It was a nail-biter until the end. We were up against billionaires – some from out of state – that could just blink good-bye at their donations as if they were pocket change.
The billionaires’ Super-PACs were able to finagle behind the scenes; it ended up being no match to our tenacity. Educators saw what was coming down the pike: trigger cuts of $6 billion beginning in January, larger class sizes, fewer resources for our kids, more layoffs. The list goes on. They also saw that with an “x” in the wrong box on the ballot by people who may not have fully known the implications of the “Special Exemptions Act,” their voices in politics would have been dramatically reduced, if not completely destroyed.
CTA studied, strategized and mobilized for months leading up to the big day: the November 6 election. They organized, held rallies, walked precincts, phone-banked, held press releases, created a special website chalk-full of tools and resources, launched a social media campaign, and distributed buttons, clings and fliers. Materials were available in 11 different languages for our non-English speaking communities. Everything was riding on Election Day and no one was going to be left out due to a language barrier.
Instrumental in making this election a success was the fact that one of CTA’s four State Council of Education meetings was reformatted to be a “Community-Based Council,” meaning instead of the nearly 800 delegates meeting together in one place to discuss and make policy for the organization, they were deployed into 25 various locations around the state to Get Out The Vote! Many educators were also allowed release time – temporarily converted to “RTMs,” or Release Time Members – and their face-to-face interaction with people in their communities helped get the job done!
CTA had successfully fought off similar attacks in the past, but his one was different. It was more difficult. We were up against bigger fish with enormous amounts of money. And even though we knew times are tough for so many, educators, family members, friends, folks from other labor organizations, and a tremendous number of supporters, voted the right way. They voted with generosity of spirit despite the temporary tax they were willing to levy upon themselves.
And we won – and what’s more important – our STUDENTS won! In delightful recap:
Campaign 2012 - we covered all things campaign-related up through election night. Our robust set of resources have now been archived.
Proposition 30 – the governor’s funding initiative: CTA strongly advocated for a YES vote - and we WON!
Proposition 32 – deceptively called the “Special Exemptions Act”: CTA pulled out all stops for a NO vote - and we WON!
Neither of these initiatives will cure all the ills of our state’s financial woes, but with these victories, we staved off what was sure to be a disastrous outcome for our educators, our schools and our students. Now we look forward to the months to come, to bringing our state back to the days when we were NOT 47th in the nation in education spending, but were the envy of the nation. We can only do this with a VOICE. YOU saved our voice; YOU saved public education.
View yourselves in action: see Photo Album, and check all the election results by visiting the CA Secretary of State's website.