The Blog

Devastating Cuts Reduced Faculty: Recovery Will Take Time

A new report from the Sacramento Bee based on data from the state credentialing agency paints a stark picture of how years of underfunding have decimated California’s teaching ranks.

The Bee finds that from 2008 to 2013, funding cuts reduced the number of new teachers by more than 40%.   The Bee concludes the layoff had a corollary effect on teacher recruitment by discouraging enrollment in teaching programs in the state by about 41%.

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State Secures Waiver of Federal Testing to Implement New Assessments

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst have announced that the federal government has agreed to California’s request for a one-year waiver on required federal student testing.

The waiver action, announced Friday, frees California from any fiscal penalties relating to its decision to set aside federally required tests in order to implement computer-assisted assessments of students that synch with the new and ambitious Common Core State Standards.

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From Generation to Generation: Future Farmers Visit Capitol Habitat


(Photo above) Led by two teachers who graduated from their high school a generation before, a group of students from Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria learn about CTA’s legislative advocacy on their behalf from CTA staff members (from l.) Debbie Oshige and Seth Bramble during a March 6 briefing in Sacramento.  (Photos by Len Feldman)

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CTA Leader to Legislature: Teachers' Voices Must Be Heard and Valued

(Photo above) CTA Vice President Eric Heins (c.) and a team of CTA staff, including (from l.) Legislative Advocate Patricia Rucker, IPD Consultant Norma Sanchez, and Legislative Advocate Isabelle Garcia listen and communicate about the testimony being heard by the Senate Education Committee during its informational hearing on “Teaching in the 21st Century” on March 5.

(Photos by Len Feldman)

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CTA Pres., State Supt. Mesmerize Students on Read Across America Day

(Photo Above - From l.) CTA Pres. Dean Vogel, a kindergarten teacher, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson read a powerful book about a young girl’s battle to overcome her reading disability – with the help of a dedicated teacher – as part of the Read Across America celebration on March 3. (Photos by Len Feldman)


The CTA leader and the superintendent read to third grade students of Catherine Boulos at David Lubin School in the Sacramento Unified School District Monday morning.

The two education leaders were among hundreds of educators, parents, and other adults who read to students at school on a national day dedicated to the vital educational “task.”

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CTA VP Heins to Address Senate Education Committee on Wed., March 5

CTA Vice President Eric Heins,  a veteran of more than 20 years in the classroom, is slated to testify before the Senate Education Committee during its Wednesday 9:00 a.m. informational hearing on “Teaching in the 21st Century:  Recruitment, Preparation, Retention, and Professional Development.”

CTA Vice President Heins will be one of the panelists addressing teachers’ needs and the process of bringing new teachers into the profession.

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California Joins in on the Read Across America Celebration

Read Across AmericaCTA officers and board members spread out all over California on Monday, March 3 to help celebrate Read Across America.

Dean Vogel started the day with Tom Torlakson reading to 3rd graders in Sacramento, then followed that up with a visit to Suisun Elementary and their public library where he read “The Day the Crayons Quit” (photo at left).

Eric Heins spent time at Bagby Elementary in San Jose; Mikki Chichoki and Jose Alcala spent the morning at La Jolla Elementary in Moreno Valley reading to classes there, and Sue Cirillo read to eight different classes at Beachy Avenue Elementary in Arleta.

CTA Board Liaison Kendall Vaught read to two different classes at Commonwealth School in Fullerton. Dana Dillon was on hand to receive a resolution from the State Assembly in Sacramento. And prior to Read Across America Day, Tyrone Cabell and Toby Boyd both participated in large community events celebrating reading. 

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San Francisco Teachers and Literacy Advocates Give Away 40,000 Free Books for Low-Income Students

It was an act of generosity that speaks volumes about the need for books in public schools. About 40,000 brand new donated books were handed out free to Bay Area teachers who work with low-income students on Saturday in a project mainly coordinated by United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) and First Book San Francisco, a literacy advocacy group that’s part of a national network.

Educators lined up in San Francisco around the block (see photo) to get free books to give to their students so students can start building home libraries and begin appreciating the power and fun of reading. The San Francisco Chronicle covered the extraordinary event that was made possible by numerous sponsors and more than 100 volunteers. It was also supported by the American Federation of Teachers.

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Wealth Disparities Balloon: Working Poor, Our Students' Parents, Have Hard Time

(Graphic above: source – Economic Analysis and Research Network.)

A recent San Francisco Chronicle article highlights a new study by the Economic Analysis and Research Network  that finds the income disparity between the wealthy and everyone else in California has grown.

The state now stands 17th nationally in terms of income disparity, with the top 1 percent averaging $1.2 million annually, versus $46,000 for everyone else.

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March 1 is Deadline for School Site Safety Plan Update, Supt. Torlakson Reminds Educators

Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is reminding schools that each has until March 1 to review and update a “comprehensive school safety plan.”  The law requires the plan to cover items ranging from bullying prevention to disaster preparedness.

“School climate has a real and lasting effect on a student’s ability to learn,” Supt. Torlakson said. “Nothing is more important than our students’ safety, and preparation is one of the first and most important steps a school can take in creating a more positive school climate.”

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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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