PreK-12 Articles

Article Strike Local Action

Teachers never walk alone when they have union brothers and sisters
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles – Part 6, Conclusion

UTLA’s fight to save public education resonated far and wide. Messages of solidarity and selfies of fist-pumping teachers poured in from Kentucky to Canada. Union locals across Los Angeles set up support networks for more than 200 LAUSD schools. For Writers Guild members, joining teachers on picket lines was an opportunity to pay back their mentors.

Article Strike Local Action

The power of parents: A new generation shows its commitment to local schools
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 5

United Teachers Los Angeles has fought for nearly 50 years to give parents a greater voice in how their children’s schools are run. In recent years, UTLA stepped up its outreach by hiring community organizers, building coalitions, and working with supporters in changing neighborhoods.

Those efforts bore fruit in January, when thousands of parents joined teachers on picket lines across the 700-square-mile school district to fight for “the schools our students deserve.”

Article Strike Local Action

The UTLA strike was personal for Josh Pechthalt
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 4

Manual Arts High School has a proud 109-year history. Alumni include painter Jackson Pollock, actor Paul Winfield, and tennis champion Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez. Former teacher Josh Pechthalt was shaped by – and has helped to reshape – the South L.A. fixture.

CFT President Josh Pechthalt was a student at Fairfax High in 1970, when United Teachers Los Angeles struck for nearly a month. He later taught social studies at Manual Arts High School for more than 20 years, and was on the front lines in 1989, when UTLA struck a second time. 

Article Strike Local Action

UTLA retirees link “Class of 2019” to 1989 and 1970 walkouts
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 3

During the strike, hundreds of retired L.A. teachers returned to their former schools to continue the fight for public education. One veteran of the two previous strikes said back then UTLA was up against an intransigent district, but didn’t have to face billionaires and unrestrained charter school growth.

UTLA-Retired is now mobilizing all its 4,300 members for the special election in March to fill a key seat on the LAUSD school board and tilt the balance away from a pro-charter majority.

Article Strike Local Action

Charter schools cost L.A. Unified nearly $600 million per year, board votes for moratorium
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 2

Eight days after the six-day strike had ramped up public pressure, the Los Angeles Unified school board passed a groundbreaking resolution calling for a moratorium on new charters in the district until Sacramento completes a study of how their unchecked expansion has affected traditional schools. The district also made a significant investment in local community schools.

On day two of the UTLA strike, members teaching at a South L.A. charter also walked out, and stayed out until victory two weeks later. 

Article Strike

Strike? Stand with L.A. teachers to win the schools students deserve

STORY UPDATE: After the factfinding report was released on December 18, UTLA announced it will go on strike January 10.

A Red-for-Ed wave rolled through downtown Los Angeles on December 15 as tens of thousands of members and supporters of United Teachers Los Angeles protested large class sizes, low pay, over-testing, a shortage of school nurses and other support staff, and the unregulated growth of charter schools.

Article Charter schools
The Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers successfully fought back an expansion of for-profit charter school chains in 2014 by mobilizing members and organizing swift community action.

CFT scores major legislative victory by prohibiting for-profit charter schools in California

Gemma Abels, the president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, saw how for-profit charter schools hurt the children and families in her district in Santa Clara County. A school there, Flex Academy, operated by the largest for-profit charter company – K12 Inc. – closed just a few weeks before school started, leaving families scrambling to find places for their children.

Article CFT 100

PreK-12 Council leads the way on educational issues

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the EC/TK-12 Council

The CFT originally formed as a union of K-12 teachers. As other education workers joined, the membership of CFT diversified. Because the CFT had a working group of teachers — called the QuEST Council — which dealt with curriculum and policy issues, and reviewed current legislation, there was little pressure for a separate K-12 council.

Article Pesticide Use

Activists succeed in first pesticide drift protection for schools

Teachers involved in protesting pesticide drift gather around the air monitor at Ohlone Elementary, which has agricultural fields across the street.

Students and staff still exposed to toxic agricultural chemicals

In Watsonville, where teachers have fought for years to restrict pesticide spraying near schools, a recent regulation issued by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation was greeted as a victory, but with serious reservations. 

Article Affordability Crisis

When educators can’t afford to live where they work

Housing crisis hits teachers and staff in urban and rural areas

Last year, Veronica Juarez, a peer education coach and middle-school teacher in San Francisco for more than 20 years, was living in the city with her mom and two kids. Now, after an owner move-in eviction, she and her 10-year-old son, Rio, are living in a couple rooms and limited kitchen access. Her mom moved back to Mexico, and her daughter, in college at Long Beach, will stay there.

Bilingual education back in national spotlight

Where will we find enough multilingual teachers amidst shortage?

Last November, California voters passed Proposition 58 — the Language Education, Acquisition and Readiness Now initiative, or LEARN — by the largest margin of any measure on the ballot.

Today, the CFT and community organizations are working with state education officials and local school districts to revive and update bilingual programs mothballed after voters passed Proposition 227 in 1998.

Article 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.