California Teachers Association
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|Full name||California Teachers Association|
|Key people||Eric C. Heins, President|
|Office location||1705 Murchison Drive, Burlingame, California|
The California Teachers Association (CTA), initially established in 1863, is one of the largest and most powerful teachers' unions and special interest in California politics. It is based in Burlingame, and its current president is Dean Vogel.
CTA was founded in 1863, during the Civil War, in response to a call in 1863 from the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Swett, for a "teachers' institute", about one hundred teachers gathered in San Francisco, resulting in the formation of the California Educational Society. In 1875, the organization changed its name to the California Teachers Association.
CTA won its first major legislative victory 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 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 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 at last won the right to bargain collectively in 1975 when the CTA-sponsored Educational Employment Relations Act, also known as the Rodda Act, 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, 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. Article X of CTA's stated mission: CTA works to promote human and civil rights.
Spending in California politics
According to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the CTA is number one on the "Billion Dollar Club", a list of the top spenders in California politics The CTA alone has spent more money in California politics than Chevron, AT&T, Philip Morris and Western States Petroleum Association combined  For their record breaking spending in politics and other reasons former George W. Bush speechwriter Troy Senik has deemed the CTA "the worst union in America" in an editorial for City Journal, an "urban periodical" published by the conservative 501(c)(3) Manhattan Institute."