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By Julian Peeples

As an unprecedented school year comes to a close, CTA State Council this weekend set a path forward through the pandemic and beyond, continuing the fight for the public schools all students deserve.

That path includes opposing the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, following a State Council vote to adopt the position and work to defeat the anti-worker, anti-union recall effort.

“California educators stand in strong opposition to the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom,” CTA President E. Toby Boyd said. “From our classroom vantage point during the pandemic, we didn’t always agree on approach, but we’ve never questioned his commitment to California’s students and public education.”

Behind the scenes at Virtual CTA State Council

Held virtually for the fourth straight time due to the pandemic, CTA President E. Toby Boyd said the October State Council meeting is planned to be held in-person. In his report to State Council, Boyd thanked educators for their resilience, strength and courage during the past 15 months.

“What a year it’s been. Remote teaching, hybrid teaching, outside teaching, socially distanced teaching – I know many of you did it all,” Boyd said. “While this year has been hard, know that your work, your leadership, and your advocacy made our schools safer.”

CTA President E. Toby Boyd

With the highest education funding in the state’s history and billions in one-time dollars from the federal government, Boyd told State Council that this moment is an opportunity to rethink our education system so that it reaches, serves and supports all students equitably.

“The pandemic exposed what we as educators have long known about our public school system – all kids did not start this pandemic on equal footing, and they did not have the support and resources they needed to get through,” Boyd said. “We can and should take this opportunity to hit the restart button. Who says schools can’t look different in the Fall? We don’t have to go back to business as usual. And fortunately, we should have more resources in the coming year to make that happen.”

 

Taking Care of Business, Honoring Our Own

State Council took positions on a number of legislative items, including endorsing two candidates for seats on the California Public Employees’ Retirement System Board of Administration: David Miller for Member At Large Seat A, and Jose Luis Pacheco for Member At Large Seat B. Council also approved the CTA budget for the coming year and honored the winners of the state We Honor Ours (WHO) Awards.

Stories about how educators quickly adapted to distance learning and on teachers in the Bay Area donating their stimulus checks to undocumented families are among the works honored by CTA’s 62nd annual John Swett Awards for Media Excellence. Fourteen winning entries were chosen by an independent panel of working journalists and media professionals. The awards honor individuals, publications, websites, and broadcast media for their outstanding achievements in reporting and interpreting public education issues during 2020.

“During one of the hardest times for California’s educators and students, these skilled reporters told stories about triumphs, challenges, and perseverance displayed by educators fighting for the success and safety of their students,” Boyd said. “Their outstanding work is based on truth and vigor, and we are so proud to honor them for their dedication to quality journalism.”

State Council also honored the dedication of member leaders ending their term in elected positions, wishing a fond farewell to locally elected educators leaving the State Council of Education, as well as those leaving the NEA Board of Directors and CTA Board of Directors – including an emotional thank you to outgoing District G Board Member Gayle Bilek after her many years of service.

Council members elected Taunya Jaco, a middle school educator and member of San Jose Teachers Association, to replace her on the CTA Board of Directors. The following elections occurred after the March State Council meeting, with these educators winning seats on the NEA Board of Directors:

  • District 2: VanCedric Williams
  • District 8: Gina Whipple
  • District 11: Yurii Camacho

State Council also celebrated Pride Month with a touching video by the CTA Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Issues Advisory Committee (SOGIIAC) and recommitted to supporting our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities with a special presentation from the CTA Pacific Asian American Caucus, which included ways to show unity and #StopAsianHate.

 

Looking Ahead

The next State Council of Education will be held in October. President Boyd urged all members to exercise self-care and take much needed time to rest during the summer break.

CTA Executive Director Joe Boyd said in the coming school year, educators will need to continue to be at the table, engaged and organizing to build power and fight for the public schools all students deserve.

“It has been a hard year, a tragic year and, at times, a triumphant year. But mostly it has just been a weird year,” Joe Boyd said. “Now is the time to recommit to the work of revitalization and getting back to our most powerful and effective tool: Solidarity.”