The Importance of CATA Dues

By: Robin Grundmeyer, Norco HS and Past CATA President

There are a multitude of reasons that could result in not paying your dues: you ran out of checks, you’ve been crazy busy trying to survive work, or you don’t think that the dollars spent equate to benefits to you.

Every single one of those reasons is completely fair and I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to chat about CATA dues.  (I know, I’m taking more time that you don’t have. Please bear with me.)

  1.  Did you know that you can pay your dues with cash, check, credit card, or even a debit card?  It’s true! You could fill out the form and email it to the CATA office at cata@calagteachers.org. I’ll apologize in advance…a check will have to be put in the mail, but if you don’t want to have the extra hassle, give the form and a check to your sectional CATA treasurer and they will be sure that it gets to Kerry for you!  
  1. We all know and understand that this ag teacher gig is not for the faint of heart. It’s an incredibly demanding job. We keep ourselves beyond busy caring for students, teaching and developing curriculum, supervising SAEs, advising the FFA and maintaining the school farm. That doesn’t even include our “every teacher” work like grading, attending meetings and making parent contact. All of this leads to some pretty worn out folks that are doing some really incredible work. With all of this said, the CATA can serve as your safe space to vent and find solace with people that have the same experiences as you. CATA is like self-care for your mind and soul!  
  1. The last few years CATA, Ag Education and FFA have faced what seemed like insurmountable obstacles at the state level. There were transitions in leadership in CATA, CDE, and FFA. Regional Supervisor roles were vacant, some for more than two years. There were many that thought the fight wasn’t winnable. New leadership faced the challenges head on, with a learning curve that shot straight up, told our story over and over again to legislators, educational leaders, state finance staff and pretty much anyone that would listen. Relationships were fostered, relationships were tested and relationships were built. The fact is that a lot of time and effort went into fighting and winning our first fight. That persistence resulted in full staffing for Ag Education at the State level.Full staffing of Regional Supervisors was a top priority in a long list of priorities for Agricultural Education. Now for the real talk: We all know that funding for the AIG is not at an acceptable level.We know that there are inequities in how the standards of AIG are applied across the state. In our hearts we know that the Agriculture Incentive Grant has become an entitlement program that values quantity over quality and that we can look in our sections/regions and find things that frustrate us or make us just plain mad. In the fall the discussion about AIG started and will continue through our spring and summer meetings. We must consider that it takes time to foster change and potential changes to AIG are not an exception. About the dollars that come to our programs, that is on the list of priorities for the leadership of CATA. It is important to note that if CATA doesn’t have a paid staff (Executive Director and Executive Assistant) it really doesn’t matter how many priorities we have, little would get done. (See #2) The dues paid by CATA members in part pays for staff that works for the organization to accomplish our goals.

As ag teachers, we spend very little time appreciating our successes or celebrating our victories. Most of the time our mentality is, “Ok, got that done…what’s the next thing we need to tackle.” I think it’s just our nature. Take a few minutes and think about the past few years,we have a lot to be thankful for.  And yes, there is still a lot to do.  

To help us get on with our list of priorities, please consider paying your State CATA dues. If you have specific questions about any of the items that I have addressed or maybe even questions about something I didn’t please, feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call. Matt Patton is also available to provide much more insight than I as to the work that is taking place in regards to funding levels, legislative matters and all things CATA. Matt is very approachable and from day one has had an “I work for you” outlook on his job. Please call him and talk to him (Matt Patton 209-744-1605). Thank you for your time and consideration.  

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

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