California Retired Teachers Association (CalRTA)
CalRTA’s mission is to protect and advocate for retired and active educators’ pensions and other retirement benefits, and to support education in our communities.
CalRTA began in 1929 as the country struggled through the Great Depression. A small group of teachers banded together to fight for better pensions for colleagues who were living in poverty after a lifetime of teaching. In 1929, a retired schoolteacher received a maximum of just $500 a year in pension benefits. Laura E. Settle, CalRTA’s founder and president until 1945, drove the dusty highways of the state to help organize teachers in a common cause. All were welcome to join for the annual dues of $1. After several years, CalRTA made its first major breakthrough in 1934, when pensions were finally boosted.
CalRTA today is a multi-faceted organization. Its members provide a backbone of volunteer service that keeps local communities strong. Members contribute nearly 2.7 million hours of volunteer service annually. Today, CalRTA is one of the nation’s largest retired teacher organizations with more than 50,000 members in 87 local divisions (similar to chapters) throughout the state.