In the Southland, local chapter leaders of California Teachers Association met at San Gorgonio’s Service Center Council’s Fall Leadership Conference in Palm Springs where they addressed three major issues confronting Southern California educators; a possible strike by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the role educators will play in electing Tony Thurmond as the next California superintendent of public instruction, and plans to defeat the badly-written Proposition 5 giveaway that would cost public schools over 1 billion dollars.
For educators, the election means checking the forces of public school privatization by ensuring California schools are appropriately funded and led by a public education advocate and supporter.
For educators, Tony Thurmond is that advocate; a proud K-12 product of California’s public schools. His platform to address rising student debt, food insecurity, and decades of divestment will bring our state back to prominence after languishing in the bottom 20% in the nation in per-pupil funding.
UTLA awaits a showdown between its teachers and LA’s school superintendent Austin Beutner, a billionaire former investment banker and for-profit schools supporter with no public education experience. For UTLA, these issues are inextricably linked.
Thurmond’s opponent also has no public school experience and supports privatizing of California’s schools. As a private hedge fund manager, he also has no qualifications or public education experience.
Educators see victories on these issues as a bell-weather for ending the forces of divestment that have devastated California’s K-12 and public university system that was once the envy of the nation.
The badly-written Proposition 5 must also be defeated. After years of deficits and billions of dollars in losses of education funding, we cannot go back to policies that strip state dollars from our schools and students.
“We’re in the midst of a historical moment” explained United Teacher Los Angeles Member Mel House; “While our opponents are better-financed by dark money than ever before, we have our members and our passion that will carry across more than 900 school sites in LA and beyond.”.
CTA President Eric Heins reminded attendees of the importance of engaging and voting. “We will not go back to the dark days of education cuts in California. We must stop the passage of Proposition 5, that the non-partisan California Legislative Analysts Office says will cost our schools over 1 billion dollars.
Learn how you can help elect leaders like Tony Thurmond who support schools and reject regressive economic policies here.