Ready for Change – California Teachers Association
CTA’s State Board of Education in May was an action-packed affair – the first general session alone saw powerful presentations honoring Asian-Pacific American Pride and Heritage Months, African American History (focusing 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 enthusiastically received by delegates who appreciate his work on behalf of our students and public schools.
CTA President E. Toby Boyd struck an optimistic note in his address to delegates, commending educators for always standing up to take action to support students, families and communities, and each other. He also spoke about the good news in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state budget review in May, where pre-K-12 and community colleges would receive a record $128 billion during the school year. 2022-23 – $20 billion more than what was proposed in January and $35 billion more than the current budget. While noting that while much of the increases are for one-time funding, he said California is moving in the right direction when it comes to spending per student.
“California has the fifth largest economy in the world. There’s no reason our schools shouldn’t have the highest per-student funding in the country,” Boyd said.
Newsom is also offering an additional $1.5 billion in the ongoing effort to transform very poor public schools into community schools. (California led the country last year with its $3 billion investment in community schools.) Residents and CTA partners are already working hard to make sure community schools run smoothly, educators, students, parents and community members leading the charge from scratch. (See our story on page 26.)
“We are here on the brink of historic change, 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 facing educators, particularly in attempts to bury history and the truth about race in America, and an increase in attacks on efforts to support the LGBTQ+ students. But he was optimistic about the future.
“Harvey Milk once said, ‘Hope is to be able to see that there is light in spite of the darkness,'” Boyd said. “CTA members, you are that light; don’t let the darkness get in the way!
Council delegates also reviewed current legislation, including candidates and June primary ballot bills, and took the following positions on November ballot measures:
• Art and music in schools — Support
• Living Wages Act — Support
• Reduction of plastic waste — Support
• Stop Big Tobacco Referendum — Support
• Online and mobile sports betting — To oppose
• Pandemic alert system — To oppose
• Clean Cars and Air Act – To oppose
(For more information on the Educator-Recommended Candidates, visit the Election 2022 homepage on cta.org.)
CTA Executive Director Joe Boyd in his address to the council stressed how crucial elections are as many of our rights and freedoms are under attack including the right to vote, reproductive freedom, marriage and equality rights.
“Elections matter — from our school boards to the White House, from city councils to the state house,” Boyd said. He pointed out that union power, from successes at charter schools and CTA 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.”
The recognition of Harvey Milk Day on May 22, the last day of the State Council, was particularly poignant. Delegates heard from members of the Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Issues during its Pride Month presentation. Milk’s message of giving hope to young people is just as urgent today, given the ongoing attacks on LGBTQ+ educators and students.
Nichole DeVore of SOGIIAC said, “It is essential that we continue to stand up and be role models for our students so that they can see themselves and believe that they too can live their lives in their most authentic and safe form. flourish as precious human beings.
WHO Awards “We Honor Ours”
Each year since 1966, CTA has honored members of chapters across the state who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the teaching profession. The WHO awards recognize these individuals for local leadership and effective representation on the Service Center Council (SCC) and the CTA State Council of Education. The 2022 winners:
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 CSC – Antonieta Somoza, Palmdale Elementary TA
Imperial County SCC – Carmina Ramirez, Calexico Associate Professors
Merced / Mariposa SCC – Ron Newark, Merced City TA
Orange CSC – Grant Schuster, Anaheim Secondary TA
Redwood SCC — Janet Renfrow, Fairfield-Suisun Unified Technical Assistant
San Diego County CSC – Catherine Sprecco, Lakeside TA (2021); James Messina, Grossmont TA (2022)
San Gorgonio CSC – Jeff Kingsberg, Temecula Valley EA
One Service Center – Jacquella Payne, Mountain View TA
South East CSC — Lorraine Richards, Montebello TA
Stanislaus SCC — JoDee Bonales, Ceres TA
SCC Student – Catalina Castillo, San Bernardino Valley College
Tulare-Kings SCC – Wendy Colson, Tulare City TA
UTLA/NEA SCC — Cecily Myart-Cruz, UTLA/NEA
The CTA Award for Higher Education
CTA recognizes and promotes excellence in teaching; defense of the profession and the union; attention to inclusion, equity and diversity; and community and student engagement. Dr. Wes Swanson, a member of the Community College Association and San Joaquin Delta College TA, received the inaugural CTA Award for Higher Education for his outstanding achievement in all of these areas.