By Dina Martin
Along with being members of the community most likely to vote, teachers are also among the group most likely to get out the vote - and that's exactly what CTA's Board of Directors was counting on when it approved the "Lesson Plan for Victory," which sets forth a comprehensive campaign plan for the November election.
"With so much at stake, it is critical for our members to get involved in this campaign," says CTA President David A. Sanchez. "Our priorities include electing Jerry Brown for governor and Tom Torlakson for superintendent of public instruction, and passing the CTA-sponsored Prop. 24, the Tax Fairness Act. We will be doing everything we can to make sure that public education wins at the polls."
More than the average voter, CTA members have witnessed the impact that budget cuts have had on California schools. In the past two years, they've seen what the loss of $17 billion to education looks like: Class sizes have increased dramatically; art, music, physical education, athletics, and counseling programs have been eliminated from many schools; and more than 32,000 educators have lost their jobs.
"Our goal is to make sure every student has a good neighborhood public school filled with quality educators, who are respected and supported," says Sanchez. "This is what we fight for every day. And it's a fight we can win by staying focused and working together."
Electing CTA-recommended candidates and passing Prop. 24 to repeal corporate tax loopholes will not only have a tangible effect on the future of public education, but will set the stage to pursue a new funding initiative in 2012.
"All of these candidates and initiatives are connected, and a strategic part of achieving our long-term goals," says Sanchez. "November's election will be the critical turning point our state needs to get back on track."
Between now and November, CTA members will have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of ways in the campaign. Many chapters will opt to reach out to friends, neighbors and supportive voters through area phone banks. Members will also be given election materials they can use to reach out to their colleagues and make sure they have the facts about the candidates and issues.
Election materials are already posted on CTA's website, www.cta.org, as well as on www.standupforschools.org, and more will be forthcoming as the campaign gears up. Included in the material are a voter guide, fact sheets, fliers and guides to conduct campaign meetings.
CTA is also using social media for this campaign. Members can keep up to date with the 2010 campaign by texting "CTAVOTES" to 69866 (be sure to include your name and ZIP code) and by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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