Volume 14, Issue 2
David A. Sanchez,
When I think about being a member of our union, many thoughts come to mind. I think about my upbringing in rural Santa Maria and my parents, who were both educators and were very active in the teachers union. I remember how important the union was to them and how they worked together with other members, who were like an extended family. I think about our association’s rich history spanning 146 years, protecting the rights of students and teachers and helping to build communities in California. And I think about each and every one of you, about how important each CTA member is and how vital all of our voices are to realizing the vision we have for improving public education.
CTA is a powerful force. We’ve shown that time and time again through the work we do with our students every day and through our efforts to improve the conditions of teaching and learning. As far back as the 1860s, we fought in Sacramento against segregation in schools — and we continued in this decade with our efforts in Washington, D.C., putting a stop to a flawed proposal to reauthorize No Child Left Behind. Had it not been for active CTA members, those great accomplishments, and a hundred other accomplishments over the years, might not have occurred.
The secret of our union’s strength is our gathering together, sharing ideas that benefit our teachers and prepare our students for bright futures. That’s one of the reasons CTA has launched a new organizing campaign that is aimed at engaging all members and building our union even stronger. CTA chapters will soon be conducting small organizing meetings across the state to understand how members really feel about public education and what we can do together to fix the problems facing our schools and our state. That information will help guide CTA as it moves forward through these chaotic times.
Recently, we discovered that our members’ voices were heard regarding the federal government’s rush to push through Race to the Top, which seeks to significantly tie teacher evaluations with student test scores. Because of CTA’s actions and the voices of other educators across the country, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that his office needs more time before issuing the final regulations that states would be required to follow to receive funds. That delay was a direct result of our union’s collective voice being heard.
One particular voice that has echoed in my head over the past few months has been that of CTA member Kathleen Crummey, who passed away this summer. Kathleen was an outstanding Hayward teacher for three decades, a labor leader, a community activist, and a force for justice. Her work for the betterment of teachers, students and her union was exemplary. She truly embodied the spirit of our union. Members like her allow us to see how each member holds the power to change and make a difference. They allow us all to see why we work so hard toward the common goal of protecting public education. With members like ours, the possibility of a better future is truly limitless.
I’m really proud to be a member of this great union. CTA’s history has been marked by great achievements of individual members and by determination as a group to stand up for schools in the face of great opposition. CTA has been the bellwether of impressive and necessary cultural change that has helped to cultivate more harmonious and productive communities. Joining together, we can all build on that history of success and create a better California for our schools and our students. The continued involvement of each of us means a strong CTA we can all be proud of.
¡Sí Se Puede!
¿Por Qué No?
[Yes we can! Why not?], words inspired by César Chávez, encourage us to remember that, together, we can achieve great things.