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 by date below or by index here.

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

CFT welcomes more Los Angeles teachers into the fold

California’s largest union of K-12 teachers pens historic merger agreement

Eager to commit unprecedented resources to the expansion of unregulated, non-union charter schools, billionaire privatizers have declared war on public education in Los Angeles, with the goal of moving half of LA’s students out of the district and into charters.

California Teacher ESSA

Every Student Succeeds Act: Coming soon to your classroom
State regulations being crafted for new federal law to replace NCLB

Jeni Nudell started this school year like most others, focusing on setting up her classroom, getting to know her students, and administering the California English Development Test to her students at the Rosa Parks Learning Center in the San Fernando Valley.

The Every Student Succeeds Act isn’t high on her radar. The new federal law to replace the one-size-fits-all testing fixation of the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act doesn’t take effect until next school year. 

California Teacher General Election 2016 Proposition 58 Propsition 227

Yes on Prop 58: Return language instruction that helps students succeed
Reverse Proposition 227 after 18 years of bad policy

In 1998, Proposition 227 essentially ended bilingual instruction in California schools. It forced English learners into one year of “sheltered English immersion,” hindering their ability to learn academic English and achieve at grade level. Many continued in those classes or were then placed in regular classrooms to sink or swim. The CFT strongly opposed Proposition 227.

California Teacher

A veteran teacher’s perspective on magic, old and new
Will “newer” always be seen as “better,” despite the evidence?

I recently received an email from a first-year sixth grade teacher asking about my classroom management system. I’ve taught for 37 years, making me a veteran teacher by any reckoning.

Flattered of course, I revealed the nitty-gritty of my ticket system. Long and short of it — when kids are good they get tickets. When negative behaviors transpire, tickets are taken away.

California Teacher General Election 2016

CFT on the ballot measure

After careful consideration, the CFT makes the following recommendations for November 8. On measures not listed here, the CFT has taken no position. Props 57, 62 and 66 reflect the CFT’s progressive positions on criminal reform.

California Teacher Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Sept-Oct 2016

Jennifer Russell, psychology teacher and member of the Novato Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1986, was selected as the Marin County Teacher of the Year for 2016-17 and honored for helping students learn about themselves through portfolio assignments and equipping them with skills necessary for college success in her AVID courses. Marin County’s superintendent said to her, “You have mastered the art of teaching students that achievement is much more than a number or letter.”

California Teacher Local Action

Local Wire, Sept-Oct 2016

LOCAL 6554
Contagious…This spring Ann Marie Wasserbauer, president of the Association of College Educators, delivered 513 petitions from faculty and students to the West Valley-Mission Community College Board of Trustees with the message: “Come back to the bargaining table!”

California Teacher Friedrichs v. CTA Vergara v. California

Victory! Courts reject conservative anti-union lawsuits

Attacks on educator rights and union fair share halted…for now

On April 14, the California Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the lower court’s decision in the Vergara v. California case. The suit sought to dismantle seniority and due process rights for teachers in the name of students’ equal access to education. The appellate court wisely ruled that there is no constitutional link between tenure and student performance.

California Teacher Labor Solidarity Rank & Files Labor art

Honoring “letter carrier who sings” turned teacher
Old school troubadour and modern Joe Hill among top labor artists and activists

Jimmy Kelly comes from a union family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his grandfather, father and two brothers were all union members. “I grew up in a different era, in a town that traced the origin of its labor movement to the great strikes in the steel mills,” he recalls. “We learned labor terms in fourth grade.”

California Teacher Teacher Shortage

Crisis in the classroom: California confronts teacher shortage
Poor working conditions, modest pay, and teacher bashing exact a toll

A decade of bashing teachers has left California and the nation with a dire shortage. Demand for K-12 teachers has increased while the new teacher supply is at a 12-year low.

Enrollment in California’s teacher preparation programs has dropped by 76 percent over the last decade, far below what is needed to fill vacancies, according to Linda Darling-Hammond, faculty director at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. 

Right for the job: When paras and classified become teachers
CFT sponsors bill to assist support staff transition to certificated status

When Shannon Ferguson was a 20-something, she didn’t really focus on her community college studies, and after a few semesters her father suggested she look for a job with good benefits.

“He said that soon his benefits wouldn’t cover me anymore,” Ferguson recalled. “Dad was a teacher and mom was a paraeducator, so I naturally thought of applying with the Oxnard high school district.”

California Teacher Elections 2016

Primary Election 2016: CFT endorses proven leader Kamala Harris for Senate seat

California’s Attorney General brings educator values to a crowded field

With the retirement of Sen. Barbara Boxer after 24 years as a progressive champion, Californians are heading to the polls to fill the first open U.S. Senate seat in decades.

And the ballot is crowded: 34 candidates have filed to replace Boxer, although the clear front-runner is Democrat Kamala Harris.

California Teacher Strike Accreditation ACCJC

San Francisco City College faculty calls one-day strike
April 27 action protests college administration stonewalling

Rain, wind, and a four-hour round trip from her home could not keep English teacher Jessica Nelson away from City College of San Francisco to join a one-day strike on April 27, the first strike in the school’s history.

“I wanted to support my fellow faculty,” she said. “There’s a lack of respect for faculty here. That’s what led to this strike and all the time, energy and effort the union has put into it.”

California Teacher AFT

The first 100 years of the AFT

From eight local unions to 3,000 locals and 1.6 million members

World War I and the Depression: The American Federation of Teachers was founded in Chicago, with eight locals signing on as AFL President Samuel Gompers welcomed the union into its fold in 1916. The union operated from one room of AFT Financial Secretary Freeland Stecker’s five-room bungalow in Chicago. President Charles Stillman lived next door.

California Teacher Librarians

Librarians negotiate professional development and salary
Entry-level pay lower than at CSU and the community colleges

The University Council-AFT is negotiating with UC over two key articles of its contract covering librarians — salaries and professional development funds — says Axel Borg, distinguished wine and food science bibliographer at UC Davis. He sums up the common concerns between the union and the university as competitiveness, compression, and consistency. 

California Teacher Elections 2016

Prop. 30 extension qualifies for November election

Campaign to keep public education funded kicks into high gear

On May 11, a coalition of unions and community groups announced that it had submitted more than a million signatures to place the “California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act” on the November ballot to continue the funding benefits of Proposition 30.