California Educator

September 2014

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CTA & You New NEA President "Stop toxic testing" NEA President Lily Eskelsen García comes to California, calls for bold reforms By Dina Martin I N A U G U S T, just weeks before her term of office began, NEA Presi- dent-elect Lily Eskelsen García brought her "Back to School" tour to California, where she met with CTA members to discuss concerns of NEA's 3 million members. Those concerns include putting an end to "toxic testing," promot- ing teacher-led reform, making college affordable for all, thoughtfully implementing Common Core State Standards, and organizing char- ter schools. In Southern California, Eskelsen García lent her support to United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) in their "Schools That LA Students Deserve" campaign and saluted California for "doing it right" in implementing Common Core with common sense. During two news conferences the next day at CSU Northridge and in Oak- land with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Eskelsen García promoted NEA's Degrees Not Debt campaign to reduce the crushing student loan debt and make college more afford- able to all. "There are 40 million people with student debt, and they don't know that $30 million is available in assistance," Eskelsen García said. "Degrees Not Debt is the path to debt relief and action." Eskelsen García urged leaders and members to take the Degrees Not Debt pledge and share their stories and the campaign, not just with college students and peers, but with the K-12 community as well. Eskelsen García spent her final day touring Paul Revere School in San Francisco with members of United Educators of San Fran- cisco to see firsthand the accomplishments of the students in the CTA-supported Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) school. The day ended with a news conference in Alameda, where she lent her support to teachers from two charter schools as well as 750 online teachers who have joined CTA and are bargaining their first contract. "Our charter school brothers and sisters are finding out what our public school educators found out 100 years ago," she said, "that the only power we have is the power of our unity, especially when you are fighting for what is right for your students and the integrity of your profession." NEA President Lily Eskelsen García greets UESF members working to implement teacher-led reform efforts at Paul Revere School in San Francisco. 54

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