CTA Ballot Initiatives

CTA Board Report
November 29, 2021
Mike Patterson District D
mpatterson@cta.org; (530)545-1347
Shelly Gupton District E
sgupton@cta.org; (916) 203-0850


Voucher Initiatives Likely for November 2022 Ballot
Two school voucher initiatives have been submitted to the secretary of state
and given title and summary to begin signature gathering for the November
2022 ballot. The measures would require the state to pay $13,000 to $14,000
vouchers into “savings accounts” for K-12 students to attend private or religious
schools. Californians have rejected voucher schemes at the ballot box twice
before, largely because of massive organizing and education efforts by CTA
members. If qualified—and we expect at least one if not both of these measures
will collect enough signatures to get on the ballot—CTA and other public
education advocates will be facing a major threat to the future of public
education. Voters have soundly defeated two voucher measures in the past, but
these initiatives are very different. They set up savings accounts for parents and
one targets low-income families first. CTA State Council has approved funding to
help us begin to research and target efforts against the proposals should they
make it to the ballot.


Both of these voucher schemes directly take money away from public schools
and funnel it to private schools. School vouchers undermine public schools and
are an attempt to privatize the public education system. In the short term,
vouchers would drain neighborhood public schools of funding and resources; in
the long term, they could destroy public education as we know it. Combating
these voucher initiatives at next year’s ballot box will be a top priority for CTA.

Other Initiatives Target Educator Rights, Collective Bargaining.


Two other measures with the potential to be on the 2022 ballot target
educators and the collective bargaining rights of all California public employees.

• David Welch, who underwrote Vergara v. the State of California and the CTA

litigation in 2012, is among those proposing The Constitutional Right to High-
Quality Public Education Act. The effort expressly takes aim at state laws,

policies, and regulations that “interfere with a right to a high-quality education.”
It also says that the proposed remedies “shall not include new mandates for
taxes or spending,” a strategy that some say will limit the options to provide a
“high-quality” education, should voters support the amendment in November
2022. This could have a huge impact on educator due process rights and layoff
procedures, as well as numerous collective bargaining issues such as transfer
and assignment.


• Another measure launched by billionaire Tim Draper would end collective
bargaining for California public employees, including educators. The actual
proposed change to the state constitution reads: “No public employee shall
have the right to form, join, or participate in the activities of a public employee
labor organization for the purpose of representing said employees on matters of
employer-employee relations.” A similar attack on collective bargaining led by
Governor Scott Walker passed in Wisconsin in 2011, and educators and other
public workers subsequently saw a significant drop in compensation. CTA has
vigorously stood against other efforts to silence the voices of working
educators, not only on issues of compensation but on safety, class sizes,
staffing issues, and numerous other issues that impact student achievement and
well-being.


Vaccine Eligibility Expanded to 5- to 11-year-olds
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given emergency use
authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children starting at age 5-11, and
California children have begun lining up to receive their shot. COVID-19 spread
has seen a significant increase in children over the past months, with young
children and adolescents accounting for one out of four COVID cases
nationwide. Hospitalization rates have been ten times higher among
unvaccinated adolescents. Although deaths among young people remain
relatively rare, one in four children admitted to the hospital has required
intensive care, and “long COVID” and other potential lasting effects or damage
are still a major concern.


Since the beginning, CTA has called for access to vaccines, testing, and
multilayered safety measures in order to be reunited with our students in our
classrooms. As the science advances and COVID vaccines are approved for
younger students, Gov. Newsom’s vaccination requirement for eligible students
is the next step toward ensuring the health and safety of our schools and
communities. While recognizing the need for medical and religious exemptions,

we believe vaccinations are key for both student and educator safety, keeping
our schools open for in-person instruction and for combating this pandemic.
The COVID-19 vaccine joins a list of several other immunization requirements to
attend California public schools. We will continue to provide assistance to
members who have had due process rights violated or legitimate medical or
religious exemptions denied where vaccines are currently being required.

 

November Is National Native American Heritage Month
In 1990 President George H.W. Bush signed a presidential proclamation
designating November as a national recognition of Native American Heritage.
The month is a time to honor the rich heritage and contributions of Native
Americans to the establishment and growth of the United States.


Happy Holidays,

Mike and Shelly