California Educator

January / February 2017

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B O L D T H I N K E R S , fearless trailblazers, risk takers. ese are characteristics of true innovators, much like the women depicted in the new movie Hidden Figures. e film tells the story of three African American former school teachers, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Their math and engineering innovation — and successful fight against Jim Crow and rampant sexism — at NASA during the early 1960s helped launch America's space program. The title (based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly) is, of course, a play on words, as these women and their contribution to histor y went largely unnoticed until now. And what a history it is — so inspiring to women and girls, peo- ple of color, and others who are often unseen. I frequently encounter this kind of unsung but vitally important innovation in my visits to classrooms all over California. It's the kind that moves me to continue to advocate on behalf of public education. Quality teaching and deep learning require innovation, and CTA members deliver on that every single day. Innovation doesn't come about in a vacuum. at's why CTA is committed to fostering and supporting innovation that leads to student success, and why we allocate significant resources in sup- port of classroom creativity. Over the past seven years our Institute for Teaching has awarded more than $2 million in grants to mem- bers to help them implement their vision for student achievement. Our Good Teaching Conferences showcase innovation as members come together to share and demonstrate exciting classroom ideas. Our Advocacy Agenda argues that education professionals should lead the profession and that teacher-directed professional devel- opment and curriculum is the most effective. Not only are we pioneering new ideas in our individual class- rooms and as a union, but as a state California is also leading the nation in education innovation. The new Local Control Funding Formula (based on the same philosophy as CTA's suc- cessful Quality Education Investment Act) and Local Control and Accountability Plan system are returning funding and program decisions to the local stakeholders who know better than anyone what is best for their students. CTA has successfully ensured that California's new accountability systems include multiple measures of progress and don't just rely on a single test score. Unfortunately, while California continues to support the right kind of innovation, in Washington the new administration is resurrecting the wrong kinds — i deas li ke privat e scho ol v o u c h e r s a n d u n re g u l a t e d corporate charters, which have already largely failed students where they were tried and have left a damaged public school system in their wake. We will not let this happen in California. CTA is leading the charge against the educa- tion privatization agenda. In California, we are investing in our public schools and providing additional resources to districts serving our most at-risk youth. We are engaging our local communities in building strong neigh- borhood schools that teach all students. We are leading the way in defining a new accountability system that looks at the whole child, not just a test score. And we are making sure our students know that our schools are a safe place to learn and grow. We will not let anyone destroy the promise of a quality public education for all students. Not on our watch! As we celebrate Black History Month, it's worth noting what George Washington Carver said: "Where there is no vision, there is no hope." We find and celebrate the innovators and visionaries among us, because they give hope and inspiration to their stu- dents, and to the rest of us. Eric C. Heins C T A P R E S I D E N T @ericheins president's message Hidden Innovators " We are making sure our students know that our schools are a safe place to learn and grow. We will not let anyone destroy the promise of a quality public education for all students." 5 January / February 2017 Eric Heins at UTLA's Reclaim Our Schools day of action Jan. 19.

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