Newsroom

Article Coronavirus Up Front

The task of reopening brings challenge and hope
From the CFT President

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

In my communications with CFT members about school closures and sheltering in place during the past two months, I have often signed off, “Stay safe and take care.” For me, that is more than a convenient turn of phrase.

 As we enter into the third month of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in the midst of a crisis unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetimes, and when this story is retold years from now, I have no doubt it will be recorded as a turning point in history. I know most of you are, like me, tired, stressed, and worried.

Article Coronavirus Distance learning

Dedication to students helps teachers make huge shift with grace, diligence
Distance learning demands hard work, extra hours — and good internet

Since schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and instruction moved online, Jessica Hoffschneider, a resource special education teacher at Soquel High, has been busy. A site representative for the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers, she spends her days trying her best to help her students with mild to moderate disabilities.

Tech support powers online classrooms behind the scenes
Classified employees make the connections and keep them strong

Computer geeks have been on the front lines of online learning since March, when school and college districts across urban and rural California closed to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. Tech staff are the essential employees who are turning digital classrooms from a pipedream into a working educational system.

Article Retiree chapters Coronavirus

Tips for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic
How one retiree chapter is supporting seniors during stay at home

By Susan Morgan, President, AFT Local 1931 Retiree Chapter

As a retiree chapter, one of our current challenges is to find new ways to stay connected, be supportive, and sustain our esprit de corps. The current pandemic has increased challenges for retirees, many of whom were already dealing with the social challenges of isolation and loneliness. These newly heightened mental health concerns are real, and our task is to find meaningful ways to connect with our members to support our common union values and goals.

Article Coronavirus Educational Technology

Paraeducator steps up, makes face shields for medical workers
Gilroy family applies 3-D printing skills from campus STEAM lab

By Arti O’Connor, President, Gilroy Federation of Paraeducators

Diana Torres, a paraeducator in the Gilroy Unified School District, has been instrumental in establishing the STEAM lab and program at Las Animas Elementary School. I met her several months ago and was extremely impressed when she showed me the lab — with a 3-D printer — that she uses to teach students about that form of technology.

Article Coronavirus State Budget

Uncertainty surrounds education budget for coming year
The one known — coronavirus has blown a giant hole in the state budget

The governor and the Legislature know the COVID-19 pandemic has blown a huge hole in the state budget, but they can’t easily project state revenues or the impact on Proposition 98 — the mechanism that provides K-12 schools and community colleges about 40 percent of the state’s General Fund.

Article Coronavirus Immigration DACA

Undocumented students more vulnerable than ever during pandemic
How faculty can make a difference

By Jessica Silver-Sharp, San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers

When I first wrote about undocumented students in October 2017, I couldn’t have foreseen how things could change so much in less than three years. Two out of three of our campus Dream Centers in the San Mateo Community College District were established during this time when young “Dreamers” were forming a national youth movement and “coming out” across the country. Then, a majority of the hundreds of undocumented students on campus enjoyed legal protections under DACA.

Article Coronavirus Retiree chapters

Being retired in the time of Covid-19

By Dennis Cox, Southern Vice President, Council of Retired Members

AFT retirees have contributed so much to American education, and are in line for well-deserved gratitude from their students, colleagues and communities. You warrant a heartfelt thanks for what you have done, and for staying home and keeping yourselves safe during this outbreak. You are extremely valuable citizens. So, thank you to all who have served, and are now staying safely sheltered in your homes! Please continue to do all you can to stay safe.

Members collect 20,000 signatures in support of Schools & Communities First
Hitting statewide goal helped land measure on November 3 ballot

Update: On June 4, Schools and Communities First officially qualified for the November 3 General Election ballot.

Last fall, when CFT began circulating petitions to qualify the Schools and Communities First initiative, seems like a world away. Yet on April 1, the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the coalition submitted 1.7 million signatures, nearly twice the number needed to put the measure on the November ballot and the most ever gathered in California history.