Temecula Teachers Want Education, Not Indoctrination
Many teachers in California are fed up with the political activism of their teachers’ union that is not aligned with the interests of educators and students — and often disrupts and derails classroom instruction in favor of political agendas.
A case in point is the United Educators of San Francisco, which recently issued statements calling for “a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas,” “a stop to aid to Israel,” and “an end to the sharply escalating settler colonial violence in the occupied West Bank.” Another example is the Oakland Education Association, which went on strike earlier this year over “climate justice,” shutting down schools in a district where students are struggling to meet grade-level standards in reading and math.
As more educators have grown disillusioned with their unions, the California Teachers Association (CTA) has seen a sharp decline in membership. Recent reporting shows that the number of local public education employees leaving CTA has nearly doubled — from 18,000 in 2019 to almost 36,000 in 2023.
Teachers in the Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) are now challenging CTA and their local union, which are working to recall school board members duly elected by voters. The reason? These school board members refuse to kowtow to union demands.
At the October 17th school board meeting, Andrea Cadman, a teacher of 33 years in TVUSD, stood before the school board and expressed her deep dissatisfaction with the Temecula Valley Educators Association (TVEA) and the CTA. Cadman says these organizations, to which she was a dues-paying member during her long career, do not represent the concerns of many of the district’s teachers. Cadman spoke out against the recall of three TVUSD board members.
Union activists have pushed the recall in response to actions by the school board to ban divisive topics like Critical Race Theory, remove gender identity topics from the curriculum, and put in place a parental notification policy to notify parents if their child is gender transitioning at school. In response to the board’s actions, activists critical of the TVUSD board have been disruptive during board meetings and have had to be forcibly removed from meetings.
Wenyuan Wu, Executive Director of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, reports that a disruption occurred during a March 22nd board workshop to educate the community on CRT, with one audience member getting “extremely confrontational.” During a board meeting in July, at least three people were ejected and escorted outside by law enforcement officers. Union leaders have contributed to these actions, including TVEA President Edgar Diaz, who has welcomed opposition to the TVUSD board.
At the October meeting, Cadman pointed out the contradiction by the unions that claim to support teachers while causing disruptions and division among the teaching staff and district. Cadman explained that TVEA’s recall efforts stand in stark contrast to what the parents and community voted for.
“I want you to know that TVEA’s leadership does not speak for many of us,” Cadman said. “I want you to know that while we haven’t been screaming, we haven’t been yelling or embarrassing ourselves, or getting kicked out of board meetings, we’ve been quietly supporting [the board] on the sidelines because we don’t wish for this turmoil to affect our students any more than it has to.”
Cadman also told the board that the union has undermined district teachers by causing disruptions in the workday, fostering division among the teaching staff, and adding stress to an already demanding job.
Cadman’s perspective reflects the sentiment shared by many teachers nationwide who are focused on providing a quality education for their students — and oppose political activism and disruptive union-driven behavior.
California teachers who are fed up with their union dues bankrolling the unions’ far-left political activism have the option to opt out of their union. Many educators are unaware that they are not obligated or legally required to belong to a union in order to receive a salary, health or retirement benefits, or other protections in state statute. Teachers who are interested in leaving their union can find out more information about their rights and how to opt out of their union at mypaymysay.com.
Below is the transcript of the speech Cadman gave before the Temecula Valley school board on October 17th. You can find the full board hearing here.
“Hi, my name is Andrea Cadman, and this is my 33rd year as a teacher in this district. My kids went to this school district. I went to this school district back in the seventies with a one-room schoolhouse. Yeah, I’m that old.
“I just want you to know there are a large number of teachers whose voices are not being heard because TVEA has an agenda and it’s not our agenda.
“I want you to know that we understand that you were voted in by the community and that if TVEA is supporting this and the recall and the lawsuit, in essence, they’re going against the parents in this community who voted to put you in these chairs.
“I want you to know that TVEA’s leadership does not speak for many of us. I want you to know that while we haven’t been screaming, we haven’t been yelling or embarrassing ourselves, or getting kicked out of board meetings, we’ve been quietly supporting you on the sidelines because we don’t wish for this turmoil to affect our students anymore than it has to. And witnessing a teacher who should be a role model, acting disrespectfully breaking rules, and getting kicked out of board meetings is not the image we want to put forth to our kids.
“Don’t take that as us sitting back and doing nothing. I want you to know that we’re calling out TVEA for its totally slanted informational emails and for sending propaganda as well as organizing communications to our work email addresses during the work day. Something that’s against protocol, is stressful, and is distracting.
“I want you to know that TVEA, an organization that touts how it supports teachers to support students, is hard at work causing disruptions in our workdays, encouraging division among teaching staff, and adding stress to an already stressful job.
“I want you to know that as long as you’re speaking for the majority of the parents in the community and doing what’s best for kids, we support you. I want you to know that we have picked a side in this battle. We support you, and we’ll be taking our money from TVEA. Our opt-out letters were mailed this afternoon to CTE and TVEA. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Andrew Davenport is Policy & Research Associate at California Policy Center