Topic: Education Issues

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. 

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.

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 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 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 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 Freidrichs v. CTA Vergara v. California

The lawsuits that educators and unions must defeat

Special Report by Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

Education unions and public sector unions are facing legal attacks designed to destroy our ability to represent our members. Not surprisingly, these cases are supported by the usual anti-union law firms and wealthy backers. What follows is a snapshot of the cases CFT and other unions are now fighting.

California Teacher Part-time faculty

Former part-timer chairs Assembly Higher Education Committee
Teaching background brings understanding, nuanced solutions

Community College Council President Jim Mahler says having Assemblyman Jose Medina as the new chair of the Committee on Higher Education is a gold mine.

Why? Because Medina, before going into politics, was a high school teacher in the Riverside Unified School District and a part-time teacher at three different community colleges, active in his union. He knows first-hand the insecurity part-timers have to deal with — cobbling together a schedule, finding enough work to support themselves, and worrying about their classes being cancelled. 

California Teacher High-stakes testing

Defies Measurement: An interview with the filmmaker
Q&A with Shannon Puckett, parent and former teacher

Before making the film Defies Measurement, Shannon Puckett taught at Alameda’s Chipman Middle School for five years. The school’s story is central to the film’s depiction of how high-stakes testing is negatively impacting public schools.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

College classified are partners in accreditation process

The City of San Francisco went to court in October to stop the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges from effectively shutting its beloved City College and ending affordable higher education for 80,000 students. 

Statewide, community colleges are fighting for fair accreditation and one college that lost its accreditation is working to get it back. Classified staff are helping.

California Teacher Adult education

Adult educators gain stronger voice for teachers in consortia
Expert panel ramps up educator involvement as two-year planning process nears end

Adult educators have demanded to be included in planning the future of adult education. Led by the CFT Adult Education Commission, members are taking action to make the process as outlined under Assembly Bill 86 more inclusive. 

Earlier this year, adult educators stood in line to testify before a Joint Informational Hearing of the Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education Committees.

California Teacher Accreditation ACCJC

Faculty protest class cancellations caused by ACCJC sanctions
Two lawsuits and a trial move forward; governor signs CFT transparency bill

The trial to determine if the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges acted unfairly when it pulled City College of San Francisco’s accreditation will go ahead on October 27. In the meantime, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera won a victory when the trial judge ruled on September 19 that accreditors “violated controlling federal regulations” by having an unbalanced evaluation team, with only one academic representative to evaluate the college in 2013.

California Teacher Vergara v. California

Education unions fight to reverse Vergara ruling

The CFT and the California Teachers Association filed a notice of appeal asking that Judge Rolf Treu’s ruling in Vergara v. California be reversed in its entirety. Stating that Treu’s decision striking down five California Education Code provisions “is without support in law or fact,” the appeal says Treu’s reversible errors are “too numerous to list.”

California Teacher LCFF LCAP

California districts roll out LCAPs to mixed reviews
Degree of teacher and classified input to local plans varies widely

Ray Gaer sees the Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, as “a different forum for unions to talk about things that matter and an opportunity to build more cooperative relationships. The president of the ABC Federation of Teachers says, “We can talk about how programs are selected and developed and how money is spent before getting to the bargaining table.”