Frequently Asked Questions – Members

What is the California Teachers Association all about?

Founded in 1863, the California Teachers Association has become one of the strongest advocates for educators in the country. CTA includes teachers, counselors, school librarians, social workers, psychologists, and nurses. These educators in the K-12 school system are joined by community college faculty, California State University faculty, and education support professionals to make CTA the most inclusive and most powerful voice of educators in the state.

What is CTA’s relationship with the NEA?

CTA is the state affiliate of the nation’s largest labor union, the 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA). Check the NEA website for information on NEA and its programs.

How are my CTA dues being spent?

Take a look at how the CTA budget breaks down in this pie chart.

How are policy decisions made at CTA?

CTA is rigorously democratic. Its structure gives members the ultimate voice in what the Association does. By secret ballot, members elect the 760 delegates to the State Council of Education, CTA’s highest governing body. Meeting four times a year, the State Council sets all policy for the organization, adopts the budget, determines dues, recommends expenditures to the board, elects the executive officers and other members of the board of directors and performs other similar duties.

How do I get legal representation?

Members should contact their Primary Contact Staff to get in touch with a Group Legal Services (GLS) attorney.  For more information, please login and go to the Legal section of the CTA website. Here you’ll find a great deal of information on our legal services. Please note: this information is available for members only, so you must be logged in to view it.

How do I join CTA?

There are three ways to become a member: 1) Contact your Site Rep or chapter president to get a membership application form, 2) Email membership@cta.org and provide your name and employer (e.g. school district), and someone from our Membership Department will be in contact to identify membership eligibility and options. 3) Call our Membership Department at 650-552-5278.

Are teachers covered by State Disability?

No, teachers are not covered by California’s State Disability and districts do not offer disability insurance.  Disability insurance can be purchased through CTA’s endorsed provider The Standard Insurance Company (The Standard).  Teachers are covered.

I am a charter school teacher and our school would like to unionize. Who do I call?

Please go to www.unitedcharterteachers.org for more information.

Where do I find information on CTA’s position on various educational issues?

CTA takes official positions on a wide variety of issues. Those positions on the issues are developed after much study and debate by CTA’s policy-making body, the State Council of Education. Check the Issues and Action section to learn more about CTA’s positions on the issues.

How do I become a teacher in California?

The California Department of Education and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing are two good starting points. You can also check state colleges and universities for information on their teacher education programs.

Is there a section on the website where families can get tips to help their children learn?

Families generally want to be involved with their kids’ education and CTA provides a wealth of resources to help, before, after and during the school year. Check the Family Involvement section to learn about the other resources CTA has to offer.

What are your advertising rates and policies?

With more than 325,000 CTA members, the CTA website is viewed daily by classroom teachers, school board members, principals, superintendents, school psychologists, counselors, librarians, curriculum specialists, higher education personnel, students, retired teachers and California legislators, as well as the general public. Email advertising@3wstudios.com for rates, policies and more information.

How do I find my “Primary Contact Staff Person”?

On this website simply go to the “CTA RRCs and Staff” page and the Region Resource Centers are listed and each staff person is listed with the chapters they serve. 

How do I find my local chapter website?

Under the “Reports/Links” tab on the main menu bar of this website the pull-down menu has “Chapter Websites and Facebook Pages” where all of the chapters with current websites and Facebook pages are listed.

How can I order more membership materials?

You simply go to the CTA Member Benefits Page and  download or order forms and publications.

Frequently Asked Questions from Chapter Presidents

What is my primary function as Chapter President?

As chapter president, your primary function is to ensure enforcement of all parts of the collective bargaining agreement, as well as the well-being of the members of your chapter in relation to the agreement.  In addition, are the responsibilities of bargaining the collective agreement, making sure that members have access to CTA legal representation when necessary.  As the leader in governance, you are expected to maintain a leadership structure (Executive Board, Bargaining Team, Representative Council, Site Representatives, Organizing Team, Membership Engagement Team).  

Where can I find tips on conducting a meeting?

For meeting basics, tips on conducting an effective meeting and a sample agenda, please click here.

Where do I seek/get advice when needed?

For the most part, you will reach out to your CTA Primary Contact Staff (PCS) for questions on grievances, bargaining and legal representation.  In terms of governance, you should contact your geographic CTA Board member or your Minority-At-Large CTA Board member for issues involving ethnic minorities.

As Chapter President, what is my part in the bargaining process?

Ideally, you will be a part of the planning/strategy portion of the bargaining cycle without being an actual member of the team.  In order to retain parity in discussions with the District Office, the chapter president should not be sitting at the bargaining table (i.e., the superintendent doesn’t bargain for the district, neither should the chapter president for the local).  Of course, this is an ideal and may not always work with very small chapters, with leaders wearing many hats.

What should my strategy be to work with a strong-willed member who is argumentative?

There is no secret formula here.  One of the most difficult things about being a leader is to master the art of not taking anything personally. Chapter members with strong opinions/personalities often have a passion to match and nothing motivates action more than passion.  Your job is to determine the driving force behind the words/actions of the member in question and determine how to turn this passion into something positive for chapter as a whole. 

What is my legal obligation to the members of my chapter?

Chapter leaders have the obligation to ensure the “duty of fair representation.” This duty applies to virtually every action that CTA might take in dealing with a school district as the representative of employees, from its negotiation of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, to its handling of grievances arising under that agreement, as well as its enforcement of the union security provisions of a collective bargaining agreement. However, the duty does not ordinarily apply to rights that a worker can enforce independently; the union has no duty to assist the employees it represents in filing claims under a workers’ compensation statute or other laws.  Simply put, if it is not in the collective bargaining agreement then it does not fall under your responsibilities as a chapter leader.

Are teachers covered by State Disability?

No, teachers are not covered by California’s State Disability and districts do not offer disability insurance.  Disability insurance can be purchased through CTA’s endorsed provider The Standard Insurance Company (The Standard).  Teachers are covered.

Where do I find information on CTA’s position on various educational issues?

CTA takes official positions on a wide variety of issues. Those positions on the issues are developed after much study and debate by CTA’s policy-making body, the State Council of Education. Check the Issues and Action section to learn more about CTA’s positions on the issues.

How do I find my Primary Contact Staff Person, my Geographic CTA Board Member or my Minority-At-Large Board Member?

On this website simply go to the “CTA RRCs and Staff” page and the Region Resource Centers are listed and each staff person is listed with the chapters they serve. 

How do I find local chapter websites?

Under the “Reports/Links” tab on the main menu bar of this website the pull-down menu has “Chapter Websites and Facebook Pages” where all of the chapters with current websites and Facebook pages are listed.

How can I order more membership materials?

You simply go to the CTA Member Benefits Page and  download or order forms and publications.