California Educator

March 2013

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Q: It's about change. I know you've heard the old saying, "Change is the only constant in life." Well, that's definitely been true of our organization. We've changed a lot in the last 150 years, adapting to meet the challenges of the day. And we're poised to do that yet again. It's time to take an honest look at where we go from here. And that look begins with you — our members — and the survey. You received that letter because CTA is engaging in a long-term strategic planning process, with the theme "Your Voice. Our Union. Our Future." That survey and this planning process are about the future of CTA, CTA's role in public education, and its role in our communities. With your help, we are taking a critical look at who we are, exploring who we want to be, and helping create a plan to ensure we are a strong, vital and relevant organization in the future. I know change can be scary, especially when you don't know what lies ahead. It can also be very exciting. I'm feeling a little of both right now, and together, I know, we will make the right decisions for our students, our profession, and our union. We will hold on to what's working and not be afraid to cast away what's not — even if that means doing things differently than we've always done them. In building this strategic plan, we will embrace new ideas — your ideas — and we will welcome all members' input in order to build the CTA we all want for our future. I'm so proud of all that we accomplished together. But as we celebrate these personal, professional and political victories and mark the 150th anniversary of CTA, we must also take a deep breath and reflect. 6 California Educator March 2013 Ask Dean I received a survey from you — what's that all about? It was good information to read, So thank you for making time to because sometimes we get so engaged take the "Our Future" survey. Your in the minutiae of getting our work done, thoughts and ideas and concerns we lose sight of our ultimate goals. For captured in this online survey will be example, far too often we spend so instrumental in helping CTA become much time fighting "reformers" who a better organization. have not set one foot into a classroom, We heard from school teachers who that we're in "defend" mode rather than are concerned about losing a voice in "let us listen" or "show you how" mode. the profession, from community college You know, that's the biggest problem faculty who want to know there will be continued funding for their students, and with many education reformers, like Michelle Rhee, Gloria Romero, and even from education support professionals Bill Gates. They do not have education who have worries about school safety. practitioners at the table; instead, they We heard from CTA staff who had surround themquestions about selves with hedge the process and And that is how change fund managers from local leaders and moneyed who shared the happens. One gesture. interests, and they types of support assume they know they need. One person. One more about teachYou shared your ing and learning opinion on health moment at a time. than those of us care and retireLibba Bray, in the classroom. ment benefits, They don't. educator evaluaThe Sweet Far Thing Your voice is tion, school fundessential to this ing, and classroom topics. You let us know how CTA is meet- process if you want a strong union that helps you in your classroom and helps ing your needs when it comes to class you advocate for your students. We can size, curriculum, standards and assessmake our future whatever we want, but ment, academic freedom, and student we have to do it together. So, thank you discipline. You shared the importance of CTA's grievance assistance, discounts on for being the real education experts. Thank you for what you do for Califortravel and financial products, professional nia's students every day. And thank you development, and legal representation. for joining me on this journey of change. It was interesting to read what you understand about your CTA — the gover- This strategic planning process will surely take us to new places together. nance structure, how budget decisions I'm ready. Are you? are made, and the role and function of the CTA State Council of Education. You've shared how you want CTA to Dean E. Vogel communicate with you and what type of information you want to receive from CTA President your union.

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