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.

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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 Local Action

Local Wire, Feb-March 2015

Local 1021

LA turns out for education.… Thousands of people jammed Grand Park on February 26 in a rally for “Schools LA Students Deserve.” They wore red to send the message to Los Angeles Unified: Teachers will not stop fighting for high-quality education including culturally relevant classes; smaller class sizes in fully-staffed clean and safe schools with social and emotional support for students; and fair compensation for teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians. Students, parents, and community groups joined United Teachers Los Angeles at the rally.

Berkeley teachers commit art for justice

Two union campaigns strengthen the bonds of community

In February, Berkeley teachers posted 1,000 “Black Lives Matter” signs in classrooms, hallways, administrative offices and on school grounds to highlight recent court decisions on the police shootings of young black men. They are also distributing “Black Lives Matter” lesson plans and resources to teachers in every grade level at the nearly 20 district sites.

Article Members elected

Sandra Nichols Profile: Teachers elected to public office can effect social change

Four-time board member Sandra Nichols has advice for educator candidates

Nichols served three terms on the board of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District while she was a teacher in neighboring Santa Cruz. She moved out of the Pajaro district in 2012 and into Santa Cruz County, where she ran for the County Board of Education in her fourth winning election bid.

Article Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Feb-March 2015

Kevin Glynn, a social studies and Shakespeare teacher at Los Angeles Senior High School, and member of United Teachers Los Angeles, Local 1021, penned a novel Tyrannosaurus Sex, a comic, coming of age novel set in Los Angeles during the heady days of the sexual revolution, from its genesis in the psychedelic sixties to its apogee in the seventies. The novel, published by Cedar Forge Press, is available online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Seattle Book Company.

Article Private Sector Religious Schools

Catholic school teachers concerned with morality clauses

Archbishop’s controversial proposals provoke national reaction

Faculty at four Bay Area Catholic high schools have expressed objections to non-inclusive statements about marriage, sexuality, and reproduction made by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, and concern over his controversial proposals to designate teachers in the diocesan high schools as “ministers” in the faculty handbook and the collective bargaining agreement.


Change the narrative: Choose books and movies that matter

Educators write from the heart and an English movie that will inspire

The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation | By Anthony Cody

Point by point, in The Educator and the Oligarch, Anthony Cody takes on the wealthiest man in the world, and his foundation, to defend the teaching profession and public education from corporate education reform.


The union analyzes the governor’s budget proposals for 2015-16

Gov. Brown proposes increasing funding for all divisions of public education in his 2015-16 budget and continues to restore cuts made to education during the Great Recession. 

As compared to the current year budget, the governor boosts K-14 education funding by $7.8 billion and foresees $65.7 billion coming in from Proposition 98. He also pays down remaining deferrals for both K-12 and community college districts. The proposed budget includes:

Article Classified Conference Rank & Files

Support staff proud of the many hats they wear
Tom Torlakson thanks CFT members for crucial backing

At their annual conference, the Council of Classified Employees celebrated the diverse work of support staff in a dazzling panoply showing the many hats they wear. 

CCE Southern Vice President Carl Williams called out classified job titles one after another. Secretary, paraprofessional, groundskeeper, custodian and media technician. Admissions and records technician, safety officer, library technician, accounting coordinator, and bus driver. 


California districts roll out LCAPs to mixed reviews
Degree of teacher and classified input to local plans varies widely

Ray Gaer sees the Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, as “a different forum for unions to talk about things that matter and an opportunity to build more cooperative relationships. The president of the ABC Federation of Teachers says, “We can talk about how programs are selected and developed and how money is spent before getting to the bargaining table.”


Propositions 45 and 47 protect consumers and communities

Proposition 45 With increasing health insurance costs continuing to burden consumers, Prop. 45 is designed to reduce the pace of premium increases. The measure requires insurance companies to justify rate increases prior to passing additional costs on to consumers and gives the insurance commissioner the power to approve rate increases. A similar system of checks and balances in the auto insurance market has saved consumers billions of dollars.

Article Adult education

Adult educators gain stronger voice for teachers in consortia
Expert panel ramps up educator involvement as two-year planning process nears end

Adult educators have demanded to be included in planning the future of adult education. Led by the CFT Adult Education Commission, members are taking action to make the process as outlined under Assembly Bill 86 more inclusive. 

Earlier this year, adult educators stood in line to testify before a Joint Informational Hearing of the Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education Committees.

Article Vergara v. California

Education unions fight to reverse Vergara ruling

The CFT and the California Teachers Association filed a notice of appeal asking that Judge Rolf Treu’s ruling in Vergara v. California be reversed in its entirety. Stating that Treu’s decision striking down five California Education Code provisions “is without support in law or fact,” the appeal says Treu’s reversible errors are “too numerous to list.”


Betty Yee: The qualified candidate for State Controller

A young Betty Yee worked in her immigrant parents’ laundry and dry cleaning business, where she dealt with customers, and with money.
After graduating from the University of California, Yee held jobs in which she was responsible for analyzing and collecting billions of dollars, including senior fiscal positions for the state Legislature.

French language school staffs choose AFT as their union

Workers at three Bay Area private schools gain a stronger voice in the workplace

When math teacher Cheryl LaBrecque joined the staff of the French American International School in San Francisco in 1999, the preK-12 school was small and “things worked better.” Staff members “had a closer relationship with administration,” she says. Since then, it has become “more corporate, more top-down, more about money.”


CalSTRS contribution rates rise to rebuild pension fund

Union’s full court press succeeds

Three bills on fair accreditation signed into law

Community colleges Legislative action has demonstrated that Gov. Brown and the California Legislature believe that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges was out of line.