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 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

Women in Education Award: Sandra Larsen, Petaluma Federation

A woman’s place is in her union, Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers President Gemma Abels told attendees at the CFT Convention before introducing this year’s winner of the Women in Education Award, Sandra Larsen, president of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers, who led a successful strike last spring, the first in the union’s history.

Article CFT Convention

Awards, awards, awards
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
Convention delegates join student-led protest in Orange County

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.

Facebook Gallery: Delegates join March for Our Lives

Article CFT Convention Resolutions

Floor debate: Delegates take decisive action
Pass resolutions on part-time faculty workload, McTeacher Nights, pesticide use, charter teacher retirement

About 400 delegates discussed resolutions on a broad range of policy issues; heard from the law school dean at UC Berkeley, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Tony Thurmond, the CFT-endorsed candidate for superintendent of public instruction; joined thousands to rally and march for safer schools and common sense gun control; learned a whole lot about Janus v. AFSCME, a Supreme Court case that could effectively turn the public sector into a “right to work” zone; and heard from a teacher in West Virginia where they succeeded in getting a 5 percent raise for all public employees.

Article Endorsements

Q&A: Get to know Tony Thurmond
Meet the CFT-endorsed candidate for state superintendent of public instruction

In a race important to all educators, the CFT has endorsed Assemblymember Tony Thurmond for state Superintendent of Public Instruction. CFT President Josh Pechthalt said Thurmond, a former social worker, has demonstrated “time and again he is a champion of public education. His policy positions solidly align him with the needs of students, parents and educators.”

California Teacher asked Thurmond about his positions on education issues ranging from early childhood to higher education.

Article Labor Movement

Documentary movie features United Farm Workers organizer
Five lessons from Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, an organizing legend who co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, was a Girl Scout growing up in Stockton. She took seriously the idea that people should help one another and try to make things better. Something that particularly angered her was police officers stopping her and her Latino friends — but not the white people they knew — on their way home from a basketball or football game.

Article Labor Movement Labor art

New book illustrates the humanity of people who travel with the crops

Writer, photographer and veteran UFW union organizer David Bacon frequently refers to “people who travel with the crops,” agricultural workers who move from place to place to cultivate and harvest California’s fields. They are the subject of his newest work of photojournalism, In the Fields of the North/En los campos del norte. Bacon is a frequent contributor to California Teacher. Below are excerpts from an interview with Capitol & Main. » Read the whole article here.

Article Endorsements

CFT endorses Gavin Newsom for governor
Members heavily favor lieutenant governor in straw poll, opinion poll

2018 is shaping up to be a critical election for our nation and our state. With Gov. Jerry Brown being termed out, one of the most important elections for CFT members will be the race for governor.

After soliciting member feedback for almost two months, the CFT Executive Council on December 2 endorsed Gavin Newsom for the state’s top office.

Article Privatization Vouchers

School Choice: A Tale of Two Countries
Norway and Sweden take divergent paths

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT Secretary Treasurer

In October I accompanied AFT President Randi Weingarten and several fellow AFT union leaders on a fact-finding trip to Sweden and Norway. The purpose of the trip was to examine firsthand the approaches taken by the countries to inform our own approach to public education.

At first glance, Sweden and Norway seem nearly identical. Both countries have low levels of income inequality. They fund their schools well and it shows. They both have high rates of union membership and participation. And they both have a relatively high rate of electoral participation.

Article Environment Wildfires
Jen and William Ortlinghaus stand before the wreckage of their home in the wake of the devastating North Bay fires. Both are members of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers.

Wildfires take member homes
Union provides immediate aid and comfort

After the North Bay fires destroyed more than 5,000 homes and killed dozens of people, William Ortlinghaus, who teaches physical education at Kenilworth Junior High and his wife Jen, a teacher at Valley Vista Elementary, were happy to go back to work after school had been cancelled for a week.

“It was the only normal thing we had left,” Jen said, “And my fourth graders were curious to see if we were still alive and our dogs were OK.”

Article Up Front

Sexual misconduct revelations demand changes in the workplace and society

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

The daily revelations of sexual misconduct by men in authority seem like a turning point in the struggle for gender equality. While this appears to be a sea change, we must remember that Donald Trump’s claim he could grab women inappropriately without their consent failed to derail his run for the White House. That, however, may have been the opening salvo.

Article Rank & Files

In Memoriam: Gary Ravani

Gary Ravani, 72, a fierce advocate of public education, died on November 17 after being hospitalized for acute pancreatitis. Ravani served as president of the EC/TK-12 Council from 2009 to 2015 and as a CFT Vice President for two decades.