Classified Articles

Overview

Classified Articles

News for classified employees and paraprofessionals working in public schools and community colleges, and support staff in private schools. 

Article Local Action

Staff take lead in disaster preparedness

Every fall, the College Staff Guild meets to address on-the-job and political issues in the Los Angeles community colleges. This year, more than 200 members of AFT Local 1521A took on another challenge: disaster preparedness.

Fifty survival packs were raffled, members heard from preparedness experts at the Red Cross and they committed to work with their campus emergency response committees as part of shared governance.

And what do the experts say? Being prepared when trouble hits greatly raises the odds of survival. Here are three easy steps to take now:

Article

AFT steps up support for Native American educators

Robert Chacanaca and about 20 other AFT members from Hawaii, Alaska, the Midwest and Southwest attended the recent National Indian Education Association convention and trade show in Reno, Nevada.

The convention included scores of professional development workshops, as well as a timely presentation on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s historic fight to stop construction of an oil pipeline across North Dakota.

Article Rank & Files

SanFrancisco paraprofessional named Member of the Year

Tom Harriman has been a special education paraprofessional for 30 years at Lowell High School, escorting students into the community to help them develop independence and effective work habits.

Harriman has represented paras on the executive board of United Educators of San Francisco for 15 years, and serves on the CFT Special Education Committee. He stays abreast of local union resolutions, city and state politics.

Classified win family sick leave and grants to become teachers

Classified employees took two giant steps forward in Sacramento during 2016 after the CFT shepherded four bills through the state Legislature that address staff priorities. Gov. Jerry Brown signed two of the bills.

AB 2122 appropriates $20 million over five years to encourage classified employees to return to school and become teachers. Grants from the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program to districts and county offices of education will provide up to $4,000 annually to staff seeking a bachelor’s degree and credential.

Article Free College

Free community college: Support staff in higher education rise to the new challenge
Support staff in higher education rise to the new challenge

President Barack Obama started a movement when he announced America’s College Promise in his 2015 State of the Union address.

In the nearly two years since Obama called on Congress to make the first two years of higher education free, six states have enacted Promise programs and another 10 legislatures are moving in that direction.

Article Classified Conference Racial Justice

Classified Conference 2016: Black Lives Matter conversation engages, unites

“When we say Black Lives Matter, we’re saying that we need an agenda that puts our lives right up there with everyone else’s,” said Christopher Wilson, from Alliance San Diego, a group mobilizing for change in low-income communities and communities of color.

Wilson spoke at the Classified Conference on October 8, before attending the funeral for Alfredo Olango, a black man killed by police in nearby El Cajon.

CDE releases request for proposals for credentialing program
Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program

Updated October 11, 2016

The annual budget passed by the state Legislature and signed by the governor includes an appropriation of $20 million over five years to fund a CFT co-sponsored piece of legislation known as the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

Compton College accreditation: A decade later

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

One of the principles of our democracy is the right to elect our representatives. In California, one of the most basic decisions we make is about our children’s education through the election of local school boards that govern both K-12 and community college districts. This may not receive the same fanfare as statewide or national elections, but in more than 1,000 K-12 and 70 community college districts, community residents make key educational decisions that matter to them.

Article Private Sector Local Action

Job Corps advisors win back positions

On May 17, the National Labor Relations Board ordered the Sacramento Job Corps to return four more residential advisors to their jobs with full pay and benefits. The NLRB decision makes nine AFT Local 4986 members who have been reinstated and made whole more than 26 months after their initial terminations.

The NLRB also ruled that six residential coordinators were unlawfully removed from the bargaining unit, and adopted an administrative law judge’s finding that the employers are liable for the unfair labor practices.

Article AFT Rank & Files

AFT honors San Diego organizer, Lawndale Federation

Tina Solórzano Fletcher of the AFT Guild, which represents nearly 6,000 employees at San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges, was honored with the Talking Union Award at the annual AFT Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel conference in April. Fletcher is a member-organizer for AFT Local 1931.

This year, the local prioritized one-on-one contact with non-members, and from September 1 through May 31, signed up 506 new members.

Right for the job: When classified and paras become teachers
CFT-sponsored AB 2122 helps staff transition to certificated status

Carlos Howe began working as a security officer for the Hawthorne School District in 2000, but he wanted more. After earning his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration, Howe joined the Santa Monica Police Department. It wasn’t a good fit.

“My hair was on fire everyday. I had recently married and was a brand new father, but it was dangerous and I was always gone, so I switched gears.”

Article LCFF LCAP

Local Control Accountability Plans create new classified jobs
Engaging families helps close student achievement gap

The first time most parents or guardians of a Berkeley student meet Jocelyn Foreman is soon after bad news has knocked on their door. Be it a death in the family, an eviction notice, a pink slip, or any crisis that throws a household into chaos, she is there to help.

Foreman belongs to a five-person team of family engagement coordinators whose academic mission is to close the achievement gap by ensuring that students have the resources they need to succeed. First things, however, must come first.

Article Lobby Days

How we made history at Classified Lobby Day: CFT champions bills for classified

April 20 was a historic day for us. We attended the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security to speak in support of our sponsored death benefit equity bill, and we were there when the bill passed out of committee for the first time.

Raising the death benefit to parity with faculty has fallen short in nearly a dozen previous attempts. The increase contained in AB 1878 would provide survivors of classified staff more money for the funerals of their deceased loves ones by increasing the death benefit for classified employee members of CalPERS.

Make Classified School Employee Week Meaningful

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

Schools can be amazing places. Institutions that focus on the education and nurturing of young people have a special place in our society. While the interaction of students with their teacher is obviously an essential part of the educational process, it really does take a community of people to make learning possible and schools successful.

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 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.

Article Classified Conference Rank & Files

Classified Conference highlights: Proud to be classified, three staff named Members of the Year

At the annual conference held October 9-11 in San Jose, there was a smorgasbord of learning opportunities for attendees. Classified staff and paraprofessionals took advantage of the offerings, which were both informational and social.

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, representing the East Bay’s 15th Assembly District described his hardscrabble upbringing and his path to becoming a state legislator. He also told how being a member of the West Contra Costa School Board helped him understand the essential work of classified employees.

Article Building Power COPE

Worksite organizing fires up classified local unions
Member-organizers motivate fee payers to become full members

Across the state, classified employees are convincing fee payers to upgrade to full union membership, and convincing coworkers to support the union’s Committee on Political Education, or COPE. 

The flurry of internal organizing falls under the twin banners of the Strategic Campaign Initiative and Building Our Power. Grants from the former help locals meet their political organizing goals, while the latter awards grants based on potential for member growth.