CFT United

Overview

CFT United

CFT United, previously named California Teacher, is the union’s flagship magazine that is emailed to all union members. The award-winning magazine contains union news and positions important to members, and covers major issues in each division of the CFT: PreK-12, Classified, Community College, University, and Retired. Browse stories by date here or by index.

CFT United is published regularly during the academic year. We welcome unsolicited articles, letters, and story ideas. Please send letters, submissions, or other inquiries to Publications Director Jane Hundertmark.

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Article Coronavirus Up Front

Back-to-School Tour puts staff shortage in stark perspective
Dedication and inspired work of our members must be recognized

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

In early August, Luukia Smith, Lacy Barnes, and I ventured up and down the state on a three week Back-to-School: Forward Together Tour. We visited with early childhood educators, TK-12 teachers, classified workers, adult education teachers, and part-time community college faculty. We witnessed firsthand students learning in-person. We saw the incredible school communities our members have helped to build and visited campuses and classrooms to see CFT members in action.

Article Coronavirus
masked teacher with masked students

Answers to common questions about return to in-person 
FAQ for teachers and support staff in TK-12 schools

Now that California schools have returned to in-person classes, teachers and staff on campuses up and down the state are having to navigate a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-August, the CFT held a tele-townhall meeting to connect directly with members and hear about your workplace concerns. Below are answers to the most common questions we heard from you.

Article Community Schools
School building image with the words "Every community is different. What will yours be like?"

CFT launches community schools training program
Governor Newsom funds innovative schools at highest level in nation

The CFT has launched a training program following Governor Newsom’s extraordinary allocation of $2.8 billion to expand existing community schools and establish new ones.

According to CFT President Jeff Freitas, “This is a national effort, and California now has the largest amount of funding in the nation for community schools. These funds will assist nearly 1,000 community schools in our state.”

Article

Organizer pens bilingual children’s book teaching compassion, courage
Book Review

For All Para Todos book cover

Review by Bill Morgan

For All/Para Todos
By Alejandra Domenzain

There are children’s books that take complicated concepts and tell them simply, like Octavio Chow’s The Invisible Hunters. There are books about strong, determined girls — Wilhelm Steig’s Brave Irene comes to mind. Books like Friends From the Other Side, and Click Clack Moo! speak to the immigrant experience, and to the power of writing, respectively.

Article Coronavirus
Classified employee members of the Lawndale Federation around a union banner

Classified members feel the love during Back-to-School Tour
CFT leaders provide encouragement, support for safe working conditions

CFT’s top officers embarked on a statewide Back-to-School Tour in mid-August as many classified employees and teachers headed back to campus in-person for the first time since the pandemic forced distance learning for California schools and colleges. The road trip included stops from North Bay Counties to San Diego County, in both urban and rural districts.

Article Coronavirus
students waiting for outside class "Engines, Fuel and Ignition"  to begin

What’s on everyone’s mind? The return to in-person
From urban to rural, community college locals weigh in

Most faculty members, staff, and students at the state’s community colleges have been teaching, learning, and working online for more than a year and a half due to COVID-19. Many planned to go back to their campus in the fall semester, but after a brief period of hope that the virus was on the way out the delta variant emerged in the summer, and in many areas, COVID is surging again.

Article Lecturers Coronavirus

Back to the classroom, but no contract
Facing inequity, lack of COVID protections, 96% of UC-AFT members vote to authorize strike

As they have for the past two years, lecturers at the University of California continue their effort to get the administration to bargain a fair contract. The last agreement between the university and the University Council-AFT, expired on January 31, 2020. The union’s negotiating committee has met with UC’s bargaining team on 50 occasions, yet the four most fundamental issues are still outstanding — high turnover rates, lack of performance reviews, widespread uncompensated labor, and compensation itself.

Article Retiree Chapters
Kate Disney, president of the West Valley-Mission Federation of Teachers

You can help start an AFT retiree chapter!
Retiree division sets sights on organizing more chapters

For most of her career, Kate Disney taught engineering at Mission College in the Silicon Valley city of Santa Clara. Disney learned the ins and outs of the West Valley-Mission Federation of Teachers contract when she became a union rep in 2017. She was elected president of the local in 2019.

“You learn about different sections of a contract as you go through different phases of your life and career,” she said. “Certain portions are more important at different ages.”

Article Coronavirus Up Front

Looking forward to life, work, and union without COVID
Embracing opportunities the pandemic has brought forward

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

The last year and a half of my communications with you have told the story of the COVID-19 pandemic, our union’s early responses to the changes wrought by the virus, our diligence in keeping school communities healthy and safe, and the first glimmers of hope as vaccines became available and community spread began to decline.

Article Calbright

State Auditor calls out failed Calbright online college
Audit cites high drop-out rate, mismanagement, shady hiring

Out of 904 students enrolled since 2019, only 12 graduated, and more than 40 percent dropped out. There’s no discernable strategy for spending the more than $175 million it receives in state taxpayer funding. No system is in place to support students. Shady hiring practices have led to people being selected based on personal or political connection rather than ability.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

Free City! The story of CFT’s epic campaign against the ACCJC
BOOK REVIEW


Free City! The Fight for San Francisco’s City College and Education for All
By Marcy Rein, Mickey Ellinger and Vicki Legion
PM Press, Oakland, 2021


Reviewed by Fred Glass

Early in 2017, as City College of San Francisco’s five-year fight for its life drew to a close, I was attempting to convince a reporter from the Chronicle of Higher Education to write a summing up story. He said, “Someday someone really needs to write a book on all this.”

Article Lecturers Contingent Faculty

Job security still on the table for UC lecturers, members vote to authorize strike
UC-AFT keeps the pressure on for fair continuing appointments

Update: On June 1, UC-AFT members voted to authorize a strike, with a “strong majority” of  nearly 7,000 members turning out for the vote, and 96% voting to authorize a systemwide strike should the UC Office of the President fail to meet UC-AFT’s collective bargaining demands.

Article State Budget

Governor’s May Revision proposes highest level of education funding in California history
Legislative Update

California began the previous budget year with a looming recession forecasted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a projected $54 billion deficit. However, due mostly to the inequitable recovery of the stock market, profits from Silicon Valley, and high-income earners that did not lose their jobs, the state now has projected a $75.7 billion surplus.

Article Coronavirus

Pandemic underscores essential nature of classified work
Custodians, health aides hold strong; unions help members get vaccinated

Throughout the COVID pandemic, CFT members from early childhood centers to community colleges have shown how essential classified employees are. During the past 15 months, techs helped power an overnight transition to online learning, custodians learned how to hit back at the coronavirus, and health aides are now on the front lines of reopening schools.

Article CFT Convention Racial Justice

Khalil Gibran Muhammad on racial justice
“Good will is not a substitute for good work”

A history professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, who teaches classes such as Race, Inequality, and American Democracy and the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, with his work featured in the New York Times’ 1619 Project, and Ava DuVernay’s documentary about mass incarceration, 13th, Khalil Gibran Muhammad s

Article CFT Convention Resolutions

Delegates pass wide range of resolutions — from their homes
Condemn anti-Asian violence, support wealth tax, mandating healthcare for part-time faculty

At this year’s CFT Convention, several resolutions provoked a lot of discussion, especially considering the attendees were virtually raising their hands to be acknowledged from their living rooms, rather than on the actual convention floor. Some of these included condemning anti-Asian violence, mandating healthcare for part-time faculty, reforming Social Security to support teacher retirement, supporting the PRO Act to increase union organizing, and maintaining a list of retirees to contact.