California Teacher

Overview

California Teacher

California Teacher is the CFT’s flagship magazine that is emailed to 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.

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

Article Elections 2013

Educators score local ballot box victories

Coalition building proves critical to electoral success

“We phone-banked until we couldn’t talk any more,” reported Pamela Ford, president of the Antelope Valley College Federation of Classified Employees, in describing how her local union worked with campus faculty and community allies to elect Barbara Gaines, a middle school principal, to the board of trustees in this conservative high desert region.

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files – November-December 2013

Mathilde Mukantabana, a member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, Local 2279, recently left her teaching job at Sacramento’s Cosumnes River College to become ambassador of Rwanda to the United States. Mukantabana started teaching at the college during the genocide and lost both of her parents in the bloodshed. She served as spokesperson for the Friends of Rwanda and says in the almost 20 years since the devastating ethnic violence in 1994, her home country has rebuilt itself through reformed education, expanded healthcare and revitalized democracy.

Article Local Action

Local Wire – November-December 2013

LOCAL 6161
North County comes of age…The Palomar Faculty Federation wants to change politics in northern San Diego County and it isn’t waiting around for someone else to do it. 
“Public education is under attack and teachers and unions are fighting for survival,” said Co-President Shannon Lienhart. “Our best path forward is to find common ground, form coalitions, and work together.”

Article LCFF LCAP

Dawn of new era for K-12 education funding
Local decisions drive plan; difficult bargaining looms

For the first time in six long years, the state budget includes more funding for education in 2013-14. In the on-time budget, Gov. Brown fended off legislative demand to reinstate programs cut during the recession and stayed true to his commitment to prioritize education funding. Though the sectors of education fared differently, all saw at least some increase in state funding.

A year of transition: Preparing for the Common Core standards
New law temporarily suspends most testing, gives educators and districts time to prepare

Tanya Golden is looking forward to changing how she teaches. “Before, my curriculum was an inch deep and a mile wide with too many things to cover. I had to keep moving even when my students weren’t ready. Now I can teach more for understanding,” says the sixth grade teacher in her tenth year at ABC Unified School District, southeast of Los Angeles.

Article International education

A Tale of Hope and Caution: How three Latin American nations are defending public education

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

As part of AFT’s ongoing effort to build alliances with educators and trade unionists around the world, President Randi Weingarten led an AFT delegation in May to meet education union leaders and other unionists in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. I joined them as we looked at their multi-year effort to defend and expand public education, and to develop a response to attacks.

Article

Federal cuts threaten cooking and gardening classes
Berkeley community rallies to save famous kids’ grow-it-yourself program

Facing a massive loss of federal funds, Berkeley Unified officials may yank an innovative gardening and cooking program up by the roots. The slash and burn tactics are drawing widespread community fire.

For about 15 years, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has taught low-income families about nutrition through school programs like the Network for a Healthy California. Congress, however, has revised its funding formula and California, which used to receive nearly a third of all USDA money, will lose about 40 percent of its grant. The funding for direct-to-kids programs like the NHC will be shifted to local health agencies to run publicity campaigns.

Article MOOCs

Massive Open Online Classes threaten quality of education

Low-cost educational alternative likely to widen digital divide

MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE CLASSES have been hailed by officials at the companies that run them (the three biggest are edX, Udacity and Coursera) as a way to provide access to classes at elite universities to everyone, but critics say that MOOCs — free online course with potentially thousands of students, many of them outside the United States — would undermine education quality, increase the digital divide and cost teachers their jobs.

Article

Locals take bold steps to build power in tough times
Faculty-classified alliance, improved communications empower members

Two Southern California classified locals have recently seen how unity pays off.
“Our members understand that the more of us who go in, the stronger voice we have,” says Debbi Claypool, president of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees.

The northern San Diego County local represents about 400 classified employees at Palomar College, including maintenance, clerical, police, payroll and janitorial, according to Claypool, a business services technician.

Article Leadership Conference

CFT launches member discussion of “quality public education”

The union explores partnership of community and educators to launch quality public education campaign

Making schools community hubs is key to the union’s campaign for quality public education, CFT President Joshua Pechthalt told participants at the Leadership Conference. Connections with community members comprise the CFT’s greatest strength and he encouraged educators to mine those ties.

Article Social Media

Who’s spying on you? Protecting your privacy in the age of servers and social media – 6 Maxims for your digital work life

Protecting your privacy in the age of servers and social media
By Robert J. Bezemek And David Conway

Almost everyone uses social media. Whether it’s emailing, surfing the web, sending text messages, tweeting or tumblr, we are treating social media as an extension of our personal conversations with family, friends and co-workers. And we do it from every imaginable location — public transit, automobiles, restaurants, parks, sidewalks, the office, and throughout the campuses where we work.

Article PEPRA Student debt CalPERS

New employees to face reduced retirement benefits

Workers not yet hired will take biggest hit under law passed by legislators with no input from public employee unions

A new law passed in the final hours of the legislative session makes sweeping changes to public employee pensions that impose most of the changes on workers not yet hired, creating a two-tier system in the workplace where two groups of workers doing the same work receive different retirement benefits.