CTA’s Issues Conference provides an opportunity for rural, urban and ESP members throughout the state to learn, share, strategize and unite together to determine the future of public education. CTA members form the planning committee, which is chaired by Michael Flores-Castaneda.
“The committee’s intent is to explore issues impacting public schools and to find the commonality for educators,” Flores-Castaneda says. An elementary special education teacher from Arvin, a small local outside of Bakersfield, he represents 20 local chapters at State Council. “I’m mindful that smaller chapters don’t have the resources, the people and the situations — the exposure to CTA that larger chapters have.”
“Regardless of the size of a local chapter or what your role is, we are one education profession,” he adds. “While the conference provides time for specific rural, urban and support staff issues, the workshops are general enough to encompass all the issues facing all professional educators.”
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What was your “aha!” from the Issues Conference?
Arnett Carl Duncan, Rialto Education Association
I enjoyed the discussion after the screening of Inequality for All. The growing wealth and income gap between the wealthy and the rest of us was the theme of the film. The progressive tone of the discussion was expected. However, the proactive ideas coming from my fellow teachers were refreshing. Some saw applications for the classroom, while others shared ideas for mobilizing local units. An “aha!” moment came when it was suggested that the film could be used in a screening to bring together community partners and stakeholders. Such an idea advances the strategic focus in the CTA Strategic Plan.
John Haschak, Willits Teachers Association
My favorite sessions were “Inequality for All — Investing in Our Future” and “Becoming Tech Savvy.” From the first session, it is clear that each of us needs to be proactive in protecting not just our members and students but also our communities from the forces acting against our shared interests. From the second, there are so many cool tech tricks and apps that can enhance the classroom.
The Issues Conference has trainings that are inspirational, practical and relevant to all members.
Wendy Holmes, San Bernardino County Teachers Association
Yikes! Some of the 11 reasons a district can fire a teacher are ridiculous. I think teachers should be aware those reasons are out there and protect themselves, particularly when using social media.
I was flabbergasted to learn about the corporate attacks on public education. I knew nothing about this ALEC group [American Legislative Exchange Council] or the fact that many of our politicians send their children to private schools by a 7-to-1 ratio. Wow! It is crazy that some people think public education should cease to exist. They seem to believe in the “olden days of serfs and slaves” — keep the masses uneducated, poor, and totally reliant on the wealthy tyrants.
Teachers should be aware that while many of the issues seem to be politically driven, they do affect all of us. Collectively, we as professional teachers are strong and need to be involved in safeguarding the right of education for all.
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