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By Julian Peeples

CTA President David B. Goldberg delivered an inspiring report to CTA State Council of Education this morning. Here are 10 takeaways from that speech:

  1. The Power of People: “Every January State Council, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. … Dr. King worked with union leaders to organize working people to come together in collective actions. It was people powered movements for justice. Everything Dr. King accomplished in his lifetime, everything we remember and honor today, happened thanks to people power. As we move into Black History Month and Black Lives Matters at School at the beginning of the month, it’s vital to always remember the solidarity built into the foundation of these historic movements.”


  1. Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy: “It fills me with hope to know that the people I’m looking at right now – a room of nearly 1,000 public school educators – are carrying on the legacy of Dr. King today. In our union. And in our classrooms. In our people-powered campaigns. We’re all united by the struggle for public education.”


  1. Reversing Decades of Disinvestment: “California used to be the best funded education system in the nation. We used to invest in our students on par or above the rest of the country. Then, over time, as California’s student demographics shifted, our public school system that once received deep investment, started to erode. Where did the money go? It didn’t just disappear.”


  1. Broken on Purpose: “In our union, we can fight to reverse decades of disinvestment and underfunding in our schools. The first step is for all of us to understand how we got here today. Then we can dismantle this broken system. This system that is 100% broken on purpose.”


  1. The Chaos of Budget Shortfalls: During the pandemic, when world economies were crashing, we were able to largely protect school funding. Now, with record profits for corporations and CEOs, we’re looking at a $38-billion shortfall in our state budget. We’ll see in the coming months where it lands, but we all saw this coming, didn’t we? We’re way too familiar with these up and down budget cycles and the chaos they bring to our districts and ultimately, our classrooms.”

  1. No Layoffs, No Exceptions: “While the Governor’s budget appears to reflect an ongoing commitment to public education, CTA remains committed to these three priorities. 1. Protect the gains we’ve made in recent years. 2. No layoffs. 3. Lastly, we MUST continue to fight for additional revenue sources for our schools and communities.


  1. Building Power One School Site at a Time: “The work before us is clear. We need to transform how our schools are funded at the state level. But before we can do any of that, we need to build the democratic structures and the strong local unions, like the ones Dr. King so championed.”

  1. Defending and Growing Our Democracy: “These are hard times when so many forces are working to limit democracy – even the Voting Rights Act, which was the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement and came only after struggles and even people dying, was gutted about 10 years ago by the Supreme Court. We have to commit to winning back the gains of generations before us. We can play our part by building a union with democracy and connection at its core – at every worksite and in every corner of CTA.”
  2. The Transformative Power of Community Schools: “Bargaining campaigns, school board election victories. Workplace safety. The Community Schools our students deserve. Across the state we’re seeing local chapters organizing for Community Schools. Organizing for shared governance – the core of every successful Community School. This is our future!”
  3. Winning on Election Day: We also need champions of public education and unions on our school boards to work alongside us to implement this vision for our future. We have the upcoming March primary with some school board races on the ballot across the state. In fact- we have 2,000 races this year! As union educators, we have the power to impact the outcome of every election – and in particular our local school board races. It’s through strong locals and collective action that we can ensure victory in those board races.”



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