CTA State Council of Education in May was an action-packed affair — the first general session alone saw powerful presentations honoring Pride and Asian Pacific American Heritage months, African American history (focused on Martin Luther King Jr.) and Black Lives Matter, and the late CTA board member Jerry Eaton. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond also made an appearance and was met with enthusiasm by delegates who appreciate his work supporting our students and public schools.
CTA President E. Toby Boyd struck an upbeat note in his speech to delegates, praising educators for always rising to take action to support students, families and communities, and each other. He also talked about the good news in Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Revision of the state budget, where 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 and $35 billion more than the current budget. While noting that while much of the increases are in one-time funding, he said California is moving in the right direction in per-student spending.
“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,” Boyd said.
Newsom is also proposing an additional $1.5 billion in the ongoing effort to transform high-poverty public schools into community schools. (California led the nation last year with its $3 billion investment in community schools.) CTA locals and partners are already working hard to ensure community schools are done right, with educators, students, parents and community members leading the charge from the ground up. (See our story on page 26.)
“We’re on the precipice of historical change here, change that will have a lasting impact on our communities because it engages students, parents and families and improves student learning,” Boyd said.
Boyd drew attention to the social justice challenges educators contend with, particularly in attempts to bury history and truth about race in America, and in a rise in attacks on efforts to support LGBTQ+ students. But he was optimistic about the future.
“Harvey Milk once said, ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite the darkness,’” Boyd said. “CTA members, you are that light; let’s not let the darkness get in our way!”
Council delegates also considered current legislation, including candidates and bills on the June primary ballot, and took the following positions on November ballot measures:
• Art & Music in Schools — Support
• Living Wage Act — Support
• Plastic Waste Reduction — Support
• Stop Big Tobacco Referendum — Support
• Online & Mobile Sports Betting — Oppose
• Pandemic Warning System — Oppose
• Clean Cars & Air Act — Oppose
(For more information on educators’ recommended candidates, visit the Election 2022 home on cta.org.)
CTA Executive Director Joe Boyd, in his council speech, noted how crucial elections are as many of our rights and freedoms are under attack, including voting rights, reproductive freedom and marriage and equality rights.
“Elections matter – from our school boards to the White House, from city councils to the statehouse,” Boyd said. He emphasized that union power, from successes at CTA’s charter schools and locals to what’s happening at Starbucks, Amazon and more, comes from organizing at the ground level. “It’s those daily wins that lead to big wins in an election year.”
Especially poignant was acknowledgement of Harvey Milk Day on May 22, the final day of State Council. Delegates heard from members of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Issues Advisory Committee during its Pride Month presentation. Milk’s message to give young people hope is just as urgent today, given continuing attacks on LGBTQ+ educators and students.
Said SOGIIAC’s Nichole DeVore, “It is vital that we continue to stand up and be out role models for our students so they can see themselves and believe that they too can live their lives in their truest forms and thrive as valuable human beings.”
WHO “We Honor Ours” Awards
Each year since 1966, CTA has honored chapter members throughout the state who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the teaching profession. The WHO Awards recognize these individuals’ local leadership and effective representation on the Service Center Council (SCC) and CTA State Council of Education. The 2022 recipients:
Alcosta SCC — Keith Brown, Oakland EA
Bay Valley SCC — Aba Ngissah, Beverly Hills EA
Capital SCC — Jessica Hilderbrand, Twin Rivers United Educators
Chico SCC — Alberto Mojica, Orland TA
CTA/NEA Retired — John Graham
Delta SCC — Chandra McPeters, Stockton TA
Golden Gate SCC — Betty Robinson-Harris, United Educators of San Francisco
High Desert SCC — Antonieta Somoza, Palmdale Elementary TA
Imperial County SCC — Carmina Ramirez, Associated Calexico Teachers
Merced/Mariposa SCC — Ron Newark, Merced City TA
Orange SCC — Grant Schuster, Anaheim Secondary TA
Redwood SCC — Janet Renfrow, Fairfield-Suisun Unified TA
San Diego County SCC — Catherine Sprecco, Lakeside TA (2021) ; James Messina, Grossmont TA (2022)
San Gorgonio SCC — Jeff Kingsberg, Temecula Valley EA
Service Center One — Jacquella Payne, Mountain View TA
Southeastern SCC — Lorraine Richards, Montebello TA
Stanislaus SCC — JoDee Bonales, Ceres TA
Student SCC — Catalina Castillo, San Bernardino Valley College
Tulare-Kings SCC — Wendy Colson, Tulare City TA
UTLA/NEA SCC — Cecily Myart-Cruz, UTLA/NEA
The CTA Higher Education Award
CTA recognizes and promotes excellence in teaching; advocacy for the profession and for the union; attention to inclusion, equity and diversity; and community and student engagement. Community College Association and San Joaquin Delta College TA member Dr. Wes Swanson received the inaugural CTA Higher Education Award for his outstanding accomplishments in all these areas.