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 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 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.

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 Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Apr-May 2016

Jennifer Foreman, an English teacher at North Monterey High School in Castroville, and member of the North Monterey County Federation of Teachers, Local 4008, was named a Unionist of the Year at the annual Monterey Bay Central Labor Council awards banquet in late April.

California Teacher Local Action

Local Wire, Apr-May 2016

Community walks in for public education

Reclaiming schools…. On May 4, teachers, support staff, parents, students, elected officials and others participated in a series of walk-ins and other events in support of public education. Spurred on by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, which held walk-ins across the country, CFT members in schools from districts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Daly City and Morgan Hill, as well as Cerritos College, turned out to show support for the high-quality public schools that all our students deserve.

California Teacher CFT Convention Resolution

Democracy: Delegates pass resolutions and amendments

EC/TK-12 EDUCATION

Resolution 1 Support best practices in Local Control Accountability Plans
Resolution 4 Ensure adult education exists in its best and fullest capacity
Resolution 5 Call for rationality in testing
Resolution 6 Support for the California Education for a Global Economy Initiative
Resolution 7 Sponsor an education technology implementation study
Resolution 8 Create a School Climate and Student Engagement Advisory Committee
Resolution 10 Create a working group on teacher induction

California Teacher Student Nutrition

Food service workers serve up fresh attitude
Staff and menus adapt to changing culture of nutrition

Something good is cooking in campus cafeterias, and the recipe includes happier staffs. From school kitchens in Berkeley to community college taquerías in San Diego, classified AFT locals are raising wages and winning full-time status for food service employees.

Big changes in Berkeley schools began when food service workers affiliated with AFT Local 6192, the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees. Before the change in 2012, Local President Paula Phillips said, managers used to warn workers not to miss work during the holidays.

California Teacher CFT Convention Women in Education Award

Recognition: Fierce advocates share Women in Education Award for fighting corporate charters

When accepting her award for Women in Education, along with her colleague Theresa Sage, for their successful fight against the Rocketship corporate charter school chain, Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers President Gemma Abels gave a speech that brought the room to tears. She talked about the tough personal fight she faced thereafter — stage IV ovarian cancer with aggressive chemo treatments and attendant exhaustion.

California Teacher CFT Convention

Legislator of the Year: Jose Medina

Many legislators, although they seem good at first, have a “shelf life,” said Community College Council President Jim Mahler, which expires when they stop responding to the people who elected them. Mahler said to combat this by finding your own candidates. Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, winner of CFT’s Legislator of the Year Award, was just who the union was looking for.

California Teacher Restorative justice

Restorative justice seeks to end the school-to-prison pipeline
How educators can help transform classrooms and school climates

If an African American male student is suspended, there’s a 90 percent chance he’ll end up in prison some time in his life. In 2013-14, there were half a million suspensions in California schools, many those of black and brown children. These statistics make equity in education one of the great civil rights struggles of our time, said Ali Cooper, the executive director of the Restorative Schools Vision Project.

California Teacher CFT Convention

Organizing: Building our union power

In a panel discussion moderated by Joanne Waddell, president of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, four leaders in very different situations — three from California and one from Texas, a right-to-work state — talked about what they’d done to significantly increase their membership and get people involved with the union.