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Nearly 150 educators attended CTA’s Political Academy where they learned, networked and received the knowledge needed to be successful in election campaigns at the local and regional levels.

Members learned about the Association for Better Citizenship (ABC), which provides support to local advocates and helps teachers learn how to maximize resources for bond, school board and county elections.

The Academy offered something for everyone, said Lorraine Richards, Montebello TA and ABC member.  “Sessions included precinct walking, phone-banking, use of social media, how to understand all the required paperwork, and how to assess pro-public education candidates and voters.”

First-time participant Karen Lord-Eyewe, Association of Pleasanton Teachers, took the treasurer’s training and said she found it to be scary,  mostly because she wants to do the job right. She says she has a better understanding about why having a local Political Action Committee (PAC) is important, and the whole endorsement process, including researching candidates and what they stand for.

Take the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Tony Thurmond, Lord-Eyewe says, is the logical choice because he is pro-public school, while his opponent is more interested in charter schools. “Why elect someone who wants to take public money and put it into private charters? Why let someone get elected who wants to make money off public schools just because you don’t want to be politically involved?”

“We’re all part of the process,” she said, adding everyone must vote, make their voices heard and do what’s best for students.

Ruby Baker, Chula Vista Educators, says her district is the result of a positive election campaign. They worked hard walking precincts, phone banking and supporting candidates who “are pro-student, pro-teacher and pro-community.  We have a fantastic school board. If we email school board members, they respond. The superintendent is thrilled with the communication. Our teaching and learning conditions are more enjoyable.”

Local chapters sent teams of teachers and college faculty to the weekend event.