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By Julian Peeples

CTA President E. Toby Boyd delivered his report to the State Council of Education this morning, held virtually due to health and safety concerns. Here are 14 takeaways from his speech.


  1. Changing on the Fly: “I wish we could be together in-person as originally planned, but circumstances changed, so I want to thank you all for being so flexible.”
  2. Commitment to Safety: “It’s been two years since the first COVID-19 case was identified in the U.S and changed our lives. And since then, safety, guided by the science, has been our top priority — the safety of all educators, our students, and families.”
  3. #OnlyWhenItsSafe: “We all support the goal of in-person instruction and keeping schools open. But it must be safe to do so. Educators and students must have the safety precautions they need. There must be regular testing. And there must be enough staff to run a school.”
  4. Crucial Needs for Healthy Schools: “This week I sent a letter to Governor Newsom outlining steps that must be taken immediately: Prioritize the distribution of N-95 and KN-95 mask to all educators and school employees; provide at-home and in-school testing for students and educators; work with CTA and other stakeholders to develop solutions to the staffing shortages; and restore COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for all California workers.”
  5. #PaidSickDaysNow: “No educator should have to choose between going without pay or spreading the virus to their students and their families. The governor has signaled his support for restoring COVID leave, and we hope the legislature acts soon.”
  6. Everybody Loves COLA: “In the good news column this week, the governor’s proposed budget provides another year of record funding, with a 5.3% cost of living increase to the Local Control Funding Formula. He’s proposing an additional $1,200 per student.”
  7. Building Opportunities: “The governor continues to build on his promise to phase-in transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds by 2025 and maintained his five-year commitment to expand community schools. This will be an unprecedented opportunity for our youngest learners to start their education on a level playing field. It’s also another opportunity for us to strengthen the ties between parents, communities, and our neighborhood public schools.”
  8. Defending Public Education: As we continue to lead the fight for public education and to keep schools safe, this virus continues to expose a lot of deep flaws and divisions in our society. We’ve seen disinformation spread like wildfire. As most of us try to work together to grapple with these issues, small, but vocal fringe groups – as well as the well-funded, usual suspects – have taken advantage of this perfect storm for new attacks on public education.”
  9. Privatizers Look to Capitalize on Pandemic: “It’s no accident that we are looking at the probability of voucher initiatives on the ballot this year. Wealthy school privatizers see this pandemic as an opportunity. They’re not interested in addressing the inequities this pandemic has exposed. They’re interested exploiting them to turn parents and communities away from public schools and to the private sector.”
  10. Vouchers Destroy Public Schools: “Neither of the proposed voucher initiatives gathering signatures now offer any new funding sources or solutions—they’ll simply drain resources from existing students and neighborhood public schools. In the long term, they are designed to destroy public education as we know it.”
  11. #TeachTruth: “In addition to exploiting the disruption created by the pandemic, opponents of public education are also exploiting some of our nation’s deepest wounds. The hijacking of the university-term ‘critical race theory’ is now being used to undermine basic honesty in our classrooms.”
  12. Time. To. Organize: “While we face a multitude of challenges, it’s not as if we don’t have the tools, the skills, and the knowledge to address them. We just need to make sure we use them, and the first step is to organize. We have the means to address the challenges we face and organizing will be key.”
  13. The Power of Community Schools: “We believe that California’s historic investment in community schools presents a monumental opportunity to truly reimagine and transform local public schools to meet the rising needs of our students. We have the opportunity to make many of our schools the heart of the community—supporting students not just in academics, but creating environments that keep them safe, valued, engaged, and healthy.”
  14. The Fight for Truth & Justice Continues: “As we honor Dr. King this Monday, I’d like us to reflect on his work and on his legacy. The same ideologies that are trying to squash the truth in public education today are the same voices who fought him while he was alive and who have fought his legacy ever since. But if we stand strong and speak loudly, honesty will prevail.”

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