Messages From CTA
Message from the President
CTA President Eric Heins
March 29, 2016
SCOTUS decision is a victory for students, educators and working families.
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court sent a victory to our students, our communities and working families everywhere. With a 4-4 decision in Friedrichs v. CTA the lower court ruling is affirmed and 40 years of common sense law stands. The decision allows educators across California the opportunity to come together and make our voices heard on issues that affect all of us such as providing quality public schools and colleges for all students.
This case was never about doing what’s best for students, it was a political ploy by the wealthy corporate special interests backing this case to make it harder for working families and the middle class to come together, speak up and get ahead. CTA will continue to advocate for the public education all California students deserve, fight for social justice, and secure better learning and working conditions for students and educators.
For more information, read:
As some of the same wealthy special interests who manufactured this case are also trying to prevent President Obama from filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court, it’s time for all lawmakers to uphold their constitutional responsibilities and keep moving the nomination process through Congress. The time to act is now. Reach out and email your Senator today.
Eric Heins
California Teachers Association
The preeminent voice for educators and students in California's public schools and colleges. 
Learn more at
Council Decides
A Report of CTA’s State Council of Education | October 2015
November 17, 2015
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Once upon a State Council...
The October State Council proved to be CTA’s next bold step in implementing the long-term strategic plan. At the direction of Council and with feedback from Committee Chairs, the dynamic schedule for the October Council allowed CTA to focus on developing an organizing culture and building leadership. Organizing guru Marshall Ganz was on hand to help delegates understand the power of their own stories and how those crescendo into the powerful story of CTA. Ganz helped Council to understand the power of storytelling in effecting the change we want to see in the profession.

Council delegates broke into subgroups to practice sharing their stories on Saturday. Delegates built a better connection to each other by sharing personal experiences. On Sunday delegates connected their learnings to the broader work of the Association. Delegates left the meeting with a charge: to have conversations with three colleagues when they got home. This is known as the 3,000 conversations project, as it will help us build capacity to stand up to whatever attacks the future holds (e.g., Friedrichs v. CTA) and advocate for the public education all students deserve (i.e., Advocacy Agenda).   

CTA President Heins Urges Members to Organize to Keep Winning Victories for Students
Opening a reconfigured State Council designed to help nurture an organizing culture in our 325,000-member union, CTA President Eric Heins challenged State Council members to master new skills to organize our members and our communities in support of our students.

“I want to thank you all for having the foresight and the courage to update Council to meet our changing needs,” the CTA leader said. “CTA and its locals are putting renewed energy into organizing, membership recruitment and engagement. In fact, CTA has set a goal that every local association will have a membership engagement plan in place by the fall of 2016.”

In his first address as CTA President to Council, Heins laid out his goals, which are built upon two themes: “CTA will be the premier educational organization in the country” and “CTA will be at the forefront of changing the public conversation about our schools and colleges, our profession, and our union.”

Pres. Heins spelled out the challenges that CTA has taken on, including boosting funding for public education through support for Proposition 30. He noted the Association and its allies are fighting new battles to extend taxes on the wealthy to help raise California from its dismal 46th national ranking in per-student funding. He also cited ongoing fights to beat back legal suits aimed at silencing the voices of teachers, including Friedrichs v. CTA .
Legendary Freedom Rider, UFW Organizer Sparks Members to Talk and Action
Marshall Ganz, who dropped out of Harvard to fight for voting rights in the South and worked with César Chávez to organize the United Farm Workers, provided inspiration and new tools to State Council members Saturday to help build an even stronger union. 

Ganz, who now teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, introduced delegates to storytelling as a leadership skill and as a way to engage more members, parents and community members. He outlined how individual stories (known as the story of self) combine to form a larger story (known as the story of us), and explained how harnessing this narrative to advocate for what our students need (known as the story of now) is a powerful and effective method to accomplish our goals.   

During both Saturday and Sunday, State Council members practiced the tools, which include telling their own stories and using those stories to make connections and empower the union to achieve its important goals. State Council members will be bringing the tools and mission of organizing stronger locals back to their chapters.

Ganz's work with Council will further a goal of CTA's Strategic Plan — to establish an organizing culture at the local, regional and state levels of our union to build greater capacity and deepen participation among all members.
Executive Director Joe Nuñez Recounts CTA’s Victories, Cites Challenges Facing Us
Modeling what delegates were learning all weekend, CTA Executive Director Joe Nuñez shared his own story that led him from the cauliflower fields of Santa Barbara to be the first in his family to graduate from college to a classroom of his own, and ultimately to his devotion and commitment to the union.

Nuñez talked about how different and necessary the leadership training at Council had been. “This weekend is not only our strategic plan in action, but could be a turning point in the history of CTA, as we now have the opportunity to take our story of self, share and grow it together to tell the story of us, and put our story of now into action by using the attacks of those who want to silence workers, destroy unions and eliminate public education as an opportunity to recruit, organize and engage all educators in CTA.”

He cited the potential for Friedrichs v. CTA — an attack underwritten by the anti-union Koch Brothers — to undermine “fair share” and force CTA members to pay the costs of protecting their non-union colleagues. These legal attacks reflect opponents’ recognition that they can’t beat CTA at the ballot box or on the floor of the Legislature. (See PowerPoint)

“You’re the strength of CTA,” the state executive director told Council. “Your willingness to go back to your chapters and have conversations with your colleagues and lead a campaign for hope will make the difference. We must apply the tools Marshall gave us. We must use what we’ve learned, not just to tell our stories, but also to elicit others’ stories and values and build relationships and develop more leaders and organizers in our union.”
Council Votes to Support the School Funding and Budget Stability Act of 2016 
State Council members voted unanimously to support The School Funding and Budget Stability Act of 2016. The measure would extend the part of Proposition 30 that levies additional taxes on the wealthy, but the initiative would not extend the current sales tax implemented by the November 2012 measure.

This new initiative, if approved by voters in November 2016, would raise about $2 billion annually for K-14 schools. It would also provide to non-Proposition 98 state programs about $4 billion annually.

Council delegates also voted to allocate up to $3 million from the Association’s initiative account to support CTA ballot positions in the 2016 election.
In other actions, State Council:
  • Elected Barbara J. Dawson to the CTA Board of Directors, District N.
  • Elected Robert Ellis as NEA Director, District 3.
  • Elected Telly Tse as NEA Alternate Director, Seat 3.
  • Elected to the CTA/ABC Committee Wendy Eccles (District K) and Luciano Ortiz (District G).
  • Rejected a proposed amendment to Article VI of the bylaws governing election procedures for the Board of Directors.
  • Celebrated with the American Indian/Alaska Native Caucus the enactment of two bills that will end the use of the R-word (a racial slur for Native Americans) in names of school mascots and teams, and create a new credential to help teach Native American languages and cultures.
  • Voted to refer to October 12 each year as “Indigenous People’s Day.”
  • Voted to have CTA publish and disseminate to the public its support of the right of students and parents to opt out of standardized testing.
  • Made decisions in “tiering” legislative races that set the stage for recommendations in the forthcoming primary election.
California Teachers Association
The preeminent voice for educators and students in California's public schools and colleges. 
Learn more at
1705 Murchison Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010 
Phone: (650) 697-1400
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