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By Julian Peeples

The second-ever virtual CTA State Council of Education may not have been in person, but more than 700 educators left the digital meeting with the same inspired energy as ever for the final push to victory on Election Day.

CTA Secretary-Treasurer Leslie Littman

Held safely via videoconference because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CTA State Council spent much of last week and nearly all of Saturday completing business for our union’s 310,000 members, debating issues and approving policy to advance the fight for the public schools all students deserve. The top priority for the next eight days: Victory on Election Day – winning the resources our schools and communities need, advancing justice and opportunity for all, protecting workers, and electing leaders who see us, know us and are ready to dream with us.

“We have the opportunity to get desperately needed school funding by voting YES on Proposition 15,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “On a national level, we have a chance to put our country back on the right path and say NO to bullying, racism, to anti-LGBTQ+ policies and school privatization.”

So much is at stake this election, Boyd said in his speech to State Council, encouraging all members to put everything into the final push to Election Day, Nov. 3 (Get a customized Voter Guide here). There are phone banking opportunities every day through Election Day and other ways to be a part of the historic campaign for our students and families. With victory in reach and the needs in our schools and communities so great, CTA State Council voted to approve an additional $7.5 million to support CTA’s positions on the ballot:

YES on Prop. 15
YES on Prop. 16
NO on Prop. 20
NO on Prop. 22
YES on Prop. 25

CTA Vice President David B. Goldberg gave a passionate speech to State Council, thanking all members for the countless hours spent working to pass Prop. 15 to reclaim $12 billion a year for our schools and communities. It is because of these efforts, he said, that in the midst of some of our nation’s darkest times, we have the opportunity for historic victories that no one thought possible.

CTA Vice President David B. Goldberg

“We are about to lead the country when we pass these initiatives and invest in all of our kids. We are redefining our relationship with our communities,” Goldberg said, asking every member to get involved in this historic effort. “CTA Family, we are in the ninth inning. We are going to leave it all on the field. Nobody expected us to be in this. We are going against the richest billionaires in the world and they are spending millions to confuse voters. But WE are the secret weapon. All power to us, all power to our students, all power to the people! Let’s make this happen!”

CTA Executive Director Joe Boyd told State Council delegates that these might be the most important final days of an election in this country, ever. He said this year’s campaign is a shining example of what we can accomplish together. Amid embracing distance learning and pushing back on districts rushing to physically reopen, Boyd shared the impressive work done by CTA members in the last 12 weeks to win crucial resources that our students and communities need.

  • 70,000 member-to-member identifications and counting– and THOUSANDS of more calls to get those.
  • Hundreds of online site visits and thousands of virtual card commitments.
  • 25,000 texts.
  • 70,000 postcards.
  • Radio, digital and television spots.
  • More than 2 million pieces of mail distributed.
  • And providing the financial backbone for the Prop. 15 coalition campaign to run its statewide communications and mail.

“All of those were US —  our union, our leaders, our members, our staff – volunteer efforts, organizing efforts and grassroots efforts, Joe Boyd said. “We didn’t pay outside vendors to do the work of talking to our members.  We did it.”

“CTA Family, we are in the ninth inning. We are going to leave it all on the field. Nobody expected us to be in this. We are going against the richest billionaires in the world and they are spending millions to confuse voters. But WE are the secret weapon. All power to us, all power to our students, all power to the people! Let’s make this happen!” — David B. Goldberg, CTA Vice President


Protecting Educators and Students: Reopening #OnlyWhenItsSafe

President Toby Boyd thanked educators for their extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaffirming that CTA continues to be a voice for health, safety and sanity in discussions about virus testing, tracing and other precautions needed to physically return to classrooms statewide. CTA continues to build upon the resources available for local leaders and members, and advocate at all levels to protect educators, students and our communities.

CTA acted swiftly and resolutely to protect lives, and recent polling shows parents not only agree with these robust health and safety standards in our schools, they trust educators to guide decisions on how and when to physically reopen schools.

“The only source more trusted than teachers to guide decisions on re-opening is Dr. Anthony Fauci,” said Boyd. “Most parents say they would not feel comfortable sending their kids to school right now. They say this despite the hardship some express regarding having their kids at home.”

CTA President E. Toby Boyd

Council Approves Ethnic Studies Curriculum Policy

While the most recent effort to make ethnic studies a permanent part of the California high school experience ended in a Gov. Gavin Newsom veto, CTA educators are stepping up the fight to ensure that all students have the chance to see themselves and their ancestral legacies as part of a well-developed curriculum. State Council approved an expanded ethnic studies policy that outlines the guiding principles that should be the foundation for any adopted ethnic studies curriculum. This policy will give CTA legislative advocates guidance as they continue the effort for ethnic studies legislation with elected leaders.

“We have an opportunity, I believe a responsibility, to stand up together and also say, an injury to one of our students is an injury to all of us,” President Boyd said. “We must show our Black, Indigenous and students of color that we see them, we see the systemic roadblocks in their path, and we will help them navigate this road until we can build a new one paved with opportunity for all.”

Behind-the-scenes at CTA Headquarters in Burlingame for virtual CTA State Council.

Building Awareness and Remembering Those Lost

State Council commemorated Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a touching presentation and reminder to stay vigilant against the illness that affects so many. President Boyd also asked the assembled CTA leaders to remember all those who have been affected by the deadly COVID-19 virus.

“I know some of you have lost colleagues, friends, or family to this awful virus. Many of our students have faced similar losses in their families,” he said. “Our heart goes out to everyone who’s experienced loss over the past seven months.”

The State Council of Education will next meet (virtually) in January 2021.