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By Julian Peeples

CTA President E. Toby Boyd delivered an inspiring speech to the State Council of Education this morning at the last meeting of the school year. Here are a dozen takeaways from his report.

  1. Get Out The Vote: “It’s Election Time and the June Primary is just two-and-a-half weeks away! CTA has multiple resources to help out in this election. Check out the online CTA Voter Guide … right at your fingertips at cta.yourvoter.guide.
  2. Four More Years: “There are dozens of important races on the ballot, but none is more important than re-electing Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Tony has been a truly powerful advocate for students at all levels: Pre-K, elementary, middle, high school, community colleges and beyond … He’s had an open door when it comes to listening to educators, to CTA, and our priorities for students. He’s been a pleasure to work with, and his record proves he deserves re-election.”
  3. Tony, Tony, Tony: “We’re asking you to record your story about why to vote for Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction. I know we’re all tired of seeing ourselves on camera, but I also know we got really good at it. And we need to share our stories to re-elect Tony. All you need to do is go to: stories.cta.org/whytony.”
  4. Sac City Solidarity: “I want to take a moment now to congratulate the brave members of the Sacramento City Teachers Association who went on an eight-day strike where one key issue was a staffing crisis that was leaving 10,000 students without a permanent teacher and 3,000 students without even a substitute. Supported by parents, Sac City ended that strike and ratified an agreement that helps address those shortages and increases salaries with no cuts to health insurance.”
  5. Rising Together to Fight:Oakland Education Association held a one-day Unfair Labor Practice strike over the District’s continued closures of majority Black schools in violation of agreements with OEA … And in Los Angeles, Alliance Charter School members who voted to unionize with UTLA more than three years went on a one-day strike over the Alliance Board’s ongoing refusal to bargain a contract.”
  6. The Power of Us: “While ideally none of us would ever have to go on strike, districts don’t always behave ideally. I’m so proud that CTA members rise to the occasion when it matters most. We do it for our students and we do it for each other. It makes me equally proud to be an educator, a union member and your state president.”
  7. Supporting Public Schools, Together: “This past Wednesday was Education Support Professionals Day. I can’t say enough about our outstanding ESP members and how critical the role they play is to keeping our schools running smoothly and our students healthy and safe. May 11 was both School Nurse Day and California Day of the Teacher. The past two years have made us more grateful than ever for the caring work of our school nurses, and of course we know what classroom educators have experienced since the pandemic began.”
  8. Educators Just Wanna Have Funds: “Gov. Newsom released his May Revised Budget proposal last week and there’s certainly good news. The state has an unprecedented $97.5 billion dollar surplus. Under the plan, pre-K-12 and community colleges would receive a record $128 billion in the 2022-23 school year, $20 billion more than was proposed in January … California has the fifth largest economy in the world. There’s no reason our schools shouldn’t have the highest per pupil funding in the country.”
  9. Building Community Schools: “California led the nation with its historic $3 billion dollar investment in transforming high poverty public schools into community schools. We now have even more reason to celebrate. Gov. Newsom is proposing an additional $1.5 billion for these transformative schools. Our collective effort and work is paying off. California is deeply committed to community schools, and addressing long-standing inequities through family engagement, community partnerships, and shared decision-making. But rest assured, none of it would be happening without the advocacy and hard work of many CTA members like you.”
  10. Defending the Truth: “History is being whitewashed. Fueled by self-serving politicians, extremist media and massive disinformation campaigns, we’ve seen this fear of the truth show up in sometimes very heated school board meetings. While some of those raising these issues at board meetings have been local parents, in many cases it’s been outside activists who have been working to try and drive a wedge between those parents and educators.””
  11. Protecting LGBTQ+ Students: “School campuses across our state have become much more welcoming and supportive of gay, lesbian and trans students. I know many of you are actively involved in campus clubs and alliances that support these kids, and others are allies who support them in other ways. But we’re seeing a disturbing uptick in attacks on efforts to support LGBTQ+ students. This has led to teachers being harassed for simply doing their jobs of implementing the district curriculum … Let’s not let outsiders, bigots, and truth-deniers succeed in dividing our school communities.”
  12. Parents Support Our Fight: “I believe the overwhelming majority of parents support us in the work we’re doing. And I’ve NEVER been more optimistic about the future of California schools as we continue to make real progress towards our long-term funding goals … Harvey Milk once said ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite the darkness.’ CTA members, you are that light; let’s not let the darkness get in our way.”

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