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California Teachers Association march. (Photo: Ken Wolter, Shutterstock)

California Teachers Association or Cover Their…?

The CTA spent 98% of that pile of money on Democrats

By Thomas Buckley, March 16, 2023 7:48 am

Those who can’t do, teach.  Those who can’t teach, administrate.  Those who can’t administrate, consult.  Those who can’t consult, donate.

The eye-watering amount of money the California Teachers Association (CTA) has spread around the state like so much fertilizer has without question changed the very nature of the Golden State – and most certainly not for the better.

In the past 26 years or so, the CTA has spent about $290 million directly playing politics and another $80 million or so indirectly gaming the system – sorry, on lobbying expenses.  Total, that’s about $40,000 per day.

They have spent it on candidates – for example, Jerry Brown got about $3 million in support and Meg Whitman about $3 million in opposition (honestly, even though our reasons would be polar opposites, I can’t fault them there – her campaign was such a mess.) Gray Davis was the largest individual direct donee, though one of the state’s newest COVID-catchers – Gavin Newsom – was relatively low on the list…unless you count the $2 million or so that was shoveled into his anti-recall campaign.

In fact, the CTA over the recent years has spent $14.3 million on winning specific legislature and local campaigns and about $2.2 million on losing efforts – that’s not a bad batting average (1900 wins to 400 loses.)

Of those 2300 campaigns, the CTA supported only 150 challengers – the rest of the candidates supported were either incumbents or ran in an “open” seat (though technically every seat is “open” during every election, but, you know…)

You can see these number for yourself at Follow the Money: (head’s up – the site’s a bit difficult to navigate).

Of the $290 million, $245M has gone to things like ballot measures, independent expenditures, a certain recall campaign, and other political organizations (the Democratic Party got about $29 million directly) while the remaining $45 million breaks down this way:  about $44 million for Democrats, and about $1 million for everyone else ($800,000 for Republicans). In other words, the CTA spent 98% of that pile of money on Democrats, with 60% of that going to Democrat incumbents.

One of the biggest individual expenses was the $23 million the union dumped into the fight against Proposition 32 in 2012.  That was the proposition that would have stopped big labor from being able to automatically spend member dues on things like fighting Proposition 32.  The proposition failed and the CTA was happy.

Besides getting the CTA one of the biggest seats at the biggest tables there is in Sacramento,  what has that money actually done?

Better schools? No. Smarter kids? No. Doing better by the community during COVID? Guffaw.

Expand administration? Yup. Threaten any politician with career oblivion if they oppose the CTA? Yup. Somehow keep schools closed longer during COVID than pretty much anywhere else? Yup.Have thousands of politicians and staffers and non-profits and other political groups at its beck and call? Very yup.

One of the things the CTA has definitely done under the cover of its impermeable blanket of financial protection is to advance its vision of racial and social justice.

The CTA website is chock full of helpful tips and guidelines and ideas how educators can foster a sense of allyship with marginalized communities and how everyone can become an activist in the fight to increase the power of the CTA; sorry, in the fight for justice.

The “So you Want to be an Anti-Racist Union?” program page leads the curious to at least one hint – stop embracing “white supremacy culture,” aspects of which include perfectionism (there goes math), objectivity (there goes history), individualism (there goes art), worship of the written word (there goes English) and urgency (actually this would have been handy if I forgot to do my homework) – see here for more detail.

Think you want to do more? You can become a “Cadre (no incredibly disturbing associations with that word at all) Trainer.”

Being a trainer means you can spread the word of justice – and the CTA – in your community and, especially, at your own school. There are many topics covered in the “program overview” for this particular school year, all the way from racial justice advocacy to LGBTQ+ advocacy to women’s advocacy (note – “women” is often spelled “womxn” in much of the training materials; I apologize if I have erred in its proper placement.)

The training also includes a segment on “Transformative Social-emotional Learning (SEL.)”  SEL, according to its proponents, is a holistic template that allows students to grow and share; opponents say it is a multi-million dollar rip off of taxpayer dollars and is used as a “Trojan Horse” to politically indoctrinate students. I’m thinking the latter, but you decide – pro and con.

A few of the sub-topics of the training regimen include: “It’s the Right Thing to DoPeriod!  Period Justice and Supporting the Dignity of Our Students,” “Confronting the Rise of White Nationalist Ideology in Schools,” and “Closets are for Clothes.”

As to the period piece, trainers apparently learn that “Our schools are structured in ways that can deeply disadvantage students that menstruate, and educators may be unaware of the issues impacting our students. Many people in our schools also may not understand how their actions deprive these students of fair and equal access to care and supplies needed during this time. Period justice is necessary for the dignity of our students. In this session we will address period injustice, issues around access to menstrual products, school policies and restrooms, shame, and ways to help staff respond appropriately to students who menstruate.”

In the 1970s, this topic was broached in public schools through cinema  (truth be told, not sure it was that much better… and yes the voice-over jokes in the video were added later.)

One of the more depressing things about the cadre training brochure – see below in PDF form – are the short, presumably teacher-written blurbs on why the program is so important to them as members.  I had a high school English teacher who would use the term “An obvious illiteracy!!” when marking papers if she found something, well, obviously illiterate.  Even given significant leeway for typos (mea culpa) and dropped words, a number of the blurbs written by teachers would rate an obvious illiteracy. 

Think you want to do more?  You can become a “Cadre (no incredibly disturbing associations with that word at all – definitions from Merriam-Webster:a nucleus or core group especially of trained personnel able to assume control and to train others” or  “a cell of indoctrinated leaders active in promoting the interests of a revolutionary party”) Trainer.”

For example:

I wanted to be apart of the CTA Cadre Training Program because it is an

opportunity to talk to more teachers about how to support so many people in

the margins. I facilitate many trainings around equity and the LGBTQ+

community in my own district but wanted to in community with educators who

are also fighting to make the education system more responsive and inclusive.

I just complete a Strength Test for NEA and my top strength was

empathy. I feel that Human Rights are the soul of CTA and I love

that the Cadre Training Program is gathering like minded educators

to strengthen CTA’s vision and mission.

As a Black woman educator, I am so often the only one in the room. And

after hundreds of years of fighting for that to not be so, it still is so.

Education IS human rights.

And, of course, the honoraria/puff copy tended to involve the usual woke linguistic suspects:

I am a queer Chicana middle school educator and I am unapologetic about

it. To that end, I decided to become a Human Rights Cadre trainer to support

other educators in creating open and safe classrooms and schools for

LGBTQ+ students and staff as well as navigating their potential pathways

out of the closet. Our stories are all unique and have myriad twists and

turns. Together we are stronger and ever more vibrant.

“Abolition is about presence, not absence. It’s about building life affirming institutions.” –

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

As a growing abolitionist, I am excited by the idea of holding space and holding change

within our dynamic movement. Our larger society is putting pressure on educators,

students, and communities to move on from the trauma caused by the ongoing COVID-

19 pandemic and white supremacy. I knew serving as a CTA Cadre trainer would allow

me help create brave spaces, establish accountability and commit to community action

for our members to create new “life affirming institutions.” Glad to be apart of this

ongoing work.

If you play “buzzword bingo” at home, keep those last two up your sleeve to use as trumps.

This year’s CTA Equity and Human Rights Conference – which starts tomorrow – will feature a number of break-out sessions, some targeted to veterans of the movement with others meant for those “in the early stages of joining the collective journey toward liberation…”

The CTA’s Equity and Human Rights Conference – which is coming up next week, March 17-19 – will feature a number of break-out sessions, some targeted to veterans of the movement with others meant for those “in the early stages of joining the collective journey toward liberation…”

Academic freedom – which, it seems, is “being limited and, in many places, attacked. We can’t let this happen” because, for example, a  “principal made me take down my diversity poster.”  Also featured is a session on “Witnessing Whiteness,” which, either oddly or appropriately, “is not exclusively useful for white audiences, this series is most commonly implemented as a white affinity learning experience.”

Then there will be “Diversify History:  Add Queer Ourstories” which will impart the tools needed to teach “(T)he selected Queer historic peoples and/or cultural productions are presented, contextualized in CA Social Science standards, and FAIR Act, with particular emphasis on teachers of 4th grade students and onwards. Participants will engage on the basics of queer identities, discuss important historical figures and their place in the classroom, and finalize with sharing strategies and talking points on how to deal with potential negative reactions to creating an inclusive curriculum.”

Who knew your fourth-grade teacher needed crisis communications PR help?

Another workshop does raise certain questions, particularly regarding school safety.  Entitled “Good Day for a Chokehold,” the workshop “delves into the her/history of American police, laws that undergird their reign of terror, and ways that educators to work towards police accountability.”

Finally, in a presentation that must bring smiles of soon-to-be-realized profits to the face of every name tag company owner, there is the program on the “Intersectionality of Identity.”

It is described as follows: “I am a queer, pansexual, multicultural, multiethnic, disabled, neuro divergent, super intelligent, overweight, middle aged, pagan, educated, middle class white woman with multicolored hair who lives paycheck to paycheck. My honorific is Ms, or Mx, and my pronouns are she, her, hers or they, them, theirs. And that’s just who I am today–who knows about tomorrow!  Who are you?  Let’s explore how our multiple identities affect us in life and in the classroom.”

Literally – your tax dollars at work.

CTA 390145866a37476f95823295c98a6ee2


CTA Revised-01.18.23_-EXTERNAL-2022-23-HR-Cadre-Training-Program-Guide-1(1)
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3 thoughts on “California Teachers Association or Cover Their…?

  1. The CTA’s leftist woke indoctrination is sickening! The CTA is just part of the Marxist Democrat cabal that has a strangle hold on Californians. If at all possible, responsible parents should pull their kids out of public schools and either home school or find a private school to educate them? Starve the CTA/Democrat controlled public schools!

  2. Caucasian parents need to wake up and oppose CTA’s racist anti-Caucasian rhetoric and demand that CTA’s divisive agenda be removed public schools.

    1. What are you fearful of? Why does learning about history and the diversity of our student population threaten you? How does teaching the male, heterosexual, Caucasian narrative make our educational system better? Please enlighten me.

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