California Teacher

Overview

California Teacher

California Teacher is the CFT’s flagship digital magazine that is emailed to all union members. The award-winning magazine contains union news and positions of import to all members, and covers major issues in each educational division of the CFT: PreK-12, Classified, Community College, University, and Retired. California Teacher has won numerous awards from labor communications groups for its excellence in storytelling. Browse by date below or by index here.

California Teacher is published four times during the academic year. Please send letters, submissions, or other inquiries to Jane Hundertmark, Publications Director and Editor.

Article Up Front

A Blue Wave — only if we make it happen

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

Years back, my family took a trip to Hawaii. While there, Japan suffered a serious earthquake and we were told to prepare for a tsunami that never materialized. Like the one on my trip, the “blue wave” that could give Democrats a majority in the House and possibly the Senate, might be just as illusory as our Hawaiian experience. Unless we help make it happen.

Article Endorsements
Teachers welcomed the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Tony Thurmond at an event hosted by the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers in Watsonville.

Choose True Blue on November 6: Vote Tony Thurmond for state superintendent

It’s not every election cycle that California finds itself with critical, competitive races, but 2018 is not just any election year. California is a battleground state to take back the House of Representatives. Jerry Brown is termed out, so voters will elect a new governor for the first time in eight years. And the race for state superintendent pits charter schools against public schools.

Article Janus
Theresa Alvarado Quainoo, an academic department assistant and member of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees, has committed to working with her colleagues to strengthen the union as the attacks come.

CFT members step up to the plate following Janus v. AFSCME decision

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent and eliminated the right of public sector unions to collect fair share, or agency fees, from non-members.

The justices ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois fee payer, in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, overturning the 1977 precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Those backing the case clearly hoped the decision would cripple union operations, but with so much at stake for educators and public education, CFT members have not only chosen to stay united but have gained in strength as a result.

Article Charter schools
The Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers successfully fought back an expansion of for-profit charter school chains in 2014 by mobilizing members and organizing swift community action.

CFT scores major legislative victory by prohibiting for-profit charter schools in California

Gemma Abels, the president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, saw how for-profit charter schools hurt the children and families in her district in Santa Clara County. A school there, Flex Academy, operated by the largest for-profit charter company – K12 Inc. – closed just a few weeks before school started, leaving families scrambling to find places for their children.

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Sep-Oct 2018

PAUL H. KARRER, a retired member of the North Monterey Federation of Teachers, Local 4008, published a 58-page fully illustrated booklet The Baby Flight about an orphan delivery he – an American teacher in Korea – made to the United States one Christmas Eve. Over 400,000 copies of the story are already in circulation in Chicken Soup, Open My Eyes Open My Soul and numerous periodicals.

Article CFT 100

100 years of the CFT — a capsule history

The CFT turns 100 on May 31, 2019. To kick off this anniversary year, California Teacher digs into the archives to present a commemorative issue about the rich history of our statewide federation of unions. The big events — legislation, elections, social trends — described here affected every member. But this capsule history cannot possibly relate the profound impact almost 100 years of activism had on thousands of individual education workers.

Article CFT 100

Council of Retired Members taps a resource: Retirees are “stickin’ to the union”

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the Council of Retired Members

What retirees have that unions need — knowledge, experience and memories — are concentrated in the Council of Retired Members, the newest division of CFT. Convention delegates in 2014 overwhelmingly voted to add the council to the union’s governance structure so retirees could contribute in the same way as working teachers and classified employees. 

Article CFT 100

University Council-AFT: Bringing dignity to UC lecturers and librarians

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the University Council-AFT

In September of 1978, Gov. Jerry Brown made good on a promise to the CFT and signed the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, authorizing employees of the UC and CSU systems to engage in collective bargaining.

The University Council-AFT had already been formally organized on June 19, 1971, when seven AFT locals at UC voted to establish themselves as a council. The council and its constituent locals had represented UC employees as a non-bargaining agent since 1963.

Article CFT 100

Council of Classified Employees: High-quality representation wins respect for support staff

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the Council of Classified Employees

When the AFT in 1977 welcomed educational workers other than teachers into its ranks, paraprofessionals and classified employees became one of the fastest growing sectors of the national AFT. In the 1980s, several thousand California support staff voted for the AFT as their bargaining agent.

Article CFT 100

PreK-12 Council leads the way on educational issues

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the EC/TK-12 Council

The CFT originally formed as a union of K-12 teachers. As other education workers joined, the membership of CFT diversified. Because the CFT had a working group of teachers — called the QuEST Council — which dealt with curriculum and policy issues, and reviewed current legislation, there was little pressure for a separate K-12 council.

Article CFT 100

Celebrating 70 years of California Teacher in print

The “Voice of the Union” changes with the times

The committed activists who formed the California State Federation of Teachers in 1919 recognized from the beginning the need for communications among their far-flung members. From rudimentary origins, the California Teacher grew in every way and has been published in print for 70 years.

Article CFT Convention

More Awards, Special Edition Convention 2018

Legislators of the Year: Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and Connie Leyva

Community College Council President Jim Mahler first met Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) when she worked in Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante’s office. She supported labor then, and she supports it now, he said, advocating for International Workers’ Day and passing paid sick leave for all workers.

Article CFT Convention Up Front

State of the Union Speech 2018

Delivered by President Josh Pechthalt at CFT Convention, March 24, 2018

This past year has been at times demoralizing, frightening, offensive and challenging. Yet through it all shines a ray of hope that something may be changing. In spite of all the administration’s bombastic rhetoric, or because of it, there seems to be broad opposition to Trump’s policies and growing clamor for something different.

Article CFT Convention Gun Control

March for our Lives: Delegates join student-led protest in Orange County
Special Edition Convention 2018

Through speeches, chants and signs, the crowd of thousands at the March for Our Lives in Santa Ana made it clear what they wanted: common-sense gun control.

At the rally organized in response to the shootings that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students, teachers, and community members, along with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, spoke to the crowd, talking about people they loved who had been shot, how they didn’t want to be afraid to go to school, and how the United States has more than 90 gun murders a day.