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 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.

To prepare, the union audited membership files to make sure it had a signed membership form for every member. It then coordinated instructor schedules, recruited volunteers, finalized logistics, and assembled new member packets with helpful union information and a new union sticker. 

Article Medicare

Medicare-for-All could free billions for our classrooms

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.

Los Angeles schools, for example, could cut their current $1 billion healthcare bill in half, according to John Perez, a retired president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

Article Environment Proposition 39

Campus electricians shine in clean energy awards
Proposition 39 investments reap environmental and fiscal benefits

We don’t spend much time changing bulbs anymore,” said Palomar College electrician Rick Beach. “There aren’t many left on campus to change.”

And fewer by the day. Beach and maintenance and operations staff members of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees, AFT Local 4522, recently led the installation of LED lighting across Palomar’s San Marcos and Escondido campuses.

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.”

Legislature sends governor bill to include noon duty aides in classified service

Current law exempts part-time playground employees from classified status if they don’t also hold a second position in the same school district. Legislation now on the governor’s desk, however, would include part-timers who don’t have a second job.

AB 670 by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) would help about 1,500 “noon dutys” statewide.

“Part-time playground employees work side by side with classified employees performing similar duties,” Thurmond said. “They deserve the same protection and benefits as classified employees.”

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

FIRST PERSON | Jim Miller

The CFT made history in 2016 when it became the first statewide labor 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.

She believed the impending end of DACA meant she would lose her source of income, her DACA driver’s license, and access to financial aid. She was also afraid she and her family would be deported. Her fears were real, however the information she received was incorrect.

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.

Article Up Front Janus v. AFSCME

Tried and true methods: Union organizing begins in the workplace

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

We learned in the final days of September that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up another union fair share case. With the court’s ruling coming early next year, it feels like we are on a ship with an iceberg rapidly approaching. Fortunately, as we prepare for an unfavorable decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, we had already prepared for the similar Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case. 

Article

Mid-session update: Union-sponsored bills pass through key legislative committees

Our CFT-sponsored legislation successfully passed out of policy committees before the May 12 deadline for bills introduced in their house of origin to be heard. The union’s proposal before the Joint Legislative Audit Committee also succeeded. In addition, CFT is lobbying several priority bills and continues to monitor legislation that would be harmful to educators, our students and communities. You can find regular legislative updates here.