California Educator

October 2014

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Were you involved in interviewing candidates or examining issues? As Service Center Council chair, I served on the committee to select a candidate for our support for San Joaquin County superintendent as well as a representative for the 10th Congressional District. Our recommended candidate for county superintendent, James Mousalimas, is in a November runoff election, as is recommended congressional candidate Michael Eggman. What should members know and understand about the process? It's extremely democratic. While it would be impossible to have everyone sit in on the interviews, we have wide representation from the local associations. What kind of time goes into the interview and selection process? The office of superintendent affects all the school districts in the county, so the committee asked the president of each chapter in the county to submit questions, which augmented a list of questions provided by CTA's regional political consultant. The committee then selected the candidate on whom everyone could agree, and then sent the name back to the local chapters for further vetting. Altogether, the process for the local office took about two weeks. Our decision to support Michael Eggman for Congress was made following an afternoon of candidate interviews. Once the committee reached its decision, the recommendation was sent to CTA's State Council of Education for approval, and then on to NEA's Political Action Committee. Advocacy Legislative Making Good Choices Colleagues did homework for you to learn about pro-education candidates and issues Compiled by Dina Martin, Mike Myslinski, Frank Wells and Ed Sibby T H E R E A R E M A N Y W A Y S to advocate for teaching and learning issues. One is to do the homework and make rec- ommendations about how to vote at the ballot box. We visited with four of your colleagues who interview c a n d i d a t e s , r e s e a r c h i s s u e s a n d are involved politically at the local, regional and state levels. For them, their volunteerism is an exercise in democracy, particularly when it comes to recommending candidates for CTA support. You serve as chair of the Political Action Committee. How democratic is the local union's recommendation process? We invited all the candidates to come and interview with us for our local school board recommendations. It's a very crowded race with 10 people vying for three seats, and we interviewed all of them. The interview team made a recommendation to the union executive board, and the executive board ratified that decision to take to our rep council. Ultimately, UTR recommended incumbents Elaine Merriweather and Madeline Kronenberg, and newcomer Peter Chau, who graduated from the district, went to law school and wants to give back to his community. Why is this school board race so critical? Apparently there are a few candidates who are on a slate supported by the private charter movement. They're basically trying to take over the board to fast-track the opening of more charter schools, which don't have to hire credentialed teachers and would eliminate collective bargaining rights for educators in those schools. How important is it to you that CTA members get involved in political issues? I am a classroom teacher who has served in my local as vice president, treasurer, CTA State Council representative and on various committees. We have politics impacting our classrooms every day. We need to step up, roll up our sleeves, and get involved. Carole McNair Delta Service Center Council Robert Ellis United Teachers of Richmond 28

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