Report from David Lollar on the California Teachers Association (CTA) STATE COUNCIL May 31-June 2, 2019
The Kern High School Teachers Association (KHSTA) is a “local chapter” with approximately 2,000 members serving the Kern High School District. We are one of 1,300+ local chapters (about 300,000 members) that make up CTA. Two unique CTA chapters are not local chapters but are "statewide" affiliates: The California Faculty Association is the bargaining agent for professors in the California State University system, and the Community College Association represents community college districts.
In order to manage such a large organization, CTA is organized geographically into smaller agencies. For example, it has 26 Service Center Councils that represent all the local chapters in their respective area. KHSTA is a member of the Sierra Service Center Council. Each Service Center is then grouped together into larger Districts (Sierra is in District H), and each District is then grouped together into one of the 4 larger Regions (District H is in Region 2). CTA is one of the state affiliates that make up the 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA).
Just like congress in Sacramento represents all Californians, the democratic legislative body that represents all members of CTA is called the State Council. And just like congress persons sit on committees, State Council members sit on committees for the purpose of governing a specific issue in three major areas: Legislation, Policy, and Mission. Consequently, the details below are specifically pulled out of the committee reports from KHSTA members to address your KHSD employment issues. The overall report of Council can be found here: https://www.cta.org/en/About-CTA/Leadership/State-Council.aspx
I sit on two committees: The Service Center Chairs committee and the Assessment & Testing Committee. Herewith my report on them:
Service Center Chairs Committee Report:
All 26 Service Center Council chairs meet on the Friday before the general State Council begins. We meet with the Executive Officers to discuss the vision and direction of CTA as well as solve problems that affect our local chapters. We are joined by CTA President Toby Boyd, and Vice-President David Goldberg.
Local chapters need to come up with membership engagement ideas because that’s not a service center action. Classroom teachers can help their locals by joining the lobbying efforts. For example, KHSTA members can join us when we go to local offices in downtown Bakersfield to talk to Vince Fong or Rudy Salas (or their staff) about a senate or assembly bill they’re about to vote on that will affect us in the classroom.
CTA leadership conducted the “5 Year Review” of our Long Term Strategic Plan. It shows that the service center councils need to engage the local chapters more to help make statewide events like the May 22 Day of Action (on charter school legislation) happen more effectively. Our state council members can coordinate with the service centers instead of making the local chapter presidents do it. That might solve this problem of needing an infrastructure to move fast and together statewide.
Assessment & Testing Committee Report:
On Saturday, the first official day of State Council, the Assessment & Testing Committee meets twice. At 7:30-10 AM we meet in our two smaller subcommittees: the Legislation Subcommittee and the Policy Subcommittee. Together, they review current legislative bills that affect assessments of our schools (accountability such as Calpads or the Dashboard) and high stakes testing in our schools. The Legislation Subcommittee decides if CTA approves or opposes a bill, and the Policy Subcommittee looks to see if CTA already has policy to address those bills, and if not, then think about how to write new policy in order to address those bills.
At 12:30 PM we reconvene as one big whole group to go over what we did that morning and make recommendations on our findings. The afternoon is spent creating new policy, editing old policy, discussing the legislative bills, and hearing reports form our State Board member liaison and CTA staff. That lasts until no later than 5 PM.
Depending on which of the four State Councils it is (we meet quarterly), the amount of work and the number of bills and the level of urgency changes based on where Sacramento is in terms of their legislative calendar and where we are in terms of the political climate at that moment.
AB 1466 -- CALPADS will be replaced with another more useful database system to track students from kindergarten to college and then to the workforce after college. The legislative subcommittee recommended we take a “Watch” position on it because it’s so early in the process and we do not have policy language that addresses each aspect of it. The policy subcommittee recommend we create policy on “kindergarten readiness” because we have no policy on longitudinal data tracking of kindergarteners. The entire committee approved the legislative watch, and then collaborated to write the new policy language to keep the state and their tests out of kindergarten. It now reads, “CTA believes that if a Kindergarten readiness measure is available or developed, it shall be locally controlled only.”
Elections were held and I was elected Chair of the committee.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me before our next State Council meeting, which will be held in October 2019 .
KHSTA State Council Representative
Chair, Sierra Service Center
Chair, Assessment and Testing Committee