Topic: Education Issues

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 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 Accreditation ACCJC

CFT files amended lawsuit against accrediting commission
Broader in scope than the San Francisco City Attorney's

San Francisco, May 19, 2016—Today the CFT filed an amended complaint with Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

The complaint, delayed for more than two years by ACCJC legal maneuvers, alleges a broad array of violations of federal laws and regulations, as well as California common law fair procedure, by the Commission. The plaintiffs, in addition to CFT, include several local community college faculty unions, a number of individual faculty members and a student.

Read the CFT complaint here.

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. 

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.”

Article Accreditation ACCJC

Community college presidents move to reform, then leave ACCJC
CFT applauds growing momentum for accreditor’s ouster

Statement from CFT President Joshua Pechthalt

March 17, 2016—“Today California moved another step closer to reforming the broken accreditation system for California’s community colleges. With a more than 90 percent vote earlier this week to reform the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), while preparing at the same time to move to another accreditor, community college presidents struck a decisive blow to ACCJC’s fading hopes of maintaining the unacceptable status quo.

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 Restorative justice Racial 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.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

CFT goes to Washington, tells NACIQI to delist ACCJC

December 17, 2015—Yesterday CFT President Joshua Pechthalt, former CFT President Marty Hittelman, staff member Jessica Ulstad, and faculty, students and trustees from City College of San Francisco spoke before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which oversees regional accreditors such as the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

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.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

Community College Board of Governors to send message to U.S. Department of Education
"California needs a new accreditor"

September 22, 2015—Yesterday the California Community College Board of Governors (BOG) directed state Community Chancellor Brice Harris to send his Accreditation Task Force’s Report, issued two weeks ago, to the United States Department of Education (USDOE).

The report, citing a multitude of failures by the current California community college accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, recommends that California replace the ACCJC with a new agency.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

New community college accreditor needed now

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

State Community College Chancellor Brice Harris has released his long-awaited Accreditation Task Force report, and the news is not good for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

The report, however, is good news for California, because it puts accreditation — the process of monitoring and reporting that provides assurance to students and taxpayers that a college offers a quality education — on a path toward renewal.

Article Accreditation ACCJC

Chancellor’s task force calls for new accreditor

August 28, 2015—Today the Community College Chancellor released his long awaited Accreditation Task Force Report, and the news was not good for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Bottom line: The task force, a blue ribbon group representing faculty, administrators, elected officials and other stakeholders, is recommending that the ACCJC be replaced by another accrediting agency. 

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.