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 Convention Immigration Safe Havens

Delegates march for immigrant rights

DACA students, educators speak out at ICE building, state Capitol

Friday, Cesar Chavez Day, the first day of the CFT Convention, Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation promised the delegates that he will make sure other unions — the plumbers, carpenters, and building trades — back up the CFT in their fight against charter schools and privatization. Then he got them fired up for the march in support of immigrant rights.

Article

CFT Convention prepares us for tough challenges facing the union

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

The CFT completed its 75th Convention and Jeff Freitas and I were honored to be re-elected by delegates to lead this great, progressive union. A new Executive Council was also elected, a diverse group of local leaders that will help guide this organization in the difficult period ahead.

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Apr-May 2017

David Stein, lecturer of history and African-American studies at UCLA and member of UC-AFT Los Angeles, Local 1990, received the Maria Stewart Best Journal Article Prize from the African American Intellectual History Society for his article titled “This Nation Has Never Honestly Dealt with the Question of a Peacetime ‘Economy’: Coretta Scott King and the Struggle for a Nonviolent Economy in the 1970s.” Stein also co-hosts a monthly podcast called Who Makes Cents covering the history of capitalism.

Article Local Action

Local Wire, Apr-May 2017

MANY LOCALS
#ScienceMarch Numerous local unions took a stand for reason, facts and scientific analysis in the Science March and Climate March held during the month of May, including groups from the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2030, and UC-AFT San Diego, AFT Local 2226.

Article CalSTRS CalPERS

Pension battles shift from ballots to courts
Tracking the latest strategies that attack public employee pensions

For years, people have been trying to attack pensions with ballot propositions, said Doug Orr, an economics professor at City College of San Francisco and the chair of the of the CFT Retirement Policy Committee. Those propositions always go down in defeat, Orr said, and now those attacks on pensions are coming to the courts. 

Article Contingent Faculty Academic Freedom By Bob Samuels

Contingent faculty and academic freedom in the age of Trump
Organizing the disenfranchised is the key to success

Now that more than 75 percent of the instructors teaching in higher education in the United States do not have tenure, it is important to think about how the current political climate affects those vulnerable teachers. Although we should pay attention to how all faculty are being threatened, non-tenured faculty are in an especially exposed position because they often lack any type of academic freedom or shared governance rights. 

Article Noon Dutys Part-Time Employment

Bringing part-time playground aides into classified service
AB 670 would give “noon dutys” long overdue workplace rights

> Para leer este artículo en español, hagaclic aquí

Lesa Estrada has been a noon duty aide at Lawndale’s Anderson Elementary since her son began kindergarten here more than 25 years ago. 

“All three of my children attended Anderson,” Estrada said. “I’ve seen kids grow up and bring us their children. Now some are bringing us their grandchildren.”

Bilingual education back in national spotlight

Where will we find enough multilingual teachers amidst shortage?

Last November, California voters passed Proposition 58 — the Language Education, Acquisition and Readiness Now initiative, or LEARN — by the largest margin of any measure on the ballot.

Today, the CFT and community organizations are working with state education officials and local school districts to revive and update bilingual programs mothballed after voters passed Proposition 227 in 1998.

Article CFT Convention Endorsements

Tony Thurmond speaks from the heart

Announces bid for state superintendent of public instruction after Convention

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) didn’t have an easy start in life. His father abandoned the family, and his mother, a Panamanian immigrant, died of cancer when he was six.

Article Noon Dutys Part-Time Employment

Luchando por los derechos laborales de los asistentes escolares de tiempo parcial
AB 670 reconocería a "noon dutys" como trabajadores clasificados

Lesa Estrada es asistente escolar en la Escuela Primaria Anderson de Lawndale desde que su hijo empezó el kinder hace más de 25 años.

“Mis tres hijos asistieron a la Anderson”, afirma Estrada. “He visto a niños crecer y traer a sus hijos. Ahora algunos nos traen a sus nietos”, agrega.

Article Gender Equity

Six “Aha! moments” from the Women’s March on Washington

— By Katharine Harer

My flight out of SFO was delayed and I nearly missed my connecting flight. But this time it wasn’t just me running from one end of an airport to the other. It was a posse of determined women — many in pink hats with ears — a teenager, a college student, a few of us in that indeterminate age between 40 and 70, including two grandmothers. I ran ahead to make sure they’d hold the flight with one of the grandmothers right behind me. When we got to D.C., the city was teeming with marchers. You didn’t need to see a pink hat with ears to know who we were.

Article Racial Equity Task Force

Racial Equity Task Force delivers draft report to CFT Convention

UPDATE: On April 1, delegates to CFT Convention unanimously passed Resolution 14 titled “Reclaim the promise of racial equity for Black males in California,” which called for adoption of the report written by the Racial Equity Task Force. Download the report here..

The 18 members of the CFT Racial Equity Task Force have forged a solid draft plan after three weekend meetings of facilitated discussion and analysis.

Article Building Power Local Action

Local Wire, Feb-Mar 2017

MANY LOCALS

#DumpDeVos: Demonstrators at a boisterous event in Oakland — organized on social media in just a few days — denounced the nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education. Hundreds of parents, educators, and students gathered at a noon rally on January 31.

Members unite to fight Trump’s immigration orders
Council builds solidarity by engaging with members on issues that unite

Before the election our focus was on leadership development,” says Mia McIver, vice president for organizing for the University Council-AFT, “and the election brought us a sense of new urgency.” Strong leaders will provide the underpinning for the campaigns the union will undertake as it faces the Trump administration and a predictable tsunami of anti-union and anti-education measures.

Article

Night shift custodians work together, fight short staffing
Midnight organizing at El Camino College pays off

During the day, Manhattan Beach Boulevard overflows with traffic, but the only thing whipping down the street at 10 p.m. is a cold night wind. To the north, the lights of approaching jets trace the landing path to LAX in the night sky.

Darlene Esquivel pulls into a staff parking lot alongside the facilities management building at El Camino College. Esquivel is one of about 30 custodians on the graveyard shift who put the Torrance campus back in shape nightly while more than 22,000 students sleep.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

Fair accreditation: The long arc of our successful campaign
How a rogue agency damaged colleges in Compton and San Francisco

The Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, a private 19-member panel that oversees community colleges in California and Hawaii, has been much in the news over its threat to pull City College of San Francisco’s accreditation — a battle the union and college recently won with the January 13 news that its accreditation is fully restored for the next seven years.

Article Medicare Social Security

Retirees prepare to stand firm in a hostile new world
Social Security and Medicare targeted by majority party

Candidate Donald Trump told the American people he didn’t want to cut Social Security, but Republicans have opposed the system since its creation during the Depression.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has talked about “means testing” Social Security. In other words, wealthy seniors wouldn’t get benefits because they don’t need them. But they wouldn’t pay into the system, either, and losing the top 10 percent of contributors could lead to financial havoc. 

Article Labor Solidarity

Victory in Watsonville: Cannery workers show how solidarity works

KNOW OUR HISTORY

Watsonville, California, a produce powerhouse — July 1985: Mort Console, owner of Watsonville Canning, the major company in town, suddenly cuts wages by 40 percent and reduces health benefits. The factory workers of Teamsters Local 912 immediately vote to go out on strike, just as Console’s anti-union law firm has advised him they would: “Make outrageous demands; the workers will strike. Replace them with scabs. After 12 months, request a union decertification vote, which will then include the strikebreakers too.”

Article State Budget

STATE EDUCATION BUDGET: Highlights and lowlights in governor’s initial proposal

On January 10, Gov. Brown released his proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year amidst uncertainty about how federal actions may impact California. Federal funds currently account for more than one-third of the state budget, and according to the California Budget & Policy Center, 7.9 percent of federal dollars currently go to K-12 education and 5.2 percent to higher education.