California Educator

March 2013

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Page 41 of 47

A to hold election for president At the April State Council meeting, an election will be held for the office of CTA president. Running for the position are Bret Baird and Dean E. Vogel. Baird is president-elect of the Redwood City Teachers Association. Vogel is the current CTA president and a member of the Vacaville Teachers Association. Following are unedited campaign statements submitted by the candidates, limited to 400 words. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the candidates and not necessarily those of CTA. Candidates for CTA president BRET BAIRD My name is Bret Baird, and I am a candidate for the office of CTA President. I have been a public school teacher since 1982 and a leader of my 500 teacher local in Redwood City for the past 20 years. I have been a full-time teacher my entire career. Baird My reasons for running are 3-fold: 1. Change Race to the Top 2. Make CTA more democratic 3. Unify our massive base: teachers, students, parents President Obama's Race to the Top has hurt us, but he appears to be willing to modify it if we put pressure on him to do so. We must act immediately. Over the past few years, my local, and others statewide, have seen too many amazing teachers leave the profession prematurely. Teachers with excellent evaluations for 20 to 30 years are leaving due to one set of poor test scores. This "testing above all" philosophy has hurt locals because as districts fall further into Program Improvement, senior union leaders leave, and younger teachers are too busy to take their places. The stress levels put on school boards, superintendents, administrators, teachers, and students is ridiculous and must stop. It looks as though some form of testing is here to stay; however, we can form coalitions to modify the current situation. If we don't unify and demand change, we won't have much of a profession to protect. CTA must become more democratic if we are to actively engage all of our 300,000 members. The current system is outdated. One way to begin the change is to directly elect our Board of Directors from the districts they represent. The State Council Representatives are elected by the people they represent. But, the Board Members are not elected by the region they represent: they are elected by the State Representatives at State Council. This would be like the Congress deciding who the Senators will be. Every teacher in the state should know both who their State Representative and Board member are. Our base can defeat anyone or anything, if unified. Public Schools affect over 47% of the population. (This does not include Pre-K and Higher Education.) We all have one thing in common, they are OUR kids in OUR schools. I have worked with a vast array of different groups to pass bonds and parcel taxes. As President, I will work tirelessly to unite our base. 42 California Educator March 2013 DEAN E. VOGEL The conditions of teaching and learning today are dreadful. Every day teachers are being asked to do more with less, even as expectations rise and opportunities for authentic roles in decision making decrease. Educators feel overworked, disrespected and discouraged daily, yet they Vogel continue to give more, to be creative, to do what they know is right. And, as I pause and consider this first year and a half I've spent as CTA President, I find myself drawn to this very real truth: The women and men working in our public schools and colleges today are some of the most courageous, resilient, determined people alive. Yes, they are my heroes, and they inspire me daily to do this work. We must take back our profession, our schools, and our right to shape the education of California's students. To that end, The California Teachers Association must focus its effort not only at Sacramento but also into the classrooms and schools in every community. Too many people with little experience and less understanding of the dynamics of teaching and learning have bought their way into the offices of the power brokers and policy makers. It's time for CTA to lead a reformation that will restore the educators, the practitioners, to their rightful place at the center of the education change debate. Two years ago, in this very publication, I wrote, "The disconnection that teachers are feeling between their classrooms and CTA is real, and it is CTA's responsibility to do something about it. Teachers and educators are being asked to do more with less every day. It's time for CTA to ask the same of itself." As your President, I have taken this responsibility very seriously. Yes, the California Teachers Association is in transition. That is a fact. We're in the middle of a very comprehensive effort to develop a Long Term Strategic Plan that will position our association, our union, to be relevant to all our members, not just some of them and, also, to provide the leverage necessary to move our profession and the ideal of a free, universal public education forward. The theme for this very important work is "Your Voice, Our Union, Our Future," and it is intended to reach all the way into local chapters, schools, and classrooms. The challenge is before us and, in concert with my leadership team, I look forward to leading the charge.

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