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.

Honoring “letter carrier who sings” turned teacher
Old school troubadour and modern Joe Hill among top labor artists and activists

Jimmy Kelly comes from a union family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his grandfather, father and two brothers were all union members. “I grew up in a different era, in a town that traced the origin of its labor movement to the great strikes in the steel mills,” he recalls. “We learned labor terms in fourth grade.”

Article Teacher Shortage

Crisis in the classroom: California confronts teacher shortage
Poor working conditions, modest pay, and teacher bashing exact a toll

A decade of bashing teachers has left California and the nation with a dire shortage. Demand for K-12 teachers has increased while the new teacher supply is at a 12-year low.

Enrollment in California’s teacher preparation programs has dropped by 76 percent over the last decade, far below what is needed to fill vacancies, according to Linda Darling-Hammond, faculty director at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. 

Victory! Courts reject conservative anti-union lawsuits

Attacks on educator rights and union fair share halted…for now

On April 14, the California Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the lower court’s decision in the Vergara v. California case. The suit sought to dismantle seniority and due process rights for teachers in the name of students’ equal access to education. The appellate court wisely ruled that there is no constitutional link between tenure and student performance.

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Apr-May 2016

Jennifer Foreman, an English teacher at North Monterey High School in Castroville, and member of the North Monterey County Federation of Teachers, Local 4008, was named a Unionist of the Year at the annual Monterey Bay Central Labor Council awards banquet in late April.

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.

Article

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.

Article

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

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.

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.

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 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

EC/TK-12 EDUCATION

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

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.

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 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.

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.