accomplishments. We have 150 years of experience advocating for public education - starting with sponsoring legislation that established free public schools in California back in 1866 and fighting for the state’s first class size reduction law in 1895.
Did you know that John Swett, CTA’s founder and California’s fourth superintendent of public instruction, was asking wealthy Californians to pay their fair share of taxes to support public schools in 1865? He advocated for teachers to be placed on hiring committees and given job security in their positions. He advocated for professional standards, certification of teachers, and increased salaries. And he convinced the Legislature to implement the first statewide school tax.
It’s oddly reassuring to me to know that we continue to advocate for the same issues advocated by Swett, the father of public education in California. I feel that history is on our side. Over the next year, we will be honoring CTA’s rich history and celebrating our accomplishments, then and now.
I take comfort in knowing that CTA has 150 years of experience in confronting challenges and working out solutions. Our strength lies in knowing that we can do great things when we come together. We saw that in this past election. We see it in our classrooms every day. And we see it in the work we do for public education in this state.
We have a full plate as we begin 2013. We are setting the agenda on such issues as evaluation, teacher quality and due process rights - like John Swett before us. We are embarking on a strategic planning process: “Your Voice. Our Union. Our Future.” This isn’t just about our organization. It’s about our role in public education, making sure the best and brightest are teaching in our classrooms, and doing our best to help all students and educators succeed. I know we’re up to the task, and the organization that will emerge from this crucial process will be even better equipped to meet the needs of our members and our students.
Thank you for all that you do for public education in California. I hope you have a great holiday break and an extraordinary 2013!