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The Power of Our Voice

Eric Heins with Tony Thurmond, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Photo: Mike Myslinski

As president of CTA I read through a lot of research. I’m kind of a research junkie. So, you can imagine how much I get to geek out during an election year. Everybody is reporting on their latest finding about this initiative or that candidate. CTA is no exception. We survey our members and, at times, voters, to help prioritize issues and get a better understanding of what Californians think about our public schools and colleges.

I’m happy to report that the people of California get it. They know our students need better-funded schools. They know teachers are still not paid a comparable wage based on their education. They believe educators shouldn’t have to take on additional jobs to make ends meet for their families. And they see you as one of the most trusted sources for information in their communities.

“When we educate voters on who will be best for our students and communities, great things can happen.”

As an educator, when you speak up, people are listening. And this election, voters are looking to us to see who we believe will be the best candidate for the local school board, state senator, governor and California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI). The latter isn’t a position that gets a lot of attention from voters. Most don’t realize the amount of influence the SPI has on what happens in our neighborhood public schools, but you do!

Whether you are interested in politics or can’t wait until election season is over, we can’t afford to ignore the influence politicians have on our work. This is why teams of local CTA members from across the state interview the candidates and identify those who share our values of a quality public education for all students. When we educate voters on who will be best for our students and communities, great things can happen. Just as when we elected Jerry Brown for governor and Tom Torlakson for SPI.

We’ve achieved a lot over the past eight years partnering with Torlakson to improve student achievement and protect the rights of educators. At times this was done with opposition mounting in the school privatization corner. With Torlakson, we were able to hold the line so that all students, regardless of their ZIP code, would have the chance at a quality public education.

We now have the opportunity to elect a new leader to carry on this important work. To our team members who interviewed the candidates, it was crystal clear: Only one candidate had the first-hand experience necessary to do the job, the record of advocacy for all students, the courage to stand up to those wanting to privatize our public schools, and the wisdom to listen to educators when we say what will work in the classroom. That candidate is Tony Thurmond!

I invite you to read more about Thurmond and his vision for public education in California at and then share what you learn with your colleagues, friends, family, congregation, and neighbors. Ask them to support the educators’ choice for SPI.

Vote Tony Thurmond!

Eric C. Heins CTA President @ericheins