Celebrating Our Victories, Organizing for More

Schools & Communities First kickoff highlights busy State Council weekend

How does CTA’s State Council of Education celebrate some of the biggest victories in our union’s 156-year history? By kicking off the Schools & Communities First (SCF) campaign to begin reversing decades of education funding cuts, and make students and families a top priority in California.

CTA President E. Toby Boyd led a news conference Sunday from the State Council floor to announce the Schools & Communities First initiative, which would close corporate property tax loopholes to generate $12 billion a year for public schools and community services. CTA has committed to gathering 150,000 of the 1.6 million signatures needed to qualify SCF for the November 2020 ballot.

CTA President E. Toby Boyd and State Council kicked off the Schools & Communities First campaign.

“We’re here to celebrate the start of a new day for public schools and communities all across California,” Boyd said at the press conference. “Schools & Communities First will reclaim $12 billion every year to fund world-class schools and make our local economies stronger. It also starts to undo the effects of decades of chronic underfunding of our schools, colleges and public services.”

Help spread the word about Schools & Communities First at home and on your social media networks. Follow @WeAreCTA and @Schools1stCA on Twitter and Instagram for information and updates to share, and add a frame to your Facebook profile picture to show you stand with schools and communities.

Boyd outlined the important fight ahead during his speech to State Council, when he also thanked CTA’s assembled leaders for their efforts in CTA’s victories for students and public schools over the past year. The biggest wins were the signing into law of AB 1505 and 1507, the first changes to California’s charter school law in nearly 30 years. These laws will ensure transparency and accountability of corporate charter schools; they give local school boards the power to consider the fiscal impact charters will have on other schools before authorization; and the laws require that charters operate only in the districts that authorize them.

“They also will ensure that students attending charter schools are taught by fully credentialed teachers!” Boyd said. “Together, we made history!”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García delivered Sunday’s keynote at State Council.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García delighted State Council on Sunday, sharing stories about why next year’s presidential election is so crucial for public education and the very future of the United States.

“We are fighting for an America that never existed. We are fighting for who we are supposed to be … for the two most important words in the English language: For all,” Eskelsen García said. “It is my daily prayer that you and I will be worthy of those who are counting on us. I have never believed in the power of us more than I do now.”

She urged educators to visit NEA’s presidential election website, Strong Public Schools, for information on where all the candidates stand when it comes to public schools and issues that matter to educators. Eskelsen García also issued a unique call-to-action: To throw a house party. She asked educators to host parties on Nov. 6—one year before next year’s presidential election—to talk with family, friends and neighbors about why their vote next year is so important.

“We’ve got to get people woke!” she said.

The two Boyds: CTA President E. Toby introduces new CTA Executive Director Joe at State Council.

Setting the vision for the coming year’s advocacy, CTA State Council endorsed next year’s school facilities bond (AB 48), as well as authorized up to $6 million to support CTA positions on the 2020 ballot. President Boyd also introduced to State Council the new CTA Executive Director, Joe Boyd, who will officially start Nov. 1.

Four members were elected to new leadership roles:

  • Christopher Finley to the NEA Board of Directors, District 14
  • Nichole DeVore to the NEA Board of Directors, Alternate Seat 2
  • DeWayne Sheaffer to the CTA Board of Directors, District Q
  • Hilary Hall to CTA/ABC Committee, District I

Emphasizing that the victories of the past year took commitment to each other, our students and our shared mission, President Boyd thanked all CTA members for fighting side-by-side for the schools our students need to be the leaders of tomorrow.

“Our work never really stops as educators and advocates,” Boyd said. “But with students at the center of everything we do, it never really feels like work.”

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