Does the California Teachers Association (CTA) Represent the Majority of Teachers’ Views?



By Brenda Lebsack

Note: The following article represents my personal opinions and does not necessarily represent the views of Orange Unified School Board or the Santa Ana Unified School District.

When controversies arise regarding education, it is important to understand that teachers are a diverse group of people in every way. We are not monolithic. We do not all belong to the same political party and we do not share the same views. So when any group takes a political stance and claims to speak on behalf of “the teachers,” then you know that you are hearing a lie. NO group speaks for all the teachers, but the California Teachers Association (CTA), which is the statewide teachers union, likes to say – or at least imply – that they do.

California Teachers Association (CTA)

California Teachers Association (CTA)

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the implementation of the new gender identity curriculum spawned from AB 329, the California Healthy Youth Act.  What do teachers think of all this? Do they agree with the CTA positions on the new curriculum and policies that significantly reduce parental rights? Let’s address some of the issues one at a time.

Are MOST teachers AGAINST Parental Rights?  

NO, but the CTA is. Most teachers value their partnership with parents in their children’s education. But the CTA has consistently taken positions that infringe on parental rights. For example, CTA is on the Steering Committee of California Safe Schools, an organization that has been a leader in trying to force the new gender spectrum dogma comprehensively on our K-12 children. Please refer to their position on opting out contained in the document

“Do parents have a constitutional right to prevent their children from receiving education in public schools on subjects they disapprove? Almost never.  Parents do not have veto power over the content of public school instruction… If parents choose to place their children in public school, parental rights are generally outweighed by the state’s interests in educating students… The right to notice and opt-out also does not apply to discussions of gender, sexual orientation, and family life outside the context of sex education.

Do parents have the right to notice about and to opt their children out of diversity education programs that include discussions of sexual orientation or other controversial topics?  No….. ‘instruction or materials that discuss gender, sexual orientation, or family life and do not discuss human reproductive organs and their functions’ is not subject to the parental notice and opt-out laws.”

The teachers’ union doesn’t support opting-out or even parental notification. You can’t get much more anti-parent than that.

Are MOST teachers IN FAVOR of teaching the GENDER SPECTRUM to children?

NO, but the CTA is. In fact, most teachers have never even heard of the gender spectrum because it is so new. In a nutshell, it is the theory that gender is not just male and female (binary), but that there are potentially an infinite number of genders. The CTA is all-in to teaching it to all students, the younger the better.

On page 21 of the March 2017 CTA Magazine (California Educator) in an article titled Embracing the Gender Spectrum, it states:

“People who are transgender have received lots of media attention, but it is just one option on the gender spectrum, which has expanded from the binary spectrum of two genders (male and female) to being “gender expansive” with a range of identities and expressions.  Students may identify:

-As ‘gender nonconforming’ because their gender expression falls outside what is considered typical for their assigned sex at birth.

-With both genders as ‘ambigender’

-With neither gender as ‘agender’ or non-binary gender

-As ‘gender fluid’, not having a fixed gender.

– As ‘questioning’, which means they are unsure of or exploring their gender identity.”

Gender-neutral Pronouns are:  they, them, their, ze, hir, hirs, hirself.

On page 15 of chapter 3 of an NEA (National Educator Association) Document titled Schools in Transition ( ) it states:

“While some may assume that elementary students are too young to discuss these issues, experience from schools across the country say otherwise. In fact, in most cases younger students are much more flexible in their thinking and capacity for understanding a peer’s assertion of their authentic gender.”

Do MOST teachers endorse an official THIRD gender in our state?

NO, but the CTA does. In October 2017, CTA endorsed the passing of SB 179 (a housing bill completely unrelated to education), which states: “As of January 2019, there will be an official 3rd Gender in California (Non-Binary).”

Do MOST teachers support reduced consequences for intentionally infecting others with HIV? 

NO, but the CTA does. In October 2017, CTA endorsed the passing of SB 239 which states that intentionally infecting someone with the HIV virus is no longer a felony. The eagerness with which CTA jumps into politics unrelated to education show the extent to which CTA is a political entity flush with cash taken from rank and file teachers – largely unaware of where their hard-earned money (dues) is going.

Do MOST teachers think classrooms should remain politically neutral? 

Yes, but NEA/CTA does not. In the NEA Today Magazine, Dec 2018 Article:  Education is Political:  Neutrality in the Classroom Shortchanges Students. The author explains that:

“Not expressing your views as a teacher or avoiding political topics such as racism, equity, climate change and gun violence, can marginalize students.”

NEA and CTA also partner with the Human Rights Campaign on creating “inclusive, safe and welcoming schools.”  Part of this organization’s plan to help create inclusive schools is to engage classes in the books and lessons plans created by the social justice special interests who are championing the new gender curriculum.

One book example that demonstrates the abandonment of all pretense of political neutrality is The Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo (grades K-5). This book calls Vice President Mike Pence (BY NAME) Boring and Not Fun.  It calls legislative officials who supported Proposition 8,  “Mean Stink Bugs” and shows kids how to Vote and Kick these “stink bugs” out of office.

Do MOST teachers value the privacy of their personal information? 

YES, but CTA does not. CTA worked on AB 119, which states Employing School Districts MUST give teachers’ personal contact information to the teachers’ union, such as their cell number, address and personal email address, WITHOUT the teachers’ notification or consent.

Do MOST teachers believe employers should notify them of their rights?

YES, but CTA does not. CTA endorsed SB 866, which forbids school districts to inform teachers of their right to join or not join the union. Coincidentally, this state law was signed by Governor Brown on June 27, 2018, the exact day Janus won the Supreme Court case (which gave teachers this choice). In fact, the Janus decision actually forbids school districts from collecting dues from any teacher until that teacher has newly and explicitly affirmed their decision to remain in the union. Most school districts are still not in compliance with this aspect of the Janus decision. It may be in conflict with SB 866, since Janus requires employers to ask employees if they are still in the union, and SB 866 prohibits the employer from informing the employees that they have a choice. How do you ask them about their decision without giving away the fact that they have a decision?

As the CTA continues to veer away from the values of its members, it is likely that more and more teachers will opt to leave the union and redirect those significant union dues to their own wallets. Teachers are perfectly capable of making their own decisions about which political causes to support. We don’t need a bloated ideological organization like the CTA to make those decisions for us.

Although I am grateful to be part of a LOCAL union, I can truly say, as ONE public school teacher, CTA does NOT represent my views, and I doubt it represents the MAJORITY of teachers’ views. Regardless of salary increases or better health/retirement benefits, my values cannot be bought.


Brenda Lebsack is an Orange Unified School District trustee and a public school teacher (for 24 years), currently teaching in the Santa Ana Unified School District.

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[…] medical services.  This is being done in many California counties without parental knowledge.  Teachers unions, which also endorse unlimited genders and decreased parental rights, just passed a policy in […]

Tracy Chung

Thank you for clearing show what the teachers’ unions believe and how they are pushing this into our schools. They definitely do not represent the majority of teachers.

David Schmus

Teachers who feel the CTA/NEA do not represent their values have options! I am the executive director of Christian Educators Association International, and you can get liability insurance, job action protection, and unlimited legal and educational consultation through And for only $239 a year, it’s much less expensive than what CTA charges.


As a veteran teacher of 40 years in CA public education I was invited to participate in 1 survey by CTA in the 90’s. I am still teaching.
Every option that came close to my conservative views was always written with a demeaning twist.
My conclusion was that CTA was not seeking information. CTA was sending a message to non-left leaning teachers. The message I received was; given you MUST pay union dues to keep your job WE will use your monies to promote candidates, policies, laws and cultural influences that ignore and conflict with your deeply held values, convictions and Constitutional rights.
AB329, SB48 and 10 other sexual indoctrination bills confirm my 1990 analysis.
In every one of the 977 public school districts of CA the VAST majority of teachers have had no involvement or support in asking for these laws.
CTA is a private union willing to deny parents their parental rights, willing to deny teachers their free speech and religious rights and willing to deny students the clarity of science which affirms that every organ and cell of every person is either XX or XY.
No surgery, transplant or drug can convert XX to XY or the reverse.
CTA is intent on coercing teachers to teach this lie to over 6 million students a year.
Will parents flee, fight back or submit?
Indications of parental opposition are growing statewide.
Time will tell.

Rudene Haar

Read ‘Jewish Leaders Blast California Board of Education for Proposed ‘Anti-Jewish’ Curriculum’ on

Well I guess all the gender confusion isn’t enough. Now the state of California is proposing this! If this is what the CTA supports, I am NOT on board with any of it.

Raechel Olson

On July 10, 2010 I cotestified in Sacramento against AB 493, an Orwellian bill seeking to forcibly indoctrinate all CA public and charter school teachers in gender spectrum (sexual orientation and gender identity) sensitivity.

The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land (See First Amendment). California and the CTA do not have the authority to dictate to teachers what they think or what they say about sexual orientation and gender identity.

We need more California public school teachers to rise up against state-coerced indoctrination and state-coerced speech!

Read AB 493 here:

Linda Gomes

Teachers have no right to teach our children anything about sex. This authority belongs back in the home and no one on the CTA ever asked the parents if it should leave the home and become the teachers job. This is a blatant attempt by the 3% of our population who want to indoctrinate our children into their homosexual lifestyles. Keep it out of our schools and your taxes say you have the right to teach whatever you want on your own time and in the privacy of your own home.

Steph B

Very interesting read. I’m worried about teachers not being able to choose for themselves what is best by this article and the comments. I hope teachers can be brave and break the mold safely without threat of loosing their job.


Thank you for summarizing this so well. I have yet to talk to a teacher who feels supported by the CTA. Most teachers seem to feel trapped by the CTA and fear for their job security. This includes new teachers or those who have worked for decades. Thank you for standing up for teachers!


Thank you for stating so clearly the agenda of CTA and NEA. As a teacher, I was not offered the option to not join the union. Payroll deduction was automatic. I was informed by a fellow teacher that I could request removal from CTA but 1.) would have to go through an interview process with my local CTA reps and 2.) would need to pay the annual amount for union dues prior to the beginning of the school year to one of the approved Community Chest organizations. Janus decision relieved me of those hurtles. While I am happy to fund my local bargaining unit, CTA does not represent my views on many issues. Nor does NEA. That these two unions are so intensely political is disturbing! My political representation must be by my vote and my communication as a constituent of my state and federal representatives. I can speak for myself, join a campaign on an issue, and $ support those who represent my views. CTA and NEA do not represent me!

Barry Gabrielson

Utopian dictators like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao are criminals – genocidal psychopaths who have killed more human beings in the last hundred years than any other ideologues in history. They don’t limit their murder to individuals, but to entire nations.
In the United States another form of utopians, the “progressives,” have tried to destroy traditional America by strategically dumbing down her people. America’s future is being crippled on purpose in order to fundamentally transform the nation, its values, and its system of government. Laid out a century ago by progressive luminary John Dewey, the fruits of his schemes are plain to see today. Dewey got rid of the traditional intensive phonics method of instruction and imposed a “look-say,” “sight,” or “whole-word” method that forces children to read English as if it were Chinese. The method is widely used in today’s public schools, which is a major reason there are so many failing public schools that cannot teach children the basics. This can only be considered a blatant form of child abuse.
American author and veteran educator Samuel Blumenfeld and journalist Alex Newman have taken on the public education establishment as never before and exposed it for the de facto criminal enterprise it is.
Crimes of the Educators reveals how the architects of America’s public school disaster implemented a plan to socialize the United States by knowingly and willingly dumbing down the population, a mission closer to success than ever as the Obama administration works relentlessly to nationalize K-12 schooling with Common Core.
The whole-word method of teaching children to read – introduced by John Dewey and colleagues in the early twentieth century and which permeates Common Core – is a significant cause of dyslexia among students. Public education’s war against religion, the “great American math disaster,” promotion of death education, and the government’s plan to lower standards for all so “no one is left behind” is destroying the logic, reasoning, and overall educational prowess of America’s next generation.
According to the Program for International Student Assessment, which collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings.
In reading, students in 19 other locales scored higher than U.S. students
In science, 22 education systems scored above the U.S.
In mathematics, 29 nations and other jurisdictions outperformed the United States
Journalist Henry Mencken said it best in 1924 when he wrote that the aim of public education is “to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.”
It is time to hold the Department of Education accountable for the crimes of the educators.

Nancy Thomas

Teachers’ unions DO represent the majority of teachers. They simple want what’s best for their students and do not want to be bullied by the government (this theme sounds very familiar).

Mrs. Lebsack you are just a pawn of a larger scheme that wants to take union powers away to get religion back in schools. Shame on you. Your time on Orange’s school board is coming to an end…

Darrell Williams

I noticed absolutely nothing in her article that mentions bringing religion back into the schools. I noticed you did not show any evidence to the contrary. I guess you are like the rest of the liberals whom do nothing but name calling or making unsupported accusations. Do you think that teachers should have to teach contrary to their deeply held beliefs and against basic scientific facts?

Tracy Chung

Nancy Thomas. I am a teacher of 25 years and the political teachers’ unions do not represent the majority of teachers. Are you a teacher? Do your values align to those of CTA stated in this article? The teachers unions want to push their political agenda and controversial curriculum into the schools. The teachers’ unions also want to strip away parents’ rights to decide what their child is exposed to at school. Many families have left the public school system because CTA can’t seem to stay in their lanes to focus educational practice. Instead they want to defund the police, fund abortion, and political agendas that violate many teachers’ values. They do all of this behind the teachers’ back. I had no idea these things were happening until people like Ms. Brenda Lesback and Ms. Rebecca Fredrichs exposed the unions’ push to indoctrinate students. Families want education, not indoctrination.

Please be responsible for your words, Nancy Thomas. You stated, ” Mrs. Lesback you are a pawn o a larger scheme that wants to take union powers away to get religion back in schools.” Yes, thank you Mrs. Lesback for taking powers away from these political unions who are pushing controversial curriculum into our schools and eliminating the process of parent notification and parent permission because unions know most parents would not consent to the school teaching these topics to their children. Parents have the right to determine the time and context they would like to introduce these topics to their children. You accused Mrs. Lesback of trying to “get religion back in schools.” Where in this article, or anywhere else, have you seen Mrs. Lesback try to do that? Please do not make unsubstantiated claims.

Paul D. White

A career in public education in 8 school districts conclusively demonstrated several facts regarding teachers and teachers unions.

1) Teachers unions are run by wanna-be administrators, who sell-out teachers: sucking-up and giving in to district leadership, in exchange for getting their egos stroked by superintendents who fully understand how to manipulate union leaders and get their support.

2) This situation continues because teachers – with few exceptions – are too fearful for their job security to stand up publicly against school leadership policies which are morally and legally wrong and damage the very children that teachers claim are their first priority.

3) Teachers – with few exceptions – seldom tell parents the unvarnished truth regarding out of control children – nor do they demand that their principals get in involved in supporting them in resolving these situations, because again, their desire for continued employment at any cost, far exceeds their willingness to correct student situations that, untreated, do life-long damage to kids.

4) Weak as it is, removing tenure and the paper-thin protection teachers receive from their unions, would make the public schools situation exponentially worse, because it would result in 100% of ALL teachers who speak out against systemic dysfunction being immediately terminated. All that would remain in the teaching ranks would be beaten, soul-less, unquestioning zombies, and amoral opportunists, who would support ANY policy, no matter how horrible, in return for continued employment.

The time for tinkering with the system is LONG past. Only a TOTAL dismantling of public education – a TOTAL removal of ALL current leadership, and a TOTAL re-engineering of the entire concept will save the institution that will have the dominant voice in America’s future.

c e voigtsberger

Ever since I was a member of the Retail Clerks Union in 1954 I have felt that unions did not represent the best interests of their members but were a mas macho contest between the FULL TIME PAID union “leaders???” and management with both seeing who could urinate the furtherest.

I always thought that if the union leaders??? wanted to show solidarity with their members, when the members went on strike the union leaders??? would show solidarity by foregoing their wages and expense accounts, putting that money in the strike fund to help the union members better sustain the loss of income from the strike. HA HA HA HA HA. What an altruistic Pollyanna I was!

Not only do union leaders??? generally make considerably more than their members do, they continue to feed at the trough through long and difficult strikes that they engineered.

The reason why I put leaders with question marks is because in the Marine Corps it was dictum that the leaders always made sure the troops were taken care of before seeing to their own comforts. The troops all fed? Okay, the company commander/battalion commander/regimental commander could sit down to his mess. Wounded cared for? Troops as comfortable as could be under the circumstances? Okay, the unit leader could see to his comfort. Not one minute before. Well, that was the Marine Corps, not union life.

The retail clerks are about to go out on strike again. Big Mistake! Oh, golly gee, they don’t have a contract. Big deal. The weekly payroll is still being paid, the checks for Vons still clear. They can’t see the trees for the forest. Many of the supermarkets already have automated check-outs. One more strike or two and guess how many front end clerks there will be. Amazon has completely automated checkout stores. RFID is here to stay and will become more and more prevalent. That will spell the end of the front end check-out clerks. But the union leaders will continue on as their membership dwindles due to loss of employment all the while voting bigger and bigger paychecks for themselves with more and more generous expense accounts.

Teachers? You are in the same boat. Don’t think you are not. You need to get rid of the unions. They will be the death of your profession. Think on-line teaching can’t replace you? You’re fighting a losing battle. Think that charter schools can’t replace the hide-bound, stratified, unionized publicly funded schools? You may fight a withdrawing action with legislation passed by legislators who owe their soul to union contributions, but that is a losing battle because it flies against logic and reason.

The unions have hitched their wagons to the wrong team. They served a vital function at the beginning of the 20th century but have failed to keep abreast of the times and look for modern solutions. They still think they can bring the industry to its knees with a strike. HA! FAT CHANCE! When I worked as a grocery clerk the whole state was one union. NorCal and SoCal all went on strike. The Teamsters wouldn’t deliver to any store that had a picket line. Now the unions are divided up. The last time SoCal went on strike the stores in NorCal were going full blast. They didn’t support the south. You know the old saw about divided we fall? Teamsters delivered good to the stores daily, picket line or no. There’s a strike on? Hard to tell. Shelves are full, check stands are working. A couple of folks are slumped outside with signs but marching and singing? Not so much.

What worked in 1937 doesn’t work in 2019. It’s time to dump the old attitude and develop new modern techniques to deal with management.