California Educator

March 2013

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A to hold election for vice president At the April State Council meeting, an election will be held for the office of CTA vice president. Running for the position are Mark Kotch and Eric C. Heins. Kotch is president of the Delano Union Elementary School Teachers Association. Heins is the current CTA vice president and a member of the Pittsburg Education 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 vice president MARK KOTCH I am Mark Kotch, and I am a candidate for the office of CTA Vice President. I am in the contest because I believe strong locals are the foundation of a strong CTA. We know CTA gets the lion's share of our dues money, and local leaders get the lion's share Kotch of responsibility for protecting membership. As a committee chair at State Council, I am overwhelmed by the staff support I receive, as a local president, not so much. I have 29 years of public education service, and I am completing my 13th year as a local president. Our membership, of 400, still has fully-paid health care premiums, and we own our office building on Main Street in Delano. Right now, we are negotiating an Academic Freedom article as part of reopeners to our 2011-2014, contract. My local is fighting for the integrity of our profession. Prior to the 2011 election, President Vogel wrote that many classroom teachers no longer feel a strong connection with CTA. I believe that is due to changing demographics and the relentless attacks on teachers by our political enemies But, it is also reflected in the way we conduct business at CTA State Council. I stand for direct election of any CTA Board of Directors member who represents a geographical district. Currently, your CTA Board member is elected by CTA State Council. Direct election of Board candidates will put the electoral process in school site lunchrooms and local union offices and make our politics more accountable to membership. Your CTA dues are $647 per year; shouldn't you be allowed to vote? I am glad we passed Proposition 30 and defeated Proposition 32. That was important work, yet we missed an opportunity to encourage community outreach and political activism in every CTA local. If we truly want to engage membership, it has to be where they live and work. We need to get out of the corner and start throwing some punches. Most teachers are dedicated, hardworking and productive. The public needs to learn the cause of dysfunction in our schools is in the way they are financed, governed and managed. That dysfunction is compounded by a corporate "reform" agenda that has robbed millions of students of their childhoods and undermined the professional status of classroom teachers. As Vice President, I will work to strengthen CTA from the ground up and connect our organization to membership. ERIC C. HEINS Let me begin by saying "Thank you!" For your participation in the day-to-day struggles of being a public school employee and a public education advocate, for your involvement in the daily lives of our students as a handson worker and leader, for your unrelenting Heins determination to protect public education and our members' union rights in last November's election — every day you make the difference! I am a 22 year elementary teacher in Pittsburg, CA. I deeply appreciate my many years spent working with my students and gaining experience at every level of our Association. As your vicepresident, I have learned more fully with each passing day that, whatever our life experiences or backgrounds may be, we really are one CTA family, pre-school through graduate school. We share the same characteristics and ideals: strength, compassion, hope, vision, honesty, and the touch of humor that gets us through difficult times. We are living in times of challenge and opportunity. Public education and unions are being attacked as never before. How we, CTA and public education, emerge depends on the actions we take today. Without a doubt, we will have to change, but according to our own self-identified needs and desires, not those of our enemies, and without abandoning our core values and commitments. We can and will take charge of our profession, build it up and demand the respect that is rightfully ours. Like you, I believe that CTA must be dynamic and innovative in order to remain vital and effective. We must engage in honest, meaningful conversations with each other — to learn, grow and lead together. We must value our individual wisdom and connect to our collective power: in our governance activities, at the bargaining table, and in the legislative and political arenas. As part of an outstanding team of CTA officers, I have worked to ensure that CTA remains strong, healthy, and relevant. As we seek re-election, I believe that we are the right team at the right time to serve you, our members. We know that it will take all of us, coming together, listening and responding with openness and respect, to move our Association forward. We ask for your continued support. I ask for your questions, concerns, and advice to build a better CTA and a public education system providing an education second-to-none for all students. I am Eric Heins, Candidate for CTA Vice President. March 2013 43

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