Advocacy

Raise Your Hand for American Education Week

It’s time to “Raise Your Hand for Student Success” by signing a pledge supporting quality education during American Education Week from Nov. 18-22. 

Traditionally celebrated the week before Thanksgiving, American Education Week was first launched in 1921 by both the National Education Association and the American Legion to generate public support for education. Distressed that 25% of the country’s World War I draftees had been illiterate, representatives from both organizations set out to do something about it. 

“Educators were there in 1921 advancing the cause of public education and we remain steadfast to this day,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “We hope local communities will promote American Education Week by visiting their schools, honoring educators, and taking the pledge of support,” Vogel said. 

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Sweetwater EA Stands Up to 11th-hour Change in Health Benefits

Sweetwater Education Association members Sweetwater Education Association members in San Diego County face an eleventh hour change in the district contribution to health benefits that could cost them in excess of $3,000. Superintendent Ed Brand presented the new bargaining proposal on October 7, three weeks before open enrollment was set to begin, threatening to impose the change if SEA does not accept it. 

“The district is trying to unethically use benefits as a way to extract concessions during current contract negotiations,” said SEA President Roberto Rodriguez, adding that the move would hit SEA families hard.

Kicking into gear, SEA’s organizing team coordinated a “Trunk or Treat” rally in the district office parking lot before a school board meeting, with teachers bringing their children to collect treats from the trunks of SEA members’ cars. Pizza was provided for an estimated 600 attendees. “We wanted to demonstrate that SEA knows how to treat our families,” said Helen Farias, SEA organizing chair.

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Shadowy Koch Brothers network fined for money laundering to silence union voices

What goes around comes around. Last week the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) held a much anticipated press conference to share the news that the secret $11 million donation to the NO on Prop 30 / Yes on Prop 32 campaigns was in fact money laundering via the "Koch Brothers Network of dark money political nonprofit corporations".

"This case highlights the nationwide scourge of dark money non-profit networks hiding identities of their contributors,” said Ann Ravel outgoing FPPC Chair.

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Political Watchdog Hits "Dark Money" Contributors with Record Fine

FPPC

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the state agency that oversees elections and contributions, and the state Attorney General have announced a record $1 million fine is being levied against out-of-state organizations that made illegal political contributions during their fight to defeat CTA-backed Proposition 30 and to pass CTA-opposed Proposition 32 last November.

The state watchdog agency detailed a “dark money trail” followed by the Koch brothers, a pair of billionaire political right-wing radicals, to direct about $15 million to No on Prop. 30 – passed by voters – and Yes on Proposition 32 -- a measure that aimed to handcuff unions and gag the voices of working women and men, a measure voters defeated.

The FPPC on Thursday afternoon announced that “record civil settlement against the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) and Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL), two nonprofits operated as part of the ‘Koch Brothers' Network’ of dark money political nonprofit corporations. The settlement requires CPPR and ARL to pay $1 million to the State General Fund for their failure to disclose two dark money independent expenditure contributions in the 2012 election to oppose Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.”

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It's Time for the Shutdown Games to End!

“Congressional Tea Party Republicans have chosen to play games with the lives of our most vulnerable in society to score ideological political points,” said NEA director of government relations Mary Kusler. They have forced deep sequester cuts, shut down the government and are on the brink of bringing the nation’s economy to its knees. Students and senior citizens will pay the price for years to come as a result. It’s time for the games to end!

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Matt Damon Joins Diane Ravitch Tour

Matt Damon Diane Ravitch book tour Reign of ErrorAfter a stop in Sacramento last week where she shared the stage with CTA Secretary-Treasurer Mikki Cichocki , Diane Ravitch continued her tour promoting her new book Reign of Error Wednesday Night at CSU Northridge. Matt Damon, whose educator mother was in the audience, brought some Hollywood star power to the event, introducing Ravitch and lauding her stands on major education issues.

Ravitch wasted no time in her hour-long presentation, exposing what she calls hoaxes being perpetrated on the public and on the education community, largely by corporate and billionaire so-called reformers. "America is not falling behind," noted Ravitch, sharing recent data that ties the US with Finland, a nation often ranked at the top in education.

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Making a difference for 150 years

The inspiring, caring commitment and dedication of California’s educators over the 150 years of CTA’s advocacy for students and public education is highlighted in a statewide television and radio ad campaign launched today.

The back-to-school ad campaign, which runs through October 8, includes Bay Area and Sacramento educators, continuing he this year’s CTA’s 150th anniversary celebration and the union’s dedication to student learning and the teaching profession.

Take a look:

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CTA Members Speak Out Against Editorial Attacks

This weekend, the San Diego Union Tribune ran a hatchet piece against our union in its Opinion-Editorial section. Along with this, it ran an article by Reformer du Jour Michelle Rhee. At no point did the news outlet ask for our stance or offer a spot to rebut the obviously politically-motivated, unsubstantiated claims. We thank our fearless members who speak up against these attacks and help dispel the myths being pushed out to the pubic.

Below is a response from Sweetwater Education Association member Helen Farias:

As a 2013 SUHSD Teacher of the Year and nominee for San Diego County Teacher of the Year, as well as an active member of Sweetwater Education Association and California Teachers Association, I take strong offense to your portrayal of teachers and their unions. You bash unions for protecting bad teachers, but I know that my union allows exceptional teachers to advocate for their students. Because of union protections, there are teachers in Sweetwater who are challenging one of the most corrupt school boards in the nation...

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CTA remembers 50th anniversary of March on Washington

This is an inspiring week for our country as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 where, in front of more than 200,000 people, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. It was truly a teachable moment that changed the nation.

CTA has joined labor and civil rights groups in the national remembrance. As part of our efforts to honor this special day, Wednesday, Aug. 28, CTA has partnered with the Oakland-based Equal Justice Society to promote free lesson plans for educators about milestones in civil rights. You can include these history-rich moments in the civil rights movement to help students comprehend what was at stake, and why the struggles against racism still matter. The EJS also works to combat implicit bias from racial and gender stereotypes that CTA also reveals and dispels in our training about overcoming unconscious bias.

CTA put a call out to members asking for any personal stories or experiences related to the historic events. Hear from three members about their experiences:


Harriet Hutchinson is a retired kindergarten teacher from Oakland who remembers the March on Washington and the impact of being there that day has had on her life.

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Federal Lawmakers Need to Fix Pending ESEA

Over CTA and NEA member objections, the House of Representatives on a partisan vote recently passed HR 5, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Now known as The “Student Success Act” (HR 5), the bill as currently written would undermine the federal government’s role of helping to ensure equity of opportunity for all students. Specifically, the bill would reduce resources aimed to support the education of marginalized students and undermine teacher quality and the role of collective bargaining in constructing teacher evaluations.

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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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