California Educator

October/November 2019

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C A L I F O R N I A E D U C A T O R S today are at the center of advancing historic legislation to address corruption in the charter school system that has led to chronic under- funding of neighborhood schools across the state. ey are following a bold legacy that has been at the heart of the California Teachers Association since its founding more than 155 years ago. Jo h n Sw e tt w a s f o u n d e r of C TA a n d t h e f o u r t h superintendent of public instruction in California . After he was elected in 1862, Swett embarked on a listening tour across the state. With classroom expe- rience under his belt, he knew to prioritize listening to and organizing teachers and parents in the early days of his term. At one of his meetings with educators in San Fran- cisco, Swett said, "Association in some form is the soul of modern progress. … Let us organize and work together. John Swett, state superintendent of public instruction, 1863-67. Courtesy UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library. CTA's foundation for advocacy still strong today By Rachel Warino Living Legacy Let us make our inf luence felt in leading public opinion in school affairs." Educators agreed, and the California Educational Society was born in 1863. e name would later change to the California Teachers Association. At the time, California was gold-rich, and many called for using that wealth and raising taxes to create schools in local communities. Public pressure for common schools (the term used at the time for pub- licly funded elementary schools) came to a boiling point as a result of organized and emboldened educators and parents. The California Legislature finally took action and passed the 1866 Act to Provide a Sys- tem for Common Schools. This innovative legislation established per-pupil and district fund- ing; carved out funding for school libraries, a state series of textbooks, and teacher certification and training institute programs; authorized the State Board of Education to establish rules and regulations for schools; and required that all school districts provide ink, chalk, pens and stationery for students and classrooms. It was revolutionary for the time and has been lauded as the inspiration for our system of public education today. Learn more about John Swett and our history at " Let us organize and work together. Let us make our influence felt in leading public opinion in school affairs." —CTA founder John Swett 64 CTA & You O U R L A B O R H I S T O R Y

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