Professor represents higher education in advertisement

Kaitlin Bruce

The California Teachers Association funded a campaign to express how important the public schools are in our community; Sacramento State criminal justice professor Cecil Canton was chosen to be part of the campaign.

“They were trying to discuss education as a continuum and asked me to be involved,” Canton said. “They wanted to make sure people knew how important education at large is; we work together to advocate for public education.”

The CTA is centered around K-12, but Canton was chosen as a higher education professional.

“Obviously they were trying to impart information about how important education is, but a lot of people think of education in terms of K-12, not college levels,” Canton said.

The CTA worked statewide to build a campaign to reach all of California through the value of a well-rounded education following cuts, and why the school system needs to be rebuilt.

Every medium available was used to convey its message: radio, print, the Internet and television. The CTA now has ads in more than 54 newspapers, billboards in Humboldt, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Victorville, San Diego and Los Angeles, and radio spots airing on 91 stations.

“I’ve never done anything like this before, so I found it fascinating,” Canton said. “I’ve been interviewed for the paper, I’ve been on the radio, but I’ve never been part of a commercial.”

The ads feature volunteers from all over Sacramento, the Bay Area and Southern California. In the commercial, Canton shares his thoughts on quality schools and colleges that prepare children for well-paying jobs.

CTA spokeswoman Dina Martin said she believes the ads were a success because they showed the many faces of educators in California schools and colleges. Martin said the educators illustrate what is best for our schools and why it is so important to support public education in California.

“They are all real educators who carry a positive message about California’s schools, and that’s a message people want to hear.” Martin said.

Besides radio ads, Canton also appears at state council meetings, presents to other CTA members and voices his opinion on higher education when needed.

“It’s always appreciated that people think you can handle responsibility.” Canton said.

As well as being a delegate, Canton served on the National Education Association’s community. The NEA has an advisory on how it manages its membership list, what kind of policies come out and the direction it should take on issues.

The NEA and CTA are waiting for a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed in 1965 as part of the war on poverty.

The act stresses equal access to education and establishes higher standards for schools.

In 2002, Congress amended the act and reauthorized it as No Child Left Behind, which the NEA and CTA ads portray as ineffective in their ads.  

“We know that one-size-fits-all federal mandates don’t work and that parents and educators in local communities must be involved in determining what works best for their students.” said CTA President Dean Vogel.

President Barack Obama has recently announced a plan to provide relief for the country in some of the more burdensome tasks of No Child Left Behind, such as that states can apply for waivers of Adequate Yearly Progress time lines and school improvement/accountability requirements.

They can also request flexibility in the use of federal education funds so they can best meet the school’s needs, helping to make realistic fiscal and educational goals for schools while still maintaining the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s commitment to civil rights.

“Today’s recognition by the Obama administration that public schools and students need relief from the burdens caused by No Child Left Behind, is a welcome recognition of what educators have been saying for years,” Vogel said. “We also appreciate his call for adequate resources for students, schools, and teachers.”

Canton said he believes resources have to be provided toward those of most need.

“Reauthorizing the act would benefit because it would allow teachers to be creative again, which is why I love being a teacher,” Canton said.

Kaitlin Bruce can be reached at [email protected]