Energized by our victories, eyes on the challenges to come
CTA President E. Toby Boyd addressed the State Board of Education this morning at its first meeting of the school year. Here are 10 takeaways from his speech:
- Another virtual board: “I know we’re all looking forward to being together in person as soon as possible, but for this meeting the logistical issues including hotel staff and security concerns around COVID with the Delta variant meant a more virtual meeting. “
- We are back! (and oh so tired): “This will be the first full school year in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know how happy most of you have been to meet the students and see your colleagues again. But I also know there are real challenges: security issues, quarantine issues, and staff shortages. We have a growing shortage of educators, with a record number of resignations and retirements linked to the stress of teaching and learning during the pandemic. “
- Security policy: “Some districts have been lax in applying standards or respecting the terms of local agreements. And some districts and school boards have found themselves caught in the midst of the politicization of basic security measures. Sometimes our locals have been in the political crosshairs of community members, or even other educators. That is why solidarity and the basis of our decisions about science and what is safe for students, staff and communities must avoid politics and disinformation.
- Vaccines and masks: “If you are not vaccinated and your test is positive, you are 13 times more likely to be hospitalized. And you are 20 times more likely to die. It’s equally important to remember that the security measures we support are not just about protecting each of us as individuals.they aim to protect each other. “
- #InThisTogether: “A clear majority of our members support generalized vaccination, and I urge all CTA members who do not have a medical or religious exemption to be vaccinated. Go ahead and get that booster shot when you can. Overcoming this pandemic is a collective effort. “
- The good ones raise their ugly heads: “Two school voucher initiatives have been tabled in hopes of qualifying for the November 2022 ballot. Both are said to use public funds to send students to private and religious schools, thereby removing money and resources vital to public schools. Voters have rejected school vouchers twice already, but there is no doubt that these measures will be well funded and will require our solidarity, strength and good organization to defeat them. “
- Unity is our strength: “It’s so important that we continue to be united and strong. This is why one-on-one meetings and the organization of the school site are so essential. Educators who speak with one voice are a force to be reckoned with. We must stand together to push back any effort to privatize one of California’s oldest and most valuable resources: our public schools. Our students continue to count on us, and as the CTA family has demonstrated time and time again, we are up to the challenge!
- Teaching the truth: “For too long we have had to fight resistance to teaching about the contributions and perspectives of people who actually look like much of California. And the struggle to honestly teach our history is ongoing. We must stay strong and not be intimidated into teaching a false history … And we must not let California schools fall prey to the historically bankrupt “bilateralism” that is plaguing public education in places like Texas on issues like slavery, rights and the Holocaust. Teachers must have the freedom to teach!
- The power of community schools: “The organization has borne fruit with a significant new investment in community schools. The community school model represents a major effort because of its transformative power. Community schools operate on a “whole child” approach and integrate community resources so that students are healthy, prepared for college and ready to succeed. It is an approach that brings together academics, health and social services, educator leadership and community engagement to improve student learning and build healthier communities.
- Forward, propelled by our victories: “Let’s be energized by the accomplishments we have made together – even though I know you are tired – and use that energy as fuel to seize the great opportunities and meet the big challenges ahead. “