The value of the Education Coalition in helping promote our agenda was underlined by the speakers at our victory celebration on Sunday, Jan. 27: the state leaders of SEIU, AFSCME, and the firefighters union. Our collective electoral victories have provided CTA the momentum to shape the political agenda of the next two years, for starters.
Important details to consider and share:
· 90% of CTA members voted
· Prop. 32 was incredibly sneaky and deceptive, yet we moved public opinion to our point of view with our Education alliance partners
· Despite a corporate media blitz, we shifted public opinion because our members were organized and active in spreading the truth
· We spent $40 million on the campaign, with all of us making our individual contributions to the effort, including some of our dues dollars
· We now have a Democratic supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, more Democrats in our state’s congressional delegation, and reelected President Obama
· As the president of the firefighters’ union put it, “We made history by standing up for truth and justice.”
The high point of our celebration was an unpublicized appearance and informal speech by Jerry Brown. Our governor is so smart he does not use a script, and requested we keep his appearance private so we did not have to share him with the press and he could talk with us more informally. My notes include several of his ideas I wanted to share:
Pointing to the misguided emphasis on standardized tests, he said “we really need to get back to the relationship between a teacher and a child…it’s not a program
President Dean Vogel emphasized how we cannot rest on our laurels, and how he wants to shake up the status quo where only a few active members are active participants in the union. You may have seen the email asking you to take a survey. Please emphasize to members in your site meetings to take the online survey, which is an integral part of a new strategic plan to improve how all members connect with CTA, including our local.
The highlight of Sunday’s victory celebration was a speech by Jerry Brown. Wewere asked not to “leak” his appearance to prevent a media feeding frenzy that would inhibit a candid, informal talk with teacher leaders. His ideas, as represented in my written notes include:
· Despite a recent history of misguided emphasis on standardized test scores, “we really need to get back to the relationship between a teacher and a child…it’s not a program sent to you from some international corporation.”
· He discussed several of his own teachers, people who made “ a lifelong impact on students” and how “we are fighting for our lives and our future”
· before the election only a few Republicans would even talk to him, but they came through another route to his office than the front door because their Party leadership prevented serious dialogue on raising taxes, stating their attitude was that “talking about [raising] taxes is like talking about freedom in Stalinist Russia”
· by failing to compromise on raising tax revenues, the Republicans did California a favor because we got a better tax plan passed
· Prop. 30 deals with the increased concentration of wealth in this country, and how the top 1% has DOUBLED their income and led to the impoverishment of much of the bottom 99%, citing how during President Eisenhower’s administration in the 1950s the tax rate on the richest Americans was 90%!
· Debunking the claim that taxes on the rich in California cause them to leave the state, he said government research has shown the #1 factor why people leave is divorce
Other details worthy of mention:
CTA and NEA are both pouring substantial resources into Common Core implementation. This includes a free NEA Toolkit available as a free download at http://www.nea.org/home/46653.htm. Although some resources do not directly address California’s MORE rigorous Common Core Standards it is a good starting place since it addresses the national standards all states have signed onto..
CTA’s IPD staff also will come and do free trainings for staff, which reminds us that we do not have to spend a lot of money to bring in expensive outside consultants