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By Julian Peeples

CTA must take an active role in fighting racism in our schools and communities, and we must be agents of change in a society rife with inequity, CTA President E. Toby Boyd said during the June State Council of Education meeting.

For the first time in CTA’s 157-year history, the meeting was held by videoconference, with more than 800 participants in total. It came at an emotional time for all Americans, following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and subsequent protests against police brutality and systemic racism across the country. In his speech to Council, Boyd shared some of his experiences as a Black man in America and his thoughts about our duty as educators to fight racism, police brutality and white supremacy in our classrooms and our communities.

“Change is going to happen, and CTA is going to be a part of it. We have to be.”
—CTA President E. Toby Boyd

“It’s all right to cry. It’s all right to show your anger. But words are not all we can do. We need results, and we can’t wait any longer,” Boyd said. “Change is going to happen, and CTA is going to be a part of it. We have to be.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic still facing communities up and down the state, Boyd said, educators’ voices are in the room during discussions about how and when to reopen public schools safely. He said safety for students and educators needs to be the top priority, along with flexibility for teaching and learning, educator input on all decisions, and the funding schools need to address the new challenges.

“We cannot open the schools until we know they are safe for our students and our members,” Boyd said. “There is no compromising that.”

CTA President E. Toby Boyd and Secretary-Treasurer Leslie Littman.

The fight for the funding our schools need for the services our students deserve includes passing the Schools and Communities First (SCF) initiative in the November election. The initiative will close tax loopholes that benefit a small number of corporations and wealthy investors to reclaim $12 billion a year in funding for public education and local services that benefit our communities. Council voted to authorize up to $6 million to support CTA’s positions on the ballot by the Political Involvement Committee to oppose the Early Release Rollback initiative, support the Bail Reform Referendum and oppose the Gig-Workers Classification initiative. A vote of no recommendation was taken on a number of other initiatives.

Council also recognized outstanding members and leaders. Boyd recognized CTA’s 2020 Paula J. Monroe Education Support Professional of the Year Deisy Bates, an interpreter/translator with Hayward Unified School District’s special education department, and outgoing CTA/NEA-Retired President Marc Sternberger. State Council members also bid farewell to outgoing CTA Board at-large member Bill Freeman and outgoing District N member Barbara Dawson.

State Council elected the following members to the CTA Board of Directors:

  • Jerry Eaton, District A
  • Shelly Gupton, District E
  • Jesse Aguilar, District H
  • Sergio Martinez, District K
  • Denise Bradford, District N
  • Telly Tse, At-Large

These members were elected to the CTA/ABC Committee:

  • Luciano Ortiz, District G
  • Nora Allstedt, District H
  • Hilary Hall, District I
  • Alan Underwood, District M
  • James Benanti, District O

These members were elected to the NEA Board of Directors:

  • Shane Parmely, District 10
  • Nora Allstedt, Alternate Seat 1

In closing the meeting, a visibly emotional Boyd urged all to join CTA in the work needed to eradicate racism and show that Black Lives Matter.

“All of you are change agents in your communities,” he said. “We know that we have to change the system. I am up for the fight, and I hope you are, too.”

 

The next State Council of Education meeting is Oct. 23-25, scheduled to be held at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles.