Educators Devastated by Fires Ravaging Northern and Southern California, Working Together to Support Colleagues, Students and Families
BURLINGAME – California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins issued the following statement today regarding the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County and the Woolsey Fire in Ventura County:
“These destructive fires are turning lives upside down. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and communities living this nightmare. The fires have claimed lives, destroyed homes, schools and hospitals. I know many educators, students, families and friends are threatened and are being evacuated or have already fled their homes. Right now, our number one job is to make sure everyone is safe.
“CTA members are working with school districts and community partners to provide whatever help and resources they can. Local teacher leaders are helping to account for educators, students and families, connecting them with housing when needed. In these devastating times, I am proud and gratified to see the outpouring of support from the entire community. We’re also grateful to our union brothers and sisters, the firefighters and first responders, who are battling these blazes and providing medical care. Although this is frightening, I know we will land on our feet because we have each other, and because of our collective strength and good will.”
Heins made his statement while he and his family packed up belongings and were being evacuated from their southern California home.
In northern California, the Camp Fire has destroyed at least five of the nine schools in Paradise and many educators have lost their homes. CTA’s Disaster Relief Fund provides assistance to educators who have had homes or schools damaged by wildfires. In the last three months, CTA Disaster Grants have paid out more than $187,000 to support educators, their families and students. For more information, please visit www.cta.org/disasterrelief
The CTA Chico Regional Resource Center at 1430 East Avenue #1 in Chico will be open all day Tuesday to aid area educators, including help with donations and filling out Disaster Grant forms. CTA leaders and staff are also stepping up to raise funds for victims. Donations for Paradise area teachers can be made through a special GoFundMe account. The direct link to that account can be found here https://www.gofundme.com/camp-fire-paradise-teachers
Tony, Tony, Tony!
With the election just more than a week away, the CTA State Council of Education focused on creative ways to help push Tony Thurmond over the finish line in the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) campaign. With polls showing the race is still neck-and-neck and many voters still undecided about who should lead California public education, Council led a Tweet-a-Thon to spread the word about this election and share why Thurmond is the educators’ choice for SPI. The effort made Tony Thurmond for SPI go viral, as tweeters propelled #TeamTony and #VotePublicEd to the No. 2 and 3 trending topics on Twitter. Keep up the momentum by using these hashtags all the way up to Election Day. And check out CTA’s Digital Toolkit for graphics and ideas for social media posts to help ensure a victory for Tony Thurmond on Election Day!
In addition to tweets, Council educators text-banked for Thurmond, sending more than 68,000 text messages to get out the vote. Retired teachers also added 600 hand-written postcards in support of Thurmond.
Amid all this, Thurmond took time out of his campaign schedule to join educators at Council to thank educators for their tireless support during the long campaign. Thurmond said it’s been an honor to work alongside educators to fight for public schools and our students.
“My opponent is supported by billionaires; I’m supported by teachers,” Thurmond said. “You all are champions for our kids every day!”
CTA President Eric Heins said that Thurmond was touched by the love and support shown by Council educators.
“You could feel the electricity in the room,” he said.
Onward to Victory on Election Day
Educators nationwide are raising their voices to support public schools and our shared values at the ballot box, and California is no different. CTA members are among the 1,500 educators across the country seeking election to take leadership roles in their communities. Victory on Election Day means voting for candidates who value education and understand the needs of our schools and educators. Shout it out loud to #VotePublicEd on Nov. 6!
Council voted to officially oppose Proposition 6, the effort to repeal revenue for repairing bridges and roads. Get a customized voting guide outlining CTA’s recommendations on this and other ballot initiatives and candidates before you cast your ballot Understanding the importance of this year’s election, Council authorized up to $2 million to support CTA’s positions on the November ballot.
President Heins: Don’t Let Billionaires Buy the Election
During his speech to Council, President Heins urged educators to vote for Tony Thurmond, stand up for public schools and fight the out-of-state billionaires who are trying to dismantle education.
“They’re trying to buy public education in California, and it is not for sale!” Heins said.
Let your friends and family know on your social media accounts why Tony Thurmond is so important for public schools and help shine a light on the billionaires spending millions to elect Marshall Tuck by sharing new videos showing just who’s behind his campaign.
Showing #RedForEd Solidarity with UTLA and OEA
Donned in every shade of red, council members stood in solidarity with educators in Los Angeles and Oakland, who are fighting school district administrations that have shown they do not support the people who serve their students. With United Teachers Los Angeles marching toward a potential strike and Oakland Educators Associationnot far behind, CTA members, educators across the country and the communities we serve are joining the #RedForEd movement in support of these and other educators who continue to make magic in the classroom despite the lack of support by their school districts.
Council delegates passed a NBI to have CTA encourage local chapters to initiate solidarity actions in support of the two largest local chapters, UTLA and OEA, in their current contract negotiations. The success of these two chapters will impact contract negotiations throughout the state.
Member Engagement Keeps Us Strong
Executive Director Joe Nuñez thanked Council for all the work in chapters to strengthen our union leading up to June’s Janus Supreme Court decision. Due to the engagement efforts of educators around the state, the impact of the negative (but expected) decision by the court has been far less than anticipated. He warned of the need to remain vigilant, as the Freedom Foundation and Mackinac Center for Public Policy (which is dedicating $50 million over the next three years to union-busting) are continuing their deceptive efforts to get members to drop out of their unions. If either of these groups (or others like them) show up in your district, use these tools to fight back and expose their real intentions.
Mourning the Tragedy in Pittsburgh
The energy of the Council meeting was dampened by news of another mass shooting tragedy, this time at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. The Council took a moment of silence in memory of the 11 people who were killed in the senseless shooting.
“We cannot allow this kind of hatred to exist in our society,” Heins said, urging the adoption of common-sense gun laws. “We must do it now. We must continue to fight back and not remain silent.”
The following funds were allocated to local campaigns for the 2018 election cycle. If you’d like to participate in this process for 2020, please contact your ABC representative, Corey Penrose
|A||Fairfield Suisun Unified Teachers Association||Craig Wilson||$1,300||11/6/2018|
|A||Forestville Teachers Association||Don Reha||$750||11/6/2018|
|A||Santa Rosa Teachers Association||Omar Medina||$1,250||11/6/2018|
|A||United Educators of San Francisco||Alison Collins, Li Lovett, Faauuga Moliga||$58,700||11/6/2018|
|A||Vacaville TA||Ginger Dunne||$4,200||11/6/2018|
|A||Vacaville Teachers Association||Shelley Daly, John Jansen, Michael Silva||$5,800||11/6/2018|
|A||Vallejo Education Association||John Fox, Ralph “Tony” Gross, Dr. “Tony” Ubalde||$7,200||11/6/2018|
- California Teachers of English will have their annual conference December 6th-9th in Anaheim, CA. The theme for this year is “Oceans of Opportunity” Inspiration, Innovation and Integration in a sea of change.
- California Council for the Social Studies will have their annual conference March 15-16, 2019 in San Jose.
- California Science Teachers Association conference with focus on NGSS, visit www.csga.org for more information on Science Standards.
- California Regional Occupation Center/Program Annual Conference: Nov 15-17, Rancho Mirage, CA.
- California Industrial Technology Educators Association: March 22-23 CSU Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.
- Linked Learning Alliance: March 19-21, Indian Wells, CA.
- California Industrial Technical Education will hold its annual conference March 22-23 in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Every K-12 student in California’s public and charter schools now has free access to three content resource databases. The California State Library partnered with Riverside County Office of Education to publish a Request for Proposals for this project. The $3 million-project is funded through public education dollars and is an ongoing project that is planned to last at least for 5 years. The three providers chosen are Encyclopedia Britannica, ProQuest, and TeachingBooks.net.
Signing Up Process:
The team of online content providers is working together to provide access for the more than 1,100 school districts and 1,200 charter schools in California. For public school districts and charter schools, please provide the necessary technical information and insure your students and staff can access these materials when the school year for 2018-19. To accomplish that just have your district or school tech director fill out this form.
Not sure if your district is signed up?
Check the list of school districts that have not completed the technical form for access at the CSLA website, CSLA.net.
Sign up at:
Other informational items
Please check out the Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy is available online at www.StudentPrivacyMatters.org
- The ACLU put out a statement rejecting mailers that are purposefully designed to look like they endorse Tony’s opponent.
- Bruce Harter, who was Superintendent during Tony’s term on the West Contra Costa Unified School Board, wrote a letter (attached) setting the record straight on the results Tony brought to West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) – increased graduation rates, renovated facilities, and more.
- Mayor London Breed with Assemblymembers Phil Ting and David Chiu came together with parents and students from WCCUSD in a press conference last week to disavow the attacks.
- The NAACP, California Teachers Association, California Labor Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and California Democratic Party Women’s Chair Christine Pelosi and Southern Chair Carolyn Fowler released statements.
- Finally, Senator Kamala Harris is standing up for Tony in a new TV ad released this week.