California Educator

November 2012

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For students' sake STATE COUNCIL HOLDS 'VIRTUAL' MEETING, MOBILIZES IN COMMUNITIES TO ADVOCATE AND EDUCATE Above: Unions uniting in Santa Rosa. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson (back row, in white shirt) plus dozens of firefighters, labor council members and community activists joined CTA members precinct walking. INS TEAD OF MEETING IN LOS ANGELES, as they usually do in October, CTA's 800 State Council delegates mobilized Oct. 20-21 in local school districts, making phone calls and walking neighborhoods, urging those in their community to vote yes on Proposition 30 and no on Proposition 32. "Face to face is the most important way to make a difference," said Don Dawson, a CTA Board member from San Jose. "People respect teachers." "One man told me, 'You're teachers. I'll vote the way you say,'" said Sue Kenmotsu, Lodi Education Association, who was walk- ing precincts in Ceres. CTA educators joined with thousands of parents, firefight- ers, community activists, and labor union council members to promote their recommendations, holding news conferences and rallies, participating in flash mob dances, riding topless buses, and becoming human billboards at farmer's markets and on street corners. "It was great to hear all the honking. Many voters thanked us for the information during our precinct walk," said Hugo Estrada, Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association president. "Talking to the voters, they were very receptive, and they were excellent students! Bottom line, they were very supportive of us 20 California Educator November 2012 as teachers and appreciated that we were trying to help their children and the schools," said Ken Johnson, Manteca Educators Association president. "No matter what you hear on TV or from politicians, the average person supports teachers." "I was inspired by the number of people who showed up, their willingness to walk in the heat, the camaraderie that was every- where, their need to make a difference, the willingness to take on a different venue, to get out of comfort zones, to be a part of history," said Joella Theresa Aragon, Natomas UniServ director. "This weekend we're making our voices heard all over the state," said Mark Goodman, president of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Faculty Association. "We are working with parents and other community partners to make sure we can continue to speak out for our students." Upon their return from neighborhood visits, members shared stories of meeting former students and opportunities to use their second language skills or in some cases communicating with hand signals because the home owner didn't speak English. Thousands of citizens still got the message: CTA members care about their students and communities.

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