California Teachers Association

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California TA logo.png
Full nameCalifornia Teachers Association
FoundedMay 1863
Key peopleE. Toby Boyd, President
Office location1705 Murchison Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
CountryUnited States

The California Teachers Association (CTA), initially established in 1863, is one of the largest and most powerful[2] teachers' unions in the country 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 E. Toby Boyd.[4]


CTA affiliates with the powerful 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA). With over 1,000 chartered chapters and 500 offices throughout California, CTA serves as an umbrella organization for statewide K-12 teacher unions, while also representing the Community College Association with 42 bargaining chapters at 72 community college districts. Additionally, CTA has a "statewide" affiliate.

Governance structure[edit]

According to CTA's bylaws, the State Council of Education[5] represents the legislative and policy making body for the general membership, while the CTA Board of Directors executes the policies adopted by the State Council. The 800-member State Council of Education, which elects the CTA Board of Directors. is made up of elected voting representatives, serving three-year terms, together with ex officio voting and non-voting members who meet four times a year.


CTA's Governmental Affairs Office (Sacramento, CA)

CTA was founded [6]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.[7] In 1875, the organization changed its name to the California Teachers Association.

CTA won its first major legislative victory[8] 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[9] and due process law (1912); and a statewide pension, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (1913).

CTA led efforts to outlaw child labor in the state and enact other protections for children (1915), and to strengthen the teacher due process law (1921). In the 1940s, the union was the only major organization in California to protest against the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

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,[10] 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,[11] the landmark state law guaranteeing about 40 percent of the state's general fund for schools and community colleges.

In 2005, CTA ran numerous ads criticizing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for refusing to pay back $2 billion that the Governor had "borrowed" from the education budget. CTA strongly opposed propositions 74, 75, 76, which were advanced by Schwarzenegger. None of the initiatives were approved by voters. CTA also criticized Governor Schwarzenegger for spending nearly $80 million on the special election.

CTA strongly opposed Proposition 8 and donated a total of $1.25 million to help fight the measure that would ban gay marriage, stating that the proposition would violate civil rights and that proponents' advertising made false claims about the effect the proposition would have on public school curricula.


  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. ^ CTA Leadership [1],
  5. ^ "Constitution - California Teachers Association". Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  6. ^ "CTA's 150th Anniversary - California Teachers Association". Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  7. ^ The California Teacher: A Journal of School and Home Education and Official Organ of the Department of Public Instruction. California Educational Society. 1864.
  8. ^ "The History of CTA - California Teachers Association". Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  9. ^ "AAV of Tracing the Roots of Teacher Tenure - Historical Documents (CA Dept of Education)". Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  10. ^ "Commemorating 40 years of collective bargaining". California Federation of Teachers. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  11. ^ "A Historical Review of Proposition 98". Retrieved 2019-12-03.

External links[edit]

  • - California Teachers Association homepage
  • [2] - California Educator Magazine
  • [3] Secretary of State Campaign Disclosure