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 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 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.

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.

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Nov-Dec 2017

Kirsten Farrell, a health science and medical technology teacher at Venice Senior High School, and member of United Teachers Los Angeles, AFT Local 1021, was named as one of five California Teachers of the Year for 2018 by the state Department of Education.

Article Local Action

Local Wire, Nov-Dec 2017

LOCAL 1603

#MembershipBlitz In November the Peralta Federation of Teachers, launched a six-day membership drive as part of a year-long strategy to recruit and engage members.

Article Medicare

Medicare-for-All could free billions for our classrooms

CFT retirees at the annual CARA Convention, from left, Ann Killebrew, San Francisco; Bill Philllips, Santa Cruz; and Margaret Shelleda, Oakland.

Most American schools and colleges pay for employee healthcare out of their budgets. Education activists are enthusiastic that a Medicare-for-All approach for faculty and staff would free up billions of dollars for classrooms.

Article Pesticide Use

Activists succeed in first pesticide drift protection for schools

Teachers involved in protesting pesticide drift gather around the air monitor at Ohlone Elementary, which has agricultural fields across the street.

Students and staff still exposed to toxic agricultural chemicals

In Watsonville, where teachers have fought for years to restrict pesticide spraying near schools, a recent regulation issued by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation was greeted as a victory, but with serious reservations. 

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Sep-Oct 2017

Michael R. Wing, science teacher at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, and a member of the Tamalpais Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1985, has written a book Passion Projects for Smart People (Quill Driver Books), coming out in November. The book is a guide for teachers about how to live like a professor without having access to a professor’s resources, with chapters on projects, affiliations and collaborations, applying for things, travel with purpose, teaching, citizen science programs, and publishing. Learn more and order the book here.

Article New Employee Orientation AB 119

Unions get full and timely access to new employees

New law leads to union negotiating rules for employee orientation

In April 2016, Julia Troche applied to be a lecturer in Egyptology at UCLA. “It was my alma mater as an undergrad, so this was a special position for me, a chance to give back to the institution that gave me so much,” she says. She’d received an email from the department chair of Near Eastern Language and Culture asking her to apply. “She told me there was no guarantee of continuing employment, but it would put me in a good place while I looked for a tenure-track appointment.”

Article Accreditation

Quest for fair accreditation ends in union victory


CFT and ACCJC agree on key points in legal settlement

Since the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges made its appalling decision to terminate City College of San Francisco’s accreditation four years ago, AFT Local 2121, the faculty union there, and the CFT have fought back through legislation, lawsuits, political pressure and protests.

Article Union Fair Share Janus v. AFSCME

Delivering for the union: Signing up new members one stop at a time

Driver and local president Albert Lopez moves between 13 campuses

The Riverside County community of Menifee is on the upswing. More than 1,000 new homes are under construction, new businesses are opening their doors, and new families are moving in. The Menifee Union School District sees increased enrollment on the horizon. The Menifee Council of Classified Employees is also expanding. In fact, the CFT recently honored the local for placing second in two categories recognizing member growth: most new members (151) and highest rate of growth (42 percent).

Article Affordability Crisis

When educators can’t afford to live where they work

Housing crisis hits teachers and staff in urban and rural areas

Last year, Veronica Juarez, a peer education coach and middle-school teacher in San Francisco for more than 20 years, was living in the city with her mom and two kids. Now, after an owner move-in eviction, she and her 10-year-old son, Rio, are living in a couple rooms and limited kitchen access. Her mom moved back to Mexico, and her daughter, in college at Long Beach, will stay there.

Article Environment

CFT becomes first U.S. union to
 adopt Climate Justice Agenda

Core tenets advanced by task force adopted as union policy

The CFT made history in 2016 when it became the first statewide organization in the United States to adopt a Climate Justice Agenda. When Resolution 29 was brought before delegates to the CFT Convention, I presented the history of my local union in forging the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus, the first such body in the nation.

Article Immigration DACA Safe Havens

Being an UndocuAlly

How to create a safe campus for undocumented communities

Four days before President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Sarah, a young student who commutes an hour each way to attend classes, emailed me that she was dropping my class.

Article Comparable Worth Pay Equity

Two union women and the fight for pay equity

How the “comparable worth” campaign succeeded

On a hillside in San Francisco a small public school bears the name of one of the pioneers in the movement for workplace equality. Kate Kennedy was born in Ireland, and like so many others, came to the United States during the Great Potato Famine of 1845-49. She was the first San Francisco teacher to join a union. In 1874, she brought a non-discrimination suit that provided the precedent for “equal pay for equal work.” Ultimately a federal law passed in 1963 made it illegal to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work.