California Educator

March 2013

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Are you a political wonk? You are cordially invited to receive CTA's Capitol News. SIGN UP TODAY! The Capitol News is new! A weekly electronic newsletter for CTA leaders and members, it provides timely information on legislative actions that impact local schools and educators. Have an issue you'd like addressed in Capitol News? Want to subscribe? E-mail Members advocate for teaching and learning conditions Educators lobby Congress on school funding, school safety, and the Dream Act The U.S. Capitol may be thousands of miles away, but the voices of California educators and education support professionals are heard there, thanks to your elected representatives on the National Education Association Board of Directors. See the list at right. Last month, educators met with the California congressional delegation on critical issues about to be considered by federal lawmakers. On the financial side, CTA members pressed Republicans and Democrats to find a compromise that will head off automatic cuts in federal programs, including services that will hurt children, public schools, and public workers. The directors asked Congress to take positive steps to head off the "sequestration" or automatic funding cuts that threaten to throw the economy back into recession and reduce revenues that underwrite public services. See for the latest on the "fiscal cliff." Teachers made sure federal legislators understood that cuts of that magnitude forces districts to reduce staff, increase class size, shorten school days or weeks, reduce activities and enrichment programs, and delay the purchases of instructional materials and technology. Making schools safer and preventing gun violence was another topic. Educators advocated a three-element approach: • Expand background checks to weed out would-be purchasers who should not be in possession of firearms. • Provide more services for persons with mental illnesses. • Provide schools with the flexibility and authority to make decisions about implementing further school safety measures and hiring school safety personnel. The member lobbyists also sought the passage of the Dream Act, a comprehensive immigration reform package. Among other things, the Dream Act allows longtime residents who have graduated high school the ability to apply for financial aid for college education. For more information on the Dream Act, see the NEA Legislative Action Center at the NEA website: home/LegislativeActionCenter.html. Who's Who? Your colleagues represent you nationally, too. Elected NEA directors from California are listed below. Contact them if you have questions about national issues. Find more at Elizabeth J. Ahlgren, San Diego Education Association Gilda Bloom-Leiva, California Faculty Association, CSU San Francisco Greg Bonaccorsi, Fremont Unified District Teachers Association Colleen Briner-Schmidt, Unified Association of Conejo Teachers Sue Cirillo, United Teachers Los Angeles Ron Edwards, Riverbank Teachers Association Gerri Gandolfo, Teachers Association of Norwalk-La Mirada Karl Kildow, Visalia Unified Teachers Association Sonia Martin-Solis, United Teachers Los Angeles Sergio Martinez, Hacienda-La Puente Teachers Association Doreen McGuire-Grigg, Lakeport Classified Education Association Claire J. Merced, United Educators of San Francisco Eric Padget, Garden Grove Education Association Robert V. Rodriguez, San Bernardino Teachers Association George Sheridan, Black Oak Mine Teachers Association KC Walsh, Oak Grove Education Association Paula Monroe, Redlands ESP Association, serves on the NEA Executive Committee March 2013 17

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