CTA, Standing Strong
It’s a New Year! Whether you’re new to the profession or a veteran educator, the beginning of the year is always an exciting time — meeting students and colleagues, settling in, anticipating full and fruitful months ahead.
And as you welcome your students back to school, I want to welcome you. The work you do to make sure every student gets the public education they deserve is so important to the future of California. It’s also part of CTA’s legacy. Every generation of educators before us has faced some of the same challenges we face today: funding, class size, discrimination, a living wage. We are building on the rights and advancements they won since CTA’s inception in 1863 by a group of educators wanting to raise a strengthened and united voice for education. Led by John Swett, who served as California’s fourth superintendent of public instruction, CTA’s first legislative victory came in 1866. For the first time in the history of the state, every public school was made entirely free for every child.
Since then, CTA has been at the forefront of every improvement to public education in California. We helped create the UC and CSU systems, as well as the teachers’ retirement system. We helped pass the first class size limitation measure in 1895, and the minimum school funding law in 1988 that continues to guarantee funding for schools and colleges.
CTA members are still leading the profession and working together to provide a quality public education to every student, regardless of their ZIP code. Together, we are standing up to those who want to profit from public education. They include the U.S. secretary of education, billionaire lobbyist Betsy DeVos, whose agenda is to defund, dismantle and privatize public education in our country and promote vouchers — a dangerous, retrograde idea that takes taxpayer dollars away from public schools to fund private and parochial school tuition. California voters have already voted down vouchers three times. Eric Heins at CTA’s 2017 Summer Institute CTA believes every student has a basic right to a great public education. That’s why we support the educators who are nurturing tomorrow’s inventors, thinkers, artists and leaders.
We are committed to helping you be the best educator you can be. Throughout the year CTA offers a variety of professional development opportunities. We offer around 10 statewide conferences — including the increasingly popular Good Teaching Conference (we host one in Northern California and one in Southern California each year), the Human Rights Conference, Summer Institute, and our latest addition, the New Educator Weekend. That doesn’t even include those available on the local, regional and national levels.
As an association, we want to make sure those new to the profession feel supported, encouraged and welcomed. Even if you’ve been a teacher for a while, like me, I bet you can remember what it was like to walk into your classroom the first time — how you felt with all those eyes focused on you. New teachers these days have the same trepidations we did when we were starting out. No one knows what works best in a classroom but a teacher. So if you have a new teacher on your hall, stop by and say, “Hey, welcome to the profession and to CTA!”Let them know that you are there for them if they have questions or just want to talk.
Let’s make this our best year yet!
Eric C. Heins