CTA representatives Michael Stone and Seth Bramble took part in a forum for legislative staff on labor issues Tuesday at the Capitol.
The Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education set the event to help lawmakers’ key aides keep aware of some of the most important issues impacting our communities in the months ahead. The event featured a panel of labor staff, including Caitlin Vega of the California Labor Federation; Jeremy Smith, of the Building Trades Council; Monica Henestroza, of the California Federation of Teachers; CTA Advocate Bramble; and Steve Henderson, of the California School Employees Association.
Our reps noted that California’s schools are emerging from a fiscal and policy storm that has:
- Driven up class sizes and resulted in each child receiving less attention. Reduced the number of nurses and counselors and closed school libraries.
- Seen an overemphasis on testing narrow the curriculum.
- Provoked layoffs and uncertainty, including thousands of preliminary layoff notices over the past several years. Led to reductions in the length of the school year.
Work by CTA and labor to secure voter approval of Prop. 30 is providing vital new money and a tremendous opportunity.
- The local control funding formula means that local decision makers, including educators, have an authentic role. California ranks near the bottom in the nation in per pupil spending and has consistently hovered in that range during the last 20 years.
- While the LCFF does not provide sufficient funding to get California to at least the national average, it’s a proposal that will significantly increase overall state spending for all schools while providing additional resources to disadvantaged students.
Another topic covered was CTA marking its 150th anniversary. CTA
- Was established in 1863, and CTA's first legislative achievement established free public schools in California in 1866. Campaigned to establish community colleges in 1911.
- Won a legal victory in 1927 when the state Supreme Court ruled that a school board cannot fire a female teacher simply because she got married.
- Sponsored the Rodda Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 1975, that provided for public sector collective bargaining.
The Commission was created in 2001 by then-Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg because, "students in California's public schools study the strategies and tactics of the business world, yet all too often they fail to learn the vital role that organized labor has played in the state's and nation's history."
The commission’s co-chairs – Kent Wong of UCLA’s Labor Center and Fred Glass of the California Federation of Teachers – guide the work to accomplish the tasks spelled out in its mission statement: “to promote and preserve awareness of labor's history and contributions in California’s education system. The Commission seeks to increase students' understanding of our economic system by providing concepts and lessons on the importance of collective bargaining for conflict resolution between workers and management."
Click here for more information about the Speaker's Commission on Labor Education.