Union-sponsored legislation inspired by labor-community vision
The CFT has launched an ambitious legislative initiative for K-12 schools called Healthy Kids, Healthy Minds, which is embodied in the new union-sponsored bill, AB 1955, carried by Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician with a track record of improving health in local neighborhoods.
Pan, a former educator and chief medical officer of the Sacramento School Unified District, has written extensively on schools and health, and chairs the California Assembly Committee on Health. AB 1955 takes advantage of the Local Control Funding Formula and available Medicaid federal funds to bring health services and more support to EC/K-12 schools.
In districts with the highest need, state funds would be identified and made available to hire more school nurses and mental health professionals, and increase the number of hours that libraries are open each day.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Minds is a component of the CFT’s Quality Public Education Campaign, an umbrella program that addresses issues of equity, access, pedagogy, funding and other elements needed for progressive educational change.
CFT President Josh Pechthalt calls Healthy Kids, Healthy Minds “a galvanizing tool” for bringing together a broad coalition of healthcare professionals, children’s advocacy groups, literacy advocates, civil rights organizations, community-based organizations and educators. “The CFT is committed to working with our established community partners,” he said, “including ACCE, the Courage Campaign, California Calls and Mobilize the Immigrant Vote.” More grassroots groups have recently expressed interest in joining the coalition, including California PICO.
In the new legislative session, CFT is also sponsoring bills and resolutions on a range of topics from combating oppressive work environments to K-12 dance and theatre instruction, from sabbatical and temporary leaves for community college faculty to incentives that maintain the full- to part-time faculty ratio in the colleges.
One prominent issue to which CFT will continue to devote resources is City College of San Francisco’s battle for fair accreditation and reforming the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the sole accrediting agency for community colleges in California.
AB 1199, a bill CFT sponsored last year, calling for stabilization of community college funding, carried by Assemblyman (and CFT member) Paul Fong D-San Jose, will move ahead in revised form. CFT will also support several new bills that propose broader accreditation reform, including a bill (see page 6) authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, calling for increased transparency in the ACCJC.
— By Al Hernández-Santana, Legislative Director
See CFT-sponsored legislation here.