A Recommendation for the California Teachers Association

This week a fascinating article on the website of the Education Intelligence Agency revealed that the California Teachers Association, one of the most powerful labor unions in the world, is itself having labor problems. Moreover, the labor problems they’re encountering are because they’re trying to be fiscally responsible.

Setting aside for a moment all the grievances that education reformers and concerned parents may have towards the CTA, what they are experiencing right now is an opportunity for a broader consensus to form on one specific and very big issue; pension reform.

It shouldn’t be necessary to explain that California’s public employee pension systems are in trouble. Back in 2019, despite still being in a bull market lasting over a decade, most of California’s public employee pensions systems were already challenged; CalPERS reported their system to be 71 percent funded as of 6/30/2019, and CalSTRS reported an even more dismal 66 percent funding.

And then came COVID. Despite the COVID shutdown affecting at most half their fiscal year, CalPERS reported earnings for the twelve months ended 6/30/2020 of only 4.7 percent, and for the same period CalSTRS reported earnings of only 3.9 percent. To say the bull market is over is inadequate. We are at the end of an era.

The CTA can lower their pension formulas to CalSTRS levels

Someone unfamiliar with the CTA’s employees might assume that these union professionals representing teachers receive the same pension benefits as the teachers they represent. Not […] Read More

Teachers Union Promotes Property Tax Increase

Last week what is arguably California’s most powerful political special interest, the California Teachers Association (CTA), or teachers union, held its quarterly State Council of Education meeting at the plush Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The CTA reported revenues of $209 million on their most recent IRS Form 990 (results through 8/31/2018), and their total assets increased from $296 million to $334 million. The CTA’s “savings and temporary cash investments” increased from $56 million to $79 million during their most recent year of operations.

Even here in California, these are astonishing sums of money. Moreover, the CTA, operating statewide, only wields about half of the teachers union’s financial firepower deployed in California. Additional financial resources come from the CTA’s national affiliate, the National Education Association, as well as from the dozens of major local affiliates, such as the United Teachers of Los Angeles.

Getting Rid of Proposition 13 Protection for Commercial Properties

A helpful mole inside the CTA’s recent meeting has provided four examples of what is one of the top priorities for the CTA these days, which is to strip commercial properties of the protections they have enjoyed under Prop. 13. To that end, they have endorsed and are major contributors to the “Schools & Communities First” state ballot initiative, likely to face voters in November 2020.

Since 1978, Prop. 13 has limited property assessments to a maximum of 2 percent increases per year when calculating the base on which to impose property […] Read More