The reaction of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and its affiliated local unions to the massive cuts has been predictably pathetic and impotent. The CTA bemoans the projected cuts, offers legal and procedural information and urges Californians to contact the governor and their representatives. A 60-second radio advertisement has been taken out that features a teacher commenting on the hardship the planned cuts will create. None of this will do anything.
The inability and unwillingness of the CTA to lead the mass opposition that exists within the population to Schwarzenegger’s cuts is not unexpected. In 2004, when the state’s ongoing budget crisis resulted in the governor’s carrying out massive budget cuts and rescinding significant amounts of funding for the state’s schools, the CTA accepted the rollbacks as a necessary evil. Although this was in violation of a state law, the teachers’ union leaders told their membership that they had been promised additional funding in subsequent years to make up for that year’s cuts. This money never materialized.
The CTA is unable to launch a genuine struggle in defense of California’s teachers and public education as a whole because of its defense of the profit system and its political ties to the Democratic Party, which is the majority party in the state legislature and has enabled Schwarzenegger to carry out his draconian measures.
Talk about being between Scylla and Charibdis. Seems like the CTA can't please anyone!