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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California Teacher International education

A Tale of Hope and Caution: How three Latin American nations are defending public education

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

As part of AFT’s ongoing effort to build alliances with educators and trade unionists around the world, President Randi Weingarten led an AFT delegation in May to meet education union leaders and other unionists in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. I joined them as we looked at their multi-year effort to defend and expand public education, and to develop a response to attacks.

California Teacher

Federal cuts threaten cooking and gardening classes
Berkeley community rallies to save famous kids’ grow-it-yourself program

Facing a massive loss of federal funds, Berkeley Unified officials may yank an innovative gardening and cooking program up by the roots. The slash and burn tactics are drawing widespread community fire.

For about 15 years, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has taught low-income families about nutrition through school programs like the Network for a Healthy California. Congress, however, has revised its funding formula and California, which used to receive nearly a third of all USDA money, will lose about 40 percent of its grant. The funding for direct-to-kids programs like the NHC will be shifted to local health agencies to run publicity campaigns.

California Teacher Charter schools

Educators at three charter schools choose AFT as their union
From a county jail to construction academy, charter workers are seeking union representation

Seeking a larger voice in their workplaces, career stability and the power to better serve their students, teachers and counselors at three charter schools recently voted AFT as their union, and will have the benefit of belonging to well-established and effective AFT local unions.

California Teacher MOOCs

Massive Open Online Classes threaten quality of education

Low-cost educational alternative likely to widen digital divide

MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE CLASSES have been hailed by officials at the companies that run them (the three biggest are edX, Udacity and Coursera) as a way to provide access to classes at elite universities to everyone, but critics say that MOOCs — free online course with potentially thousands of students, many of them outside the United States — would undermine education quality, increase the digital divide and cost teachers their jobs.

California Teacher

Locals take bold steps to build power in tough times
Faculty-classified alliance, improved communications empower members

Two Southern California classified locals have recently seen how unity pays off.
“Our members understand that the more of us who go in, the stronger voice we have,” says Debbi Claypool, president of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees.

The northern San Diego County local represents about 400 classified employees at Palomar College, including maintenance, clerical, police, payroll and janitorial, according to Claypool, a business services technician.

California Teacher Leadership Conference

CFT launches member discussion of “quality public education”

The union explores partnership of community and educators to launch quality public education campaign

Making schools community hubs is key to the union’s campaign for quality public education, CFT President Joshua Pechthalt told participants at the Leadership Conference. Connections with community members comprise the CFT’s greatest strength and he encouraged educators to mine those ties.

California Teacher Social Media

Who’s spying on you? Protecting your privacy in the age of servers and social media – 6 Maxims for your digital work life

Protecting your privacy in the age of servers and social media
By Robert J. Bezemek And David Conway

Almost everyone uses social media. Whether it’s emailing, surfing the web, sending text messages, tweeting or tumblr, we are treating social media as an extension of our personal conversations with family, friends and co-workers. And we do it from every imaginable location — public transit, automobiles, restaurants, parks, sidewalks, the office, and throughout the campuses where we work.

California Teacher Elections 2012

No on Prop. 32: Don’t let billionaires take away our voice

California voters appear poised to reject a November ballot measure that would ban political contributions by payroll deduction, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they opposed Proposition 32, which would eliminate the main fundraising tool of unions. Just 36 percent said they supported the measure.

California Teacher Teacher evaluation

Legislature fails to pass meaningful teacher evaluation bill

Opponents don’t care about validity of test scores, only scapegoating teachers

How could a bill that would have improved the teacher evaluation process die in the California Legislature? Assembly Bill 5, “A Best Practices Teacher Evaluation System,” fell victim to faulty assumptions and reasoning that defies logic. And our schools are poorer for it.

California Teacher Lecturers Rank & Files

Tonkovich teaches and organizes with humor, joy and irony
UC Irvine lecturer and author credits mentors, and Ronald Reagan, for his activism

Q&A with Andrew Tonkovich

Andrew Tonkovich is a  lecturer in the English department at UC Irvine and president of UC-AFT Irvine, Local 2226. He edits the literary magazine Santa Monica Review, and hosts Bibliocracy Radio, a weekly books show on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California. Recent short stories, essays and reviews of his have appeared in Faultline, The Rattling Wall, OC Weekly and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

California Teacher PEPRA Student debt CalPERS

New employees to face reduced retirement benefits

Workers not yet hired will take biggest hit under law passed by legislators with no input from public employee unions

A new law passed in the final hours of the legislative session makes sweeping changes to public employee pensions that impose most of the changes on workers not yet hired, creating a two-tier system in the workplace where two groups of workers doing the same work receive different retirement benefits.

California Teacher ACCJC Accreditation

Community stands with beloved City College of San Francisco
Report faults school for having too little money and doing too much for students

In early July, more than 300 people packed a San Francisco meeting hall to express their outrage over a letter from the Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges saying City College of San Francisco must prove its fiscal stability by March 15 to remain accredited.