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CTA believes our public schools are worth fighting for. That belief has guided our union since its founding in 1863. Today, as we approach our 157th birthday (May 9), we’re still just as dedicated in the fight for equal access, justice and resources for all California students, educators and classrooms. To celebrate, here are 12 times CTA has stood for public schools, students and teachers. (For the full history, click here.)

U.S. Government Poster announcing Executive Order 9066 – 1942 interning West Coast Japanese

1863 CTA is founded by the first California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Swett, and dedicated to the proposition that all California’s children deserve equal access to public schools.

1866-67 The first school year that all California students, including nonwhite students, have access to free public schools in their rural towns, communities and cities.

1913 To ensure all educators have a right to retire with dignity, CTA helps establish the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) — 22 years before the creation of the U.S. Social Security system.

1915 CTA fights to abolish child labor in California and enact legal protections for children.

1927 CTA wins a California State Supreme Court ruling that prevents school districts from firing female teachers because they are married.

1942 CTA is among a handful of organizations that stand against Executive Order 9066, the forced internment of Japanese Americans, many of whom were school-age students, during the Second World War.

1988 A victory for Proposition 98 means that each year, schools serving students from kindergarten to community college receive a guaranteed share of the state budget.

2006 Successful passage of the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) brings needed funding to schools that serve disadvantaged students and assist in closing the “achievement gap.”

2011 CTA supports the successful passage of the California DREAM Act, making college more accessible to undocumented students.

2012 After years of funding deficits, CTA helps win passage of Proposition 30, which brings $42 billion in badly needed revenue to public schools across the state. Members also help defeat an attack on unions by supporters of Prop. 32, the CTA-dubbed “Paycheck Deception Act.”

2016 To ensure that Proposition 30 tax rates continue to benefit schools and communities, CTA promotes passage of Proposition 55, which mandates that appropriate funding remain through the next decade.

2018 CTA joins the nationwide #RedForEd movement to bring attention to issues of chronic underfunding of schools across the country. Starting in West Virginia, cities in eight states stage massive and highly publicized strikes for more public school funding and better pay, including Oakland and Los Angeles.

We can’t wait to see what victories this generation of educators will bring to the students and communities of California!


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