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Member Spotlight

Jayson Chang: Having Opportunities to Improve Circumstances

Jayson Chang is a Social Science Teacher from San Jose, California, and the recipient of the 2020 CTA Member Human Rights Award.
2020 Member Spotlight: Jayson Chang
Published: 12/21/2020

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.
After some time in the private sector, I pursued the necessary training and became a high school social science teacher.
Despite my own political views, I keep an open mind about the politics of my students. I encouraged them to learn about public policy and participate.
Beyond the opportunities I’ve been given to be a leader in my school and in my union, I’m perhaps most proud of the work I’ve done related to racial equity and justice.
I recently received the CTA Member Human Rights Award in 2020 for my work, creating opportunities for students to participate in clothing and voter registration drives.
I’ve experienced the barriers, anyone, in a non-dominant culture faces and understand the ways that Asian Americans had been discriminated against. I quickly noticed how curriculum too often painted an inaccurate picture of our contributions to this country—and the contributions of other cultures. I also witnessed first-hand an incident brought on by assumptions related to the pandemic.

I saw a student refuse to use hand sanitizer after an Asian student, claiming they were afraid of contamination. Such instances are an indication of the ways some in our nation treat Asians and make accusations about their responsibility in the spread of COVID-19. I shared in my class the history of pandemics to illustrate that viruses like COVID-19 can start anywhere—that it’s not about race. I wanted them to understand that behavior was racist.

I know what it’s like to face implicit bias. This happens daily in subtle and not so subtle ways. 

Through my union, I’ll continue to have opportunities to address these issues and improve circumstances for Asian students, educators, and their families—they deserve to feel could about who they are and have an equal opportunity to succeed.

National Education Association

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.