California Teacher


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.

Sign up now to get the digital version of our award-winning magazine California Teacher by email! 
 »Subscribe here.

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

Article Local Action

Local Wire, Apr-May 2016

Community walks in for public education

Reclaiming schools…. On May 4, teachers, support staff, parents, students, elected officials and others participated in a series of walk-ins and other events in support of public education. Spurred on by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, which held walk-ins across the country, CFT members in schools from districts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Daly City and Morgan Hill, as well as Cerritos College, turned out to show support for the high-quality public schools that all our students deserve.


CFT introduces significant bills in 2016 session

Each year our members recommend legislation that will address important issues to educators and the students we serve. Based upon these recommendations and Executive Council approval, the CFT is sponsoring several new bills and a budget proposal aimed at improving our working conditions, and strengthening the labor movement and public education.

Article CFT Convention

Solidarity: Rally for public education ends in civil disobedience

At a rally and march for fair pay and quality public education held the Friday of the CFT Convention in San Francisco, hundreds of attendees joined AFT Local 2121, the faculty union for City College of San Francisco, as they marched from the Hyatt Regency to offices of the college’s lead contract negotiator a few blocks away. Two dozen people — community and union leaders as well as members — blocked the entrance and got arrested in an act of civil disobedience. This came right after the union’s largest voter turnout ever for a strike vote, which was approved by 92 percent.

Article Up Front CFT Convention

The State of Our Union: We are working to “Activate Labor for Justice”

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

Four years ago we talked about the need to pass Proposition 30, a measure that has added more than $6 billion dollars annually to the state budget after years of devastating cuts. Now we have to extend it. The measure for which we are gathering signatures — The Children’s Education and Healthcare Protection Act — will raise $5 to $11 billion a year, eliminate the sales tax increase, and continue to ask wealthy Californians to pay a bit more in personal income tax.

Article CFT Convention Resolution

Democracy: Delegates pass resolutions and amendments


Resolution 1 Support best practices in Local Control Accountability Plans
Resolution 4 Ensure adult education exists in its best and fullest capacity
Resolution 5 Call for rationality in testing
Resolution 6 Support for the California Education for a Global Economy Initiative
Resolution 7 Sponsor an education technology implementation study
Resolution 8 Create a School Climate and Student Engagement Advisory Committee
Resolution 10 Create a working group on teacher induction


Accreditation reform: Final blows to the ACCJC

College presidents support move to new accreditor: On March 17, community college presidents from across the state struck a decisive blow with a more than 90 percent vote to reform the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and prepare to move to another accreditor. This vote of the presidents confirmed the consensus that the ACCJC is no longer widely accepted in its community, and does not meet the needs of California public higher education.

Recognition: Fierce advocates share Women in Education Award for fighting corporate charters

When accepting her award for Women in Education, along with her colleague Theresa Sage, for their successful fight against the Rocketship corporate charter school chain, Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers President Gemma Abels gave a speech that brought the room to tears. She talked about the tough personal fight she faced thereafter — stage IV ovarian cancer with aggressive chemo treatments and attendant exhaustion.

Article CFT Convention

Legislator of the Year: Jose Medina

Many legislators, although they seem good at first, have a “shelf life,” said Community College Council President Jim Mahler, which expires when they stop responding to the people who elected them. Mahler said to combat this by finding your own candidates. Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, winner of CFT’s Legislator of the Year Award, was just who the union was looking for.

Article Restorative justice

Restorative justice seeks to end the school-to-prison pipeline

How educators can help transform classrooms and school climates

If an African American male student is suspended, there’s a 90 percent chance he’ll end up in prison some time in his life. In 2013-14, there were half a million suspensions in California schools, many those of black and brown children. These statistics make equity in education one of the great civil rights struggles of our time, said Ali Cooper, the executive director of the Restorative Schools Vision Project.

Article CFT Convention

Organizing: Building our union power

In a panel discussion moderated by Joanne Waddell, president of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, four leaders in very different situations — three from California and one from Texas, a right-to-work state — talked about what they’d done to significantly increase their membership and get people involved with the union.


In Memoriam: Former CFT President Miles Myers dies

Passionate educator led CFT for five years, edited California Teacher for 15

Teacher, author and former CFT President Miles Myers died December 15 from complications related to heart disease. Myers devoted his six-decade career to improving educational standards and the conditions for teaching and learning in public education. He was 84.

San Diego piloting move to make community college free
​​Can the goals of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education be fulfilled again?

The San Diego Community College District has joined the states of Tennessee and Oregon in implementing free community college. In February Chancellor Constance Carroll announced that 200 students would have their course fees waived for the 2016-17 academic year.

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Feb-March 2016

Linda McAllister, a sociology instructor at Berkeley City College and member of the Peralta Federation of Teachers, Local 1603, was one of four professors honored by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors with a Gerald C. Hayward Award for Excellence in Education, a designation that comes with $1,250. McAllister has sought access for traditionally underserved student populations, and piloted a program to recruit recent community college graduates with masters’ degrees to teach in the community colleges. She also developed curriculum, scheduling, and degree alignment so working adults could meet their degree goals.

Article Local Action

Local Wire, Feb-Mar 2016

LOCALS 1481, 1493, 3267
Schools our students deserve… More than 250 parents, teachers, school staff, students, and community members attended the “Schools Our Children Deserve” conference at Skyline College on March 19 to hold a four-hour conversation about what should be happening in North San Mateo County public schools.

Article Building Power Up Front

The path forward runs through the streets of our towns, cities, and the nation’s capital

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

It’s time for the labor movement to remember what energized our ranks and inspired American workers to join unions. As we face a continued decline in membership and legal challenges that threaten to erode the strength of public sector unions and the movement as a whole, now more than ever, we need to take our message to the streets.


Students flourish at “low-performing” high school

Journalist parts the curtain at urban school, reveals student success is the real story

When former Mother Jones reporter Kristina Rizga first went to San Francisco’s Mission High School, looking for a story on a low-performing school, she found a big disconnect between what standardized test scores showed and what was actually happening.