CFT United


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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California Teacher 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.

California Teacher

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:

California Teacher

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.

California Teacher Representational Elections

West Valley-Mission faculty choose AFT/CFT as their union
Independent association affiliates, brings 750 teachers better union representation

Citing disrespect by their district and low pay as motivation, more than 90 percent of faculty at the West Valley-Mission Community College District casting ballots in the November 19 representational election chose to affiliate their previously independent union with AFT/CFT.

California Teacher 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 Teacher 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.

California Teacher LCFF LCAP

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.”

California Teacher Elections 2014 Up Front Superintendent of Public Instruction

November 4 is our opportunity to elect an ally and defeat a self-appointed reformer

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

The CFT’s priorities in the November 4 General Election are straightforward: Reelect Tom Torlakson Superintendent of Public Instruction, elect Betty Yee for State Controller and pass Propositions 45 and 47.

In the remaining weeks before the election, we need all of our members to get involved with their local unions and their central labor councils. We have to approach this election as if the future of public education depends on it, because it does.

California Teacher Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Sep-Oct 2014

Adam Siegel, UC Davis librarian and grievance steward for Local 2023 was awarded a $12,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to translate a contemporary Russian work of fiction into English. Siegel, a translator of numerous languages, will use the grant to translate Vasilii Golovanov’s The Island: or, A Justification for Meaningless Travels.

California Teacher

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.

California Teacher

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.

California Teacher Local Action

Local Wire, Sep-Oct 2014

LOCAL 1603
Protecting the rehire pool
…When administrators at Oakland’s Laney College chose not to rehire part-time sociology professor and Peralta Federation of Teachers Part-time Faculty Representative Cynthia Mahabir, and two other members of the Part-time Faculty Rehire Preference Pool, the faculty rallied quickly.

California Teacher

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.

California Teacher Elections 2014 Superintendent of Public Instruction

Torlakson has the courage to face false reform efforts
State Superintendent has proven leadership and classroom experience

Her voice swelling with hometown pride, elementary school teacher Melinda Dart says, “Tom Torlakson was a student in our Daly City schools — and he went on to become a teacher and state superintendent of all schools.”

During his early years, Torlakson’s mother worked as a school secretary and his father as a welder. After high school, Torlakson attended San Mateo Community College before entering the Merchant Marine and serving in Vietnam. Upon his return, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in education and a teaching credential at UC Berkeley.

California Teacher Accreditation ACCJC

Faculty protest class cancellations caused by ACCJC sanctions
Two lawsuits and a trial move forward; governor signs CFT transparency bill

The trial to determine if the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges acted unfairly when it pulled City College of San Francisco’s accreditation will go ahead on October 27. In the meantime, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera won a victory when the trial judge ruled on September 19 that accreditors “violated controlling federal regulations” by having an unbalanced evaluation team, with only one academic representative to evaluate the college in 2013.

California Teacher 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.”

California Teacher EpiPens School Nurses

New law asks staff to perform more medical procedures
School employees “volunteer” to medicate students in danger

Senate Bill 1266, introduced by Republican Senator Bob Huff (Diamond Bar), and signed by Gov. Brown on September 16, requires public schools to stock emergency epinephrine auto injectors, known as EpiPens, on campus. This is an expansion of the law that said schools could stock the devices for students with a severe allergy to make it a mandate that all schools have the device on hand.

California Teacher Part-time faculty Representational Elections

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.”

California Teacher CFT Convention

Los Angeles mayor allies with CFT and educators

In some cities, the education unions and the mayor engage in battle. But that’s not the case in Los Angeles where Eric Garcetti was elected mayor in May 2013 with early support from the CFT. He welcomed Convention delegates Friday morning by saying he always keeps his education background in mind.