Articles posted by CTA

California Teachers Association

Founded in 1863, the California Teachers Association has become one of the strongest advocates for educators in the country. CTA includes teachers, counselors, school librarians, social workers, psychologists, and nurses. These educators in the K-12 school system are joined by community college faculty, California State University faculty, and education support professionals to make CTA the most inclusive and most powerful voice of educators in the state.

Vergara Trial Nears End

Vergara Trial testimony wraps up this week with closing arguments scheduled for March 27. Lawyers (bankrolled by billionaire David Welch and other corporate “reformers”) representing nine student plaintiffs have charged that California statutes dealing with layoffs, dismissal, and granting permanent status after two years are all unconstitutional and inflict disproportionate harm on poor and minority students. The State of California and intervening parties CTA and CFT have responded that these statutes work well in school districts all over the state, that they help school districts attract and retain quality teachers, and in fact have nothing to say about which teachers are assigned to which schools or to which students.

While the legal arguments are firmly on our side, and hopefully the judge will agree, a quick look back at the testimony over the past two months should lead anyone with common sense—without requiring a law degree—to conclude that the plaintiffs in this case have no case. 

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California Joins in on the Read Across America Celebration

Read Across AmericaCTA officers and board members spread out all over California on Monday, March 3 to help celebrate Read Across America.

Dean Vogel started the day with Tom Torlakson reading to 3rd graders in Sacramento, then followed that up with a visit to Suisun Elementary and their public library where he read “The Day the Crayons Quit” (photo at left).

Eric Heins spent time at Bagby Elementary in San Jose; Mikki Chichoki and Jose Alcala spent the morning at La Jolla Elementary in Moreno Valley reading to classes there, and Sue Cirillo read to eight different classes at Beachy Avenue Elementary in Arleta.

CTA Board Liaison Kendall Vaught read to two different classes at Commonwealth School in Fullerton. Dana Dillon was on hand to receive a resolution from the State Assembly in Sacramento. And prior to Read Across America Day, Tyrone Cabell and Toby Boyd both participated in large community events celebrating reading. 

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San Francisco Teachers and Literacy Advocates Give Away 40,000 Free Books for Low-Income Students

It was an act of generosity that speaks volumes about the need for books in public schools. About 40,000 brand new donated books were handed out free to Bay Area teachers who work with low-income students on Saturday in a project mainly coordinated by United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) and First Book San Francisco, a literacy advocacy group that’s part of a national network.

Educators lined up in San Francisco around the block (see photo) to get free books to give to their students so students can start building home libraries and begin appreciating the power and fun of reading. The San Francisco Chronicle covered the extraordinary event that was made possible by numerous sponsors and more than 100 volunteers. It was also supported by the American Federation of Teachers.

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Alpine Teachers Approve New Contract

Educators go back to classrooms Tuesday after huge affirmative vote 

ALPINE – Alpine Teachers Association members approved a new contract with the Alpine Union School District by a 96 percent margin, immediately returning to their classes Tuesday morning, February 25.

The action ends their three-day strike over significant cuts in salary and health benefits.

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At Region 3 Conference, CTA Family Works to Get Food to Hungry Children

CTA members, leaders and staff kicked off this past weekend's Region 3 Leadership Conference in Pasadena by packing 10,000 meals in three hours to help children in Vietnam and the Philippines.

They raised $3,595 for a charity, Stop Hunger Now.

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Teachers, allies form mass picket line on first day of Alpine strike

Alpine Teachers Strike

(Photo above) Alpine Teachers Association member school nurse, Jessica Starr, speaks with a San Diego FOX 5 reporter about how the imposed cuts leave her with an $11.00 per hour salary, despite the fact that she has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Starr is also a parent of children in the school district.

Update - After a raucous school board meeting Thursday night, Alpine district officials have agreed to go back to bargaining table. Stay tuned.

Alpine Teachers Association members began day one of their Unfair Labor Practice strike with 93 percent member participation and educator and community support from as far away as Imperial County. 

The district proposed a 7.58% salary cut and an $8,000 health benefits cap effective January 1, 2014, that will leave many ATA members with 30% - and in one case 60% - less per year in total compensation. Because the district will extract double health benefits cuts for May and June, some members will receive NO pay in those months. 

After rejecting the unacceptable proposal from the District, ATA voted to take to the picket lines, which began this morning at Joan MacQueen Middle School and then disbursed to the district’s five school sites.   

Media outlets converged on the scene providing teachers the opportunity to share their personal stories. Parents walked the line with ATA members, including one providing lunch to the picketing teachers.  

ATA members, supportive parents, students and community members will pack the Alpine School Board meeting tonight to demand that the district return to the bargaining table and offer an acceptable contract.   

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Alpine Teachers to Strike, Beginning Feb. 20

Alpine Teachers Association members will go out in an Unfair Labor Practice strike, beginning at 6:00 a.m., February 20, as the result of a decision made at yesterday's general membership meeting.

Although ATA members were hopeful that the district would return to the bargaining table with fair, reasonable settlement proposals, they were met instead with a rehash of the same offer the district had made in a previous proposal rejected by ATA members on February 5: a 7.58% salary cut and an $8,000 health benefits cap effective January 1, 2014, that will leave many ATA members with 30% or more less per year in total compensation. Because the district will extract double health benefits cuts for May and June, some members will receive NO pay in those months.

“Unfortunately, the district is intent on building their reserve fund and breaking teachers’ backs financially, based on faulty financial assumptions,” said ATA President Gayle Malone. “Ultimately, it is the students and the entire community who will suffer.” 

 

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Kimberley Gilles of San Ramon Valley EA Takes Home Top NEA Foundation Award

At the recent NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington DC, Kimberley Gilles, an educator at Monte Vista High School in Danville in the Bay Area, received one of public education’s top honors: the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000.

Known as the Academy Awards of public education, the NEA Foundation’s gala is an annual celebration of the men and women who work in America’s public schools. The NEA Foundation presented nearly 40 awards to exceptional educators and dedicated supporters of public education over the course of the program. Gilles is a veteran teacher in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and a member of the San Ramon Valley Education Association.

“Gilles has been selected for this award by her peers because she has attained the highest teaching standards, as illustrated by her exemplary instruction, advocacy for the profession and staunch support of public education,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “In her classroom, she shares her passion for social justice to inspire students to lift up their own voices through reading and writing.”

Watch Gilles' heartfelt acceptance speech here:

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Trial Underway for Meritless Lawsuit Targeting Teachers' Rights

The Vergara trial attacking due process for teachers facing dismissal, seniority/experience-factored layoffs, and the two-year probationary period began in Los Angeles this morning. After plaintiff attorneys opened by previewing a case they claim will show these teacher rights are unconstitutional, attorneys for the State of California, as well as attorneys for intervening parties CTA and CFT laid out strong arguments for why their case would show that the plaintiffs claims are completely without merit, and that these laws actually provide students with a quality, stable teaching force.

Students Matter, the shadowy organization behind this lawsuit, did not let a weak case stop them from pulling out all the stops for a huge noon press conference. Silicon Valley billionaire David Welch and lead attorneys and case plaintiffs all addressed the media, trying to make a case, where, frankly, there is none. Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin was on hand to lend support, showing the connection between some of the same groups of anti-union corporate education "reformers" and this case. Fortunately CFT President Josh Pechthalt and CTA Board members Leslie Littman and Toby Boyd were there to give educators a voice and to tell our side of this story.

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Alpine Teachers Association Strike Fund Growing

Delegates to the California Teachers Association's State Council meeting in Los Angeles swelled the Alpine Teachers Association's strike fund by over $20,000 this weekend alone (January 25-26, 2014) in a flurry of union solidarity with their San Diego County colleagues.

CTA chapters and individual members from throughout California matched other donations or raised the ante to provide support for Alpine teachers should they have to walk picket lines. Chapter contributions include $1,000 from the San Jose Teachers Association, $2,000 from United Educators of San Francisco, and $5,000 from the San Diego Education Association. Once CTA's over 1,000 chapters and 325,000 individual members have opportunity to join in the drive, the potential for additional financial support is exponential.

Alpine Teachers Association members voted overwhelmingly to give their executive board authority to call for a strike. They did so in response to draconian salary and benefits cuts callously imposed by the Alpine Unified School District Board of Education.

A significant number of ATA members will be financially crippled by losing up to 35 percent of their annual compensation. "None of us want to strike," said ATA President Gayle Malone, "but the board's punitive imposition leaves us no viable alternative if they persist in failing to bargain with us fairly."

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