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 digital magazine contains union news 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 Elections 2013

Educators score local ballot box victories
Coalition building proves critical to electoral success

“We phone-banked until we couldn’t talk any more,” reported Pamela Ford, president of the Antelope Valley College Federation of Classified Employees, in describing how her local union worked with campus faculty and community allies to elect Barbara Gaines, a middle school principal, to the board of trustees in this conservative high desert region.

California Teacher community building

Where can families get the best parenting support? From the union!

If you ask your child what he did in school today and get “Nothing,” then ask a more specific question, like “What was the most difficult thing you did today?” This was one of many suggestions fourth grade teacher Michele Bantugan offered 40 parents attending a workshop on communicating with their children at Daly City’s Westlake Elementary School on November 21.

California Teacher librarians

Reference librarians meet complex queries with a human touch
Highly skilled professionals imperiled by administrative cost-cutting, online chat

“We no longer have a visible reference desk in our two main libraries,” reports Miki Goral, a UCLA librarian of 43 years. “Students first have to go to the circulation desk. If the student working there thinks they need to talk to a reference librarian, they often refer them to a 24/7 online chat, which is staffed by a UC librarian only during certain hours.

Otherwise they could be chatting with a librarian in New York, or even Australia. Plus chatting can take 40 minutes to do what you can do in 5 if you’re actually talking.”

California Teacher Rank & Files

Rank & Files – November-December 2013

Mathilde Mukantabana, a member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, Local 2279, recently left her teaching job at Sacramento’s Cosumnes River College to become ambassador of Rwanda to the United States. Mukantabana started teaching at the college during the genocide and lost both of her parents in the bloodshed. She served as spokesperson for the Friends of Rwanda and says in the almost 20 years since the devastating ethnic violence in 1994, her home country has rebuilt itself through reformed education, expanded healthcare and revitalized democracy.

California Teacher Local Action

Local Wire – November-December 2013

LOCAL 6161
North County comes of age…The Palomar Faculty Federation wants to change politics in northern San Diego County and it isn’t waiting around for someone else to do it. 
“Public education is under attack and teachers and unions are fighting for survival,” said Co-President Shannon Lienhart. “Our best path forward is to find common ground, form coalitions, and work together.”

California Teacher LCFF-LCAP

Dawn of new era for K-12 education funding
Local decisions drive plan; difficult bargaining looms

For the first time in six long years, the state budget includes more funding for education in 2013-14. In the on-time budget, Gov. Brown fended off legislative demand to reinstate programs cut during the recession and stayed true to his commitment to prioritize education funding. Though the sectors of education fared differently, all saw at least some increase in state funding.

California Teacher international privatization

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 student assessment Common Core Standards

A year of transition: Preparing for the Common Core standards
New law temporarily suspends most testing, gives educators and districts time to prepare

Tanya Golden is looking forward to changing how she teaches. “Before, my curriculum was an inch deep and a mile wide with too many things to cover. I had to keep moving even when my students weren’t ready. Now I can teach more for understanding,” says the sixth grade teacher in her tenth year at ABC Unified School District, southeast of Los Angeles.

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”
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.