Monday, October 02, 2006

California Teachers Empowerment Network

I'm happy to help announce the existence of a new organization, the California Teachers Empowerment Network. CTEN is a grassroots organization, founded by and for teachers, with the express purpose of providing all sides of the issues for teachers.

Usually teachers get only one side--from their union, or perhaps their school district. Apparently, teachers aren't trusted by their "betters" to make the right choices, so they're given only one side of the issue. CTEN plans to serve as a clearinghouse of information--a one-stop shop, as it were--where teachers can learn about all sides of an issue. We at CTEN are teachers, and we trust our fellow teachers to make their own choices, subject to their own good conscience, when they are fully informed on the issues.

What issues? Union membership is a big one, although that's not CTEN's only purpose. There are also ballot issues, and even other, single issues--like the LA teachers union's support of a boycott of and divestment from Israel. California's voters were smart enough to vote against Rob Reiner's preschool initiative in the last election, but the only information my district's teachers got (from both the district and the union) was how good that proposal was and why they should vote for it. CTEN aims to provide balance.

CTEN doesn't advocate a particular point of view. For instance, CTEN doesn't advocate that teachers should leave their union and become agency fee payers or religious objectors. CTEN does, however, think teachers should know about their options. And lest anyone think the organization is strictly anti-union, there are members who are delegates at the NEA Rep Assembly who think teachers should know how to influence the union from within if they think their union is going astray.

I encourage those of you who are California teachers to visit the CTEN home page and see for yourself what you haven't been told.


Anonymous said...

Who are the teachers that started this thing?

Darren said...

"We at CTEN are teachers, and we trust our fellow teachers to make their own choices, subject to their own good conscience, when they are fully informed on the issues."

I'm one of those teachers. Others may or may not want to be identified; it's not my place to speak for anyone other than myself. Posting a press release allows the organization as a whole to speak for itself.

Consider judging the organization based on its stated goals and how well it strives to attain those goals, and not worry about the individual personalities.

Anonymous said...

I find it disconcerting that the "teachers" involved in CTEN have chosen to mask their identity. All of my local unions officers are listed, along with the schools that they teach at, along with how to contact them. Same for the state union, all officers names are publicly listed and you can contact them. It's finances are also an open book, and a published audit is performed every year.

It is hard to trust an entity whose organizational structure and support is not transparent. It seems as if they are hiding something. I find it hard to justify CTEN not being more open about where it's support is coming from and who is running it.

Darren said...

Perhaps, Dean, they fear harassment from union types--who certainly aren't above such tactics.

Or perhaps there's a difference in the organizations--no one's *required* to give us any money. Your union cannot say the same.

You know *I'm* a board member.

I don't think you have difficulty trusting CTEN because we haven't listed every officer and every donor. I think you have very different reasons for not trusting CTEN--like, your belief that it's a political organization.

You're entitled to your beliefs, but CTEN shouldn't feel required to respond to them.