I always love this time of year. As a kindergarten teacher, I get to greet students as they walk into their classroom for the first time, creating a supportive, welcoming and nurturing environment that instills a love of learning and thirst for knowledge.
Let me welcome all of you back to another amazing year of preparing our students to be the leaders of tomorrow. The summer break always feels so short, but I hope you made time to recharge and take some well-deserved time for yourselves. In this ever-changing and often scary time, our students are depending on us more than ever.
It can be overwhelming when we think about just how much is put on our shoulders as educators and how little support we receive to fulfill these responsibilities and expectations. But remember that with CTA, you are never alone. Together we are 310,000 strong, united in support of each other and our schools, and in the belief that all students deserve a high-quality education, regardless of their ZIP code.
“In this ever-changing and often scary time, our students are depending on us more than ever.”
The growing #RedForEd movement is making a difference for public education across the nation, and we are continuing the fight for the resources our students deserve. The successes last year of courageous locals in Los Angeles, Oakland and New Haven Unified are inspiring as we step up our fight for fair funding to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed. I am confident that together we will achieve our goal of reaching the national per-pupil funding average by 2025 and the Top 10 in the U.S. by 2030.
CTA’s strength is rooted in our commitment to each other and our shared values. Though we are diverse in so many ways, we all share an important focus: advocating for our students, schools, colleges and communities. Our union is built on the belief that we are stronger together, and there is a place for everyone in CTA.
I am committed to ensuring we continue to honor the varied views and opinions of all our members in a safe and productive environment. As we look to build our union, engage our members and organize educators, including those currently unrepresented at charter schools, we will always provide an opportunity for all to be engaged and find a place for everyone to shine.
We will continue to lift each other up as educators, providing teacher-led professional development programs and building greater capacity in local associations based on their specific needs, including bargaining, trauma-informed instruction, alternative discipline, grievances and contract enforcement. I hope that you will take advantage of one of our many professional development opportunities in the coming year.
Finally, as our nation weathers difficult times, we will continue to stand for the principles and values that have guided CTA since our birth. Our union was created with social justice woven deeply into our mission, vision and policies, which guide our advocacy for the human rights of all students, educators and communities. We have put it on the line for our students and our members time and time again. As we stand tall together as educators and as CTA, let’s continue our fight for the schools our students deserve.
E. Toby Boyd