CTA’s 150th anniversary celebration is winding down, but the story continues. You can read and hear about CTA’s story online as part of a growing collection of audio stories in CTA’s Oral History Project at www.cta.org/oralhistory. Nearly 50 interviews are complete, of which 14 are posted online, and plans call for the archive to continue to grow.
Hear our vivid labor history from some of the people who lived it. Experience historic moments in CTA history via interviews with people who made a difference for our students, schools and communities. Interviews were conducted throughout California by former CTA Region III Manager Robin Rose and CTA Communications staff member Mike Myslinski. Here are a few you’ll find.
Jean Reiche taught for 25 years, retiring in 1989. The former president of the Santa Barbara Teachers Association now lives in Vista Del Monte, a retirement facility in Santa Barbara that CTA’s former Southern Section built and once owned exclusively for educators in the 1960s. She chose to live there because of the facility’s past CTA roots as an affordable haven for retired educators.
“Since I’m now living here, I appreciate the fact that, in the 1960s, they foresaw the desirability of having a retirement community that teachers knew that they would enjoy and be happy coming here.”
Ed Foglia was CTA president in 1988 when educators mobilized statewide to pass the landmark Proposition 98 ballot measure, which guarantees K-12 schools and community colleges at least 40 percent of state revenues. No longer could the state siphon off major portions of school funding for other purposes. The victory affirmed CTA as a major political force for students and the teaching profession.
“For the first time, … the constitution said that schools should have first call on the dollars. Proposition 98 made that possible. And now, the politicians had to come to us.”
CTA’s first ethnic minority president, serving from 1995 to 1999, Lois Tinson was a gifted educator. She died in 2003 after a long illness. But in a CTA history video she had made, she recalled CTA’s fight for smaller class sizes, which convinced Gov. Pete Wilson to sign the Class Size Reduction Program legislation in 1996.
“It’s been incredible what has happened. Almost 90 percent of the time, what has happened, we’ve been on the defense, but most of the time we come out victoriously because we have teachers who care, who will stand up and say it.”
Barbara E. Kerr
CTA president from 2003 to 2007, Barbara E. Kerr is known for showdowns with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the defeat of his reckless Propositions 74, 75 and 76 in 2005. On her watch, CTA also won a lawsuit victory to recover billions owed to schools, which led to the creation of the landmark Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) in 2006, providing reforms for at-risk students.
“I think about QEIA as my most important legacy. That’s where real forward thinking and real help for students — that’s where it is. Beating the governor was a heck of a lot of fun. It saved us; it didn’t move us forward. QEIA moved us forward.”
Paula Monroe, a school secretary in Redlands who also served on the NEA Executive Committee, was the catalyst that prompted the 2006 CTA State Council vote to give full membership rights to education support professionals. The historic vote added 5,000 paraprofessionals, office workers, custodians and other ESP to the CTA family.
“[The vote] really was a validation … and realized the value of everyone on the education team working together for student success, and how important all of our jobs are.”
David A. Sanchez
The first Latino president of CTA, David A. Sanchez served from 2007 to 2011. His term saw the rise of the Great Recession, massive school layoffs and funding cuts. He recalls CTA’s statewide “Pink Friday” and “State of Emergency” campaigns; during the latter 2011 effort, he was arrested for civil disobedience in Sacramento, along with other educators. He recounts how educators helped elect Jerry Brown governor in 2010, despite Meg Whitman’s spending $150 million of her own money to oppose him.
“We knew that if Meg Whitman were to be elected governor of California, it would have a horrendous impact on our students and on public education throughout the entire state. … We knew that our students had a much better chance of getting what they really needed under the leadership of Jerry Brown.”
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