The Golden State Has Turned a Brilliant #RedForEd
As educators have fought for the schools all students deserve, in the Capitol and on picket lines across California, the Golden State has turned a bright #RedForEd. CTA State Council celebrated the successful May 22 Day of Action that saw thousands of educators and public education supporters create a Sea of Red in the streets of Sacramento and fill the Capitol Rotunda.
CTA President Eric Heins said the amazing display of unity in the fight for funded and protected public schools became even more special that afternoon when the Assembly approved AB 1505, the CTA-co-sponsored bill that ensures local school boards have sole authority over charter schools in their districts.
“What had already been a great day of advocacy, became historic,” Heins said, “as we sent a clear message that ALL of our students come first.”
Council Thanks Heins for Four Years of Victories
In an emotional, laughter-filled tribute, Council thanked President Heins for his leadership for the past four years. In a special video to commemorate his time at the helm of CTA, fellow leaders and colleagues lauded Heins’ lifetime of championing the rights and dignity of all educators and the promise of the teaching profession.
Visibly touched by the gesture, Heins told State Council members that it was his honor, pleasure and privilege to serve our great union.
“It has been a thrill and an honor to be with all of you as a part of those wins, to be with you in the fight for public education, and to help our union be there for our members and students even in the most difficult of times,” he said. “And what’s probably most satisfying for me is knowing that as I step away from this role, CTA remains in your good hands, and is ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
NEA Vice President Pringle Inspires Council
This year’s activism in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and locals throughout California has inspired educators across the country, said NEA Vice President Becky Pringle in a rousing speech to Council. She congratulated CTA members and supporters of public education for taking to the streets and Capitol in Sacramento during our #RedForEd Day of Action, and calling attention to the fact that California has the fifth-largest economy in the world but insufficient public school funding.
“How can anyone in a position of power justify that you are 44th in school funding?” she asked. “It is time that this state invested in students! It’s time educators were valued for the caring and valuable professionals they are!”
Sending Solidarity to Striking New Haven Teachers
For two weeks, the 585 members of New Haven Teachers Association (NHTA) have been on strike for the schools their students deserve. The New Haven Unified School District superintendent has walked out of numerous negotiations session and two consecutive school board meetings were canceled when board members refused to listen to the concerns of their community. President Heins said CTA firmly stands with NHTA in their fight.
“We want to send a loud message of solidarity to the 600 New Haven members. You are not standing alone!” he said. “CTA’s got your back! Educators across the state are standing on those picket lines with you!”
Nuñez: One Year After Janus, We’re Still Standing!
While news headlines foretold the demise of labor unions following last year’s Janus v. AFSCME decision, CTA Executive Director Joe Nuñez said our union has only gotten stronger since then. Membership has increased statewide, from Chula Vista to Yreka, with nearly 20,000 new members in the past year.
“To paraphrase the words of Elton John — WE’RE STILL STANDING,” Nuñez said. “In fact, we’re standing stronger than ever!”
Outstanding Members and Allies Honored for Service
The last State Council of the year means honoring educators, supporters and students who have gone above and beyond in service to CTA, public education, our students and the values that make us strong. Council honored former Gov. Jerry Brown with the State Gold Award, a number of amazing members with the We Honor Ours (WHO) awards, outstanding journalists who tell our compelling stories in the 60th annual John Swett Awards, and inspiring students with the Youth Activist Awards.
Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Stonewall Uprising
50 years ago, members of the LGBTQ+ community stood together and fought back when police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City. This uprising is widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States.
The month of June is recognized as Pride Month to commemorate the historic Stonewall Uprising. CTA State Council included a special installment, curated by the CTA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues Advisory Committee, chronicling Stonewall and its impact on our nation.
Bidding Farewell to Longtime Leaders and Welcoming New Ones
The proverbial torches were passed this weekend as CTA bid farewell to longtime leaders and welcomed those prepared to carry on their legacy as leaders of our union. Council said tearful goodbyes to CTA Vice President Theresa Montaño, District C Director Terri Jackson and District O Director José Alcalá. And they congratulated the winners of this weekend’s elections (which were also held to fill the seats vacated by new President E. Toby Boyd and Secretary-Treasurer Leslie Littman):
- District C Director Angela Normand
- District E Director Shelly Gupton
- District I Director Chris Bushée
- District O Director Greg Abt
- District Q Director Susan Green
- NEA Alternate Director (Seat 3) Luciano Ortiz