Gray Harris, Jennefer Porch, Mike Patterson
What a difference a year can make.
May 23, 2013, hundreds of CTA Chapter leaders were in the Capitol, engaging lawmakers in discussions about how best to use an influx of new revenues created by voters’ passage of Proposition 30 to restore cut programs and reduce class size. A year ago, May 2012, CTA local leaders urged legislators to vote against another devastating $5 billion in cuts. Why are they passionate about politics? Read on…
“The state Capitol is where decisions are made.”
Gray Harris, Alameda Education Association President
Gray Harris loves to share how politics affects every educator in the district. Her chapter’s growing commitment to politics, which won them recognition as a CTA Chapter-in-Politics Award winner for 2012 activities, goes beyond securing an enhanced contract settlement.
Gray emphasized that while educators are really focused on teaching, “it’s important for educators to make their voices heard in the state Capitol, where all decisions are made about class size reduction, funding and professional development for the Common Core.”
“Politics impacts my classroom and my students.”
Jennefer Porch, Chula Vista Educators President
“Politics impacts my classroom every day.” That’s why Jennifer Porch, a second-grade teacher, is working to better school funding and to get her members even more involved in political action.
Educators need support, and she realizes that sparking political involvement is not an easy task. The key is talking with people, one member at a time. During the Proposition 30 campaign “I visited local sites — those one-on-one conversations do work, and they let you connect to people.” The November campaign is clear evidence that “as teachers, we can move mountains.”
“Don’t be taken in by so-called reformers.”
Mike Patterson, South Tahoe Educators Association member
Mike Patterson says proudly that he was the first state Democratic delegate to sign a petition that led the state party to pass a resolution in April denouncing Michelle Rhee and her so-called Democrats for Education Reform group. Rhee and the group, which is financed by corporate special interests, are seeking ultimately to privatize public education.
An automotive teacher, he’s has been involved in politics for more than 10 years. “Unless we’re out there to provide correct information, even good Democrats who believe in public education may be taken in by the rhetoric of the so-called reformers who are trying to destroy public schools.”