As this very challenging school year comes to an end, I want to take a moment to express my deep pride and appreciation for the absolutely incredible work that CTA members across the state have done to give California students a quality education, a sense of structure and normalcy, and perhaps most importantly, your unceasing care and concern for their well-being. You took the nightmare of the COVID-19 pandemic and reassured your students that they still mattered, their education still mattered, and even a massive quarantine would not put a wall between them and the educators they depend on. You have been an inspiration.
“You reassured students that they still mattered, their education still mattered, and even a massive quarantine would not put a wall between them and the educators they depend on.”
I’ve also been so proud to see the videos of online graduations and commencements, students claiming their moment in spite of everything, educators showing up in person for safe social distancing parades celebrating their students. We’ve also enjoyed some much-needed humor out there in the form of memes, posts from harried parents and even ad campaigns, along with more serious messages of thanks and support. It’s pretty clear most people “get it.”
We’ll need all of that support and then some if we are going to reopen schools safely. CTA is continuing its efforts to prevent devastating state budget cuts that will make reopening safely almost impossible. We are also continuing to be deeply involved in discussions with lawmakers and other policymakers to ensure they understand what, in addition to adequate funding, will be required to open schools so that students and staff can return safely and so that parents will feel confident about sending their children back into our classrooms. Every CTA member can be a part of the funding solution by taking action and contacting lawmakers on our new website at cta.org/covid19budgetcrisis.
As the school year ends, we and the entire world have been faced with the ugly and racist murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. I know many CTA members are among the millions who have risen up in protest not only against this awful crime, but against similar crimes and both individual and systemic racism in all institutions, including public education and our own union. Together, we must continue the call for justice and hold powerful people (and each other) accountable. Saying #BlackLivesMatter isn’t enough.
2020 has been quite a ride, and it’s not over yet, but still, I urge every CTA member to take some time for yourself this summer. It’s too easy to let our work become all-consuming and to spend too much time staring at a screen. Get outside, exercise, engage in hobbies, read, and within safety guidelines, spend time connecting with friends and family. CTA will continue to be fully engaged throughout the summer, but that doesn’t mean our members haven’t earned a break. If we need you for some sort of action (and we will), we’ll let you know. Otherwise, enjoy the summer, and let’s all look forward to a safe and better 2020-21 school year.
E. Toby Boyd