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CTA is based on a simple premise: We are stronger together. This means supporting each other as educators to better challenge, inspire and motivate our students; rising together as association members to protect our rights; standing tall as leaders in our communities to advocate for the resources our schools need to succeed; and marching side by side in the #RedForEd movement to create the future our students deserve. And this year, we learned that it also means fighting for our safety and the collective health of our students and communities in the face of a global pandemic. But taking action to defend our students, our schools, and the shared values we hold dear is nothing new for CTA.

Since our founding in 1863, CTA has built a legacy of standing together and working for our members, our students, our craft, and the belief that public education is a cornerstone of American democracy. It’s these shared values that unite us and make us strong.

“ Though we are diverse in so many ways, we share an important focus: the future and potential of our students, schools and communities.”

While we are unified in our mission and voice, our differences are a major part of what makes us stronger together. Though we are diverse in so many ways, we share an important focus: the future and potential of our students, schools and communities.

It’s in this spirit that CTA has approached the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our lives, our students and our schools, summed up in one sentence from our July letter to Gov. Newsom and state leaders about the prospect of resuming in-person instruction: “Simply said, California cannot reopen schools unless they are safe.”

Along with your officers, Board of Directors and staff, I am working closely with the governor’s office and state Superintendent Thurmond to ensure that our voices are heard loud and clear when it comes to physically reopening our schools and community colleges. We say:

  • The health and safety of all students and staff must be the top priority and guiding principle in all plans and decisions.
  • Educators must continue to be part of the conversations, planning and decisions that impact students.
  • Schools must be properly resourced to provide equitable and effective teaching and learning, with particular attention to the impacts on students of the digital divide and economic inequality.
  • School districts must be adequately funded to be able to open safely, including sufficient personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and other necessary supplies and modifications to protect students and educators.

Since the start of the pandemic, CTA has been helping prepare teachers for robust distance learning and supporting local chapters as they make plans to return to school. Our webinars and virtual conferences this past spring and summer have already provided quality training to thousands of members; more sessions are planned.

We are #InThisTogether, and together we will make it through this pandemic. I want to thank all of you for everything you’ve done and are doing to support our students while navigating this new normal. Your heroic efforts in the midst of madness illustrate that while school buildings closed in spring, the teaching and learning have never stopped. Be safe and well, CTA family.

E. Toby Boyd

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