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California Teachers Association

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California Teachers Association
FoundedMay 1863
Headquarters1705 Murchison Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
Key people
David B. Goldberg, President

The California Teachers Association (CTA), initially established in 1863, is one of the largest and most powerful[2] teachers' unions in the state with over 300,000 members and a high political profile[3] in California politics. The teachers' union is based in Burlingame, and its current president is David B. Goldberg.[4]


CTA's Governmental Affairs Office (Sacramento, CA)

CTA was founded[5] in 1863, during the Civil War, in response to a call from the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Swett, for a "teachers' institute." Fewer than a hundred teachers, all of them male, gathered in San Francisco, resulting in the formation of the California Educational Society.[6] In 1875, the organization changed its name to the California Teachers Association.

CTA won its first major legislative victory[7] in 1866 with a law providing free public schools to California children. A year later, public funding was secured for schools that educated nonwhite students. More early victories for organized labor established bans on using public school funding for sectarian religious purposes (1878–79); free textbooks for all students in grades 1-8 (1911); the first teacher tenure[8] and due process law (1912); and a statewide pension, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (1913).

While the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 made collective bargaining a lawful, protected activity in the private sector, it did not include public workers or teachers. Wisconsin passed the nation's first public employee bargaining law (1959), and several large, urban affiliates of NEA or the American Federation of Teachers started winning bargaining rights (New York in 1961, Denver in 1962, Chicago in 1966). After a decade of school strikes and teacher organizing, California K-14 educators won the right to bargain collectively in 1975 when the CTA-sponsored Educational Employment Relations Act, also known as the Rodda Act,[9] was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

A turning point in CTA's history came in 1988. That was the year teachers fought to pass Proposition 98,[10] the landmark state law guaranteeing about 40 percent of the state's general fund for schools and community colleges.


  1. ^ "About CTA". California Teachers Association. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  2. ^ Skelton, George (June 27, 2016). "Assemblywoman Bonilla, a former teacher, takes on the powerful union". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  3. ^ "California Teachers Assn. a powerful force in Sacramento". Los Angeles Times. 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  4. ^ "Leadership". California Teachers Association. Retrieved 2023-08-29.
  5. ^ "CTA's 150th Anniversary - California Teachers Association". www.cta.org. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  6. ^ The California Teacher: A Journal of School and Home Education and Official Organ of the Department of Public Instruction. California Educational Society. 1864.
  7. ^ "The History of CTA - California Teachers Association". www.cta.org. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  8. ^ "AAV of Tracing the Roots of Teacher Tenure - Historical Documents (CA Dept of Education)". www.cde.ca.gov. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  9. ^ "Commemorating 40 years of collective bargaining". California Federation of Teachers. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  10. ^ "A Historical Review of Proposition 98". lao.ca.gov. Retrieved 2019-12-03.

External links[edit]

  • CTA.org - California Teachers Association homepage
  • [1] - California Educator Magazine
  • [2] - Secretary of State Campaign Disclosure