This past weekend, the California Teachers Association (CTA) held its quarterly State Council of Education in downtown Los Angeles to elect CTA leadership, set CTA policy, develop legislation and strategize for the upcoming election year. Much to the consternation of the 800 CTA delegates in attendance, a group of local teachers, congregants and concerned community members gathered outside the building to protest the union’s repeated attempts to push a radical political agenda into California’s classrooms.
Led by Brenda Lebsack of the Interfaith Statewide Coalition and Pastor Luis Olan of “Restauracion Familiar,” the demonstration featured around 120 participants — mostly Hispanic fathers, mothers and children raising their voices against CTA.
For years, CTA’s financial and ideological priorities have shifted away from promoting “the well-being of its members.” Though the union collects a significant amount of revenue from membership dues, CTA spent less than half of its budget on workplace representation in 2021.
Instead, it spent more than $21 million on fringe politics in the same year, with significant contributions to the California Democratic Party, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the “LGBT Caucus Leadership Fund.”
Unfortunately, CTA’s policies have followed a similar trajectory in the years since. Instead of addressing substantial issues facing public education like teacher shortages and learning loss during COVID-19 shutdowns, CTA prioritizes social justice issues.
As if that weren’t enough, CTA’s national affiliate, the National Education Association (NEA), has made repeated moves against parent rights in public schools. In addition to instructing teachers to hide student gender transitions from parents, the NEA strongly opposed the Parents Bill of Rights Act that would allow parents to make important, informed decisions about their child’s education.
Perhaps most disturbing is CTA’s attempt to push its social justice agenda into the classroom with pronoun guides, white supremacy posters and sexually explicit LGBT reading material meant for distribution to students.
Protestors at CTA’s State Council of Education were particularly disturbed by the union’s recent position regarding the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The “leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns” received a controversial invitation to the Los Angeles Dodgers Pride Night this summer, which drew objections from various religious groups in Southern California.
Now more than ever, parents and teachers have begun to question the radical politics that have dominated public education in recent years. While CTA’s role in the politicization of education has gone largely unchecked, outspoken groups like the Interfaith Statewide Coalition and Restauracion Familiar have set an important precedent in raising awareness about the union’s questionable priorities.
Though the battle over preserving children’s innocence is far from over in California, these inspirational community members are not only exposing the reality of the CTA’s influence but are paving the way for a dramatic shift in the future of the state’s educational system.