Volume 15 Issue 2
By CTA President David A. Sanchez
Here we are in the final stretch leading up to the election — an extremely important event for every one of us.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my early years in high school and college, when I witnessed firsthand the power of advocating for an issue to bring about positive change. During that time, I discovered how the voting public has the power to inform lawmakers about the actual impact their decisions have on real people. I remember the times my father traveled from Santa Maria to Sacramento to advocate on behalf of migrant students. He was so passionate about the importance of offering all kids access to great public schools. I didn’t realize back then that one day I, too, would be advocating on behalf of a cause I felt dearly about: supporting students and CTA members. I am now very proud to carry on that family tradition. All his life my father believed, as I do today, that like-minded people gathered together around a common cause are an extremely powerful force.
Well, this year we have the power and force behind our vote to begin to turn the tide in favor of public education, in favor of our students and educators.
The top priority will be ensuring that Jerry Brown wins the race for governor of California. Brown has for many years been on the side of public education. During his time in office, the K-12 budget increased from $2.1 billion in 1974-75 to almost $8.2 billion in 1982-83. During those same years, budgets for the University of California and California State University more than doubled. Brown is a candidate who is keenly aware that California’s future growth and prosperity depend on a world-class, quality public education system. His long record in public service demonstrates that he will fight to properly fund our schools — whereas his opponent, Meg Whitman, plans to immediately cut $15 billion from the state budget, which could mean another crippling $7 billion cut from California’s already ailing schools and colleges.
Brown has proved that he believes in giving workers the respect they deserve. He signed the Rodda Act in 1975, California’s first collective bargaining bill, marking the first time that teachers were allowed to be full partners in educating children and in the local governing process. Brown understands that teachers need to be a part of the conversation about education reform. He believes that the best reform takes place when there is collaboration among educators, parents and administrators to meet the needs of students in neighborhood public schools.
Also of great importance in this election is voting for Proposition 24, the Tax Fairness Act, a CTA initiative that will repeal special tax breaks that were given to big corporations with no guarantee that they would create or save a single job in California. Passing Prop. 24 prevents $1.3 billion in budget cuts to schools and public safety, and saves thousands of much-needed jobs. We need to make sure that large corporations begin paying their fair share and contributing to the welfare of our state as much as they profit from its wealth and resources. Being the eighth-largest economy in the world should mean that California gives its students a world-class education. Passing Prop. 24 sets the stage for CTA’s plan to change California’s unfair tax structure.
We’ve seen what enormous damage reckless political leaders can do. Now is the time to vote for leaders who will put the needs of the state first. The magnitude of this situation cannot be overstated. Get out and vote in this election. Get your neighbors, family and friends out to vote. Spread the word: This election is the start of rebuilding California and rebuilding public education.