California Educator

September 2013

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CTA &You CTA History Timeline 1976-90 T H E ' 7 0 S S A W an era of struggle, change and laws that redefined CTA. Until then, the organization was divided into independent geographical sections, each of which had its own directors, boards, and culture, with some focusing on advocacy while others functioned more as professional associations. With a push by key leaders, elections were held and the sections consolidated into one larger, stronger statewide union. That unifying of the organization coincided with the signing of the Rodda Act by Gov. Jerry Brown in 1975, granting collective bargaining rights to California public education employees. Consequently, CTA started an organizing frenzy and became the exclusive representative of local affiliates throughout the state. Staff hired chiefly for that task found themselves competing with the American Federation of Teachers. Nevertheless, there was an unprecedented growth in membership as CTA began its successful drive to become the largest teachers union in the state. By the 1980s, however, schools began to suffer from budget tightening and thousands of layoffs, due to the passage of Proposition 13. The initiative drastically reduced property taxes, the major source of school funding. "Proposition 13 passed in June 1978. I remember it well because it was the day I was sworn in as president of my local chapter," says former CTA President Barbara E. Kerr. "I remember being very, very happy — and then, it was just dark." California slipped from being in the top 10 states in per-pupil funding down to 47th. A little relief came in SB 813, a 1983 CTA-sponsored bill that infused money into the public schools and increased the number of days that teachers taught. In 1988, CTA rescued public schools by drafting and passing Proposition 98, a state constitutional amendment that guaranteed at least 40 percent of the state budget went to K-14 education. The passage of Prop. 98 firmly established CTA as a political force. CTA's leaders realized that power comes through political activity, and every decision affecting the classroom is a political decision. 1980 1982 1987 1988 The Rio Hondo College Faculty Association of CTA becomes the first community college chapter to go on strike. In the wake of Proposition 13, 2,500 teachers go to Sacramento to lobby for adequate school funding, led by CTA President Marilyn Bittle. The Contra Costa County Education Association becomes the first CTA county office chapter to strike. Fifteen members are arrested for holding a sit-in at the district office. CTA-sponsored Proposition 98 guarantees a minimum level of funding for California's public schools. Educator 09 Sep 2013 v3.6 int.indd 62 9/3/13 2:27 PM

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