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the voice of the union


April b May 2010 Volume 63, Number 4 

c a l i f o r n i a f e d e r at i o n o f t e a c h e r s , A f t a f l - c i o

CFT leads historic march


Vote June 8 in the state primary CFT says Torlakson for state super Page 3

Overload teaching in the colleges Delegates debate divisive issue Page 14

Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips AFT’s new campaign to fight back Page 16


In this issue


All-Union News 3 Convention 4 The March 7 Pre-K and K-12 12

Classified 13 Community College 14 University 15 Local Wire 16

  Marty Hittelman, CFT President

Our union leads the people’s march toward a better future for California

The marchers told people that the poorest one-fifth of Californians pay more than 11 percent of their income in state taxes while the wealthiest 1 percent pay less than 8 percent of their income.


ON THE COVER The six dedicated individuals who marched 365 miles from Bakersfield to Sacramento walk the final few hundred feet to the state Capitol, leading a throng of nearly 8,000 supporters. The march drew attention to the crisis of adequate funding for public services in California and the need for fair taxation. Photo by jane hundertmark

Our march from Bakersfield to Sacramento began the day after educators and students protested what has been happening to education during the past few years. Their hope was to reverse the drastic cuts in funding. Our goal was even larger. The March for California’s Future was a call by public employees, students, community members, and the faith community to restore and maintain three fundamental rights that promote the general welfare of our citizens: quality public education and public services, a government and an economy that serves all, and a fair tax system to fund California’s future. The long trek kicked off on March 5 when more than 1,500 supporters packed into the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Los Angeles. During the next 48 days, six marchers walked 365 miles up California’s great Central Valley. Thousands joined them on their journey. Our march culminated on April 21 in a rally on the steps of the state Capitol where thousands of workers celebrated this amazing achievement. But the marchers did not just

march. They also organized for the fall election. They gathered signatures for CFT’s ballot measure that aims to replace the two-thirds vote required to approve a state budget with a simple majority vote, and to stop the small minority of legislators who are not interested in providing for the common good from holding up the budget each year. They talked about fair and progressive tax systems. They told people that the poorest one-fifth of Californians pay more than 11 percent of their income in state taxes while the wealthiest 1 percent pay less than 8 percent of their income. They spoke to the fact that California’s very rich are getting richer and richer while the rest of us continue to live with uncertain economic futures. They spoke to the $17 billion cut from California’s education budget during the last two years. They decried that almost a million children have lost their health benefits. We — and our allies from labor unions, community groups, and faith organizations — challenged the political status quo by stepping out to make

a difference for all of us. We will continue to call on the Democrats in the Legislature to pledge to stop cutting funding for education and other public services. We will continue to call on the Republicans in the Legislature to help adequately fund vital state services — from education to public healthcare, from protecting us from harmful foods and unclean water to restoring our roads and public transportation systems; from eliminating corporate tax loopholes approved in the past 10 years as the price of a budget vote to taxing progressively. Positive change will require backbone. It will require bucking the very rich as well as the large corporations that control much of the discussion in Sacramento. It will require politicians to stand up for the ideal of serving the public good. Our march is only the beginning of the Fight for California’s Future. Persevere,

The California Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. The CFT represents faculty and classified workers in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. The CFT is committed to raising the standards of the profession and to securing the conditions essential to provide the best service to California’s students.

CaliforniaTeacher (ISSN 0410-3556) is published four times a year in September/October, November/ December, February/March and April/May by the California Federation of Teachers, 2550 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 400, Burbank, CA 91505, and mailed to all CFT members and agency fee payers. Annual subscription price: $3 (included in membership dues). For others: $10 per year. Periodicals postage paid at Burbank and additional mailing offices.

Direct letters or other editorial submissions to the editor. Letters must not exceed 200 words and must include your name, address, and phone number. Letters will be edited for clarity and length.

President Marty Hittelman

Postmaster: Send address corrections to California Teacher, 2550 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 400, Burbank, CA 91505.

Editor Jane Hundertmark

Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Smith senior Vice-President Mary Alice Callahan executive council Velma Butler, Cathy Campbell, Kimberly Claytor, Melinda Dart, Carl Friedlander, Betty Forrester, Gus Goldstein, Miki Goral, Marc Houle, Carolyn Ishida, Dennis Kelly, Jim Mahler, Elaine Merriweather, Dean Murakami, Linda Olsen, Joshua Pechthalt, Gary Ravani, Zwi Reznik, Laura Rico, Francisco Rodriguez, Sam Russo, Bob Samuels, Luukia Smith, Rosa María Torres, Kent Wong, David Yancey

California Teacher, a member of the International Labor Communications Association and the AFT Communicators Network, is union-printed by Pacific Standard Press in Sacramento, California on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper containing 10 percent post-consumer content recycled paper and using soy-based inks. ®

Editorial office California Federation of Teachers, 1201 Marina Village Pkwy., Suite 115, Alameda, California 94501 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 E-mail Contributors this issue David Bacon, Kenneth Burt, Velma Butler, Megan Dias, Bob Coble, Carl Friedlander, Marty Hittelman, Elaine Johnson, Mindy Pines, Gary Ravani, Bob Samuels, Malcolm Terence, Kim Turner, Rosanna Wiebe, Shannon Willson and the March for California’s Future Graphic Design Kajun Design, Graphic Artists Guild

977-M IBT 853

Cert no. SW-COC-001530

For more news from the Federation, visit 2

C a l i f o r n i a t e a c h e r A p r i l / m ay 2 0 1 0

Retired member Dena Sprinkle marched for California’s future.

around the union…

All-Union News

CFT recommendations June 8 Primary Election

Vote June 8!

Statewide offices

Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Lieutenant Governor Janice Hahn Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Secretary of State Debra Bowen* Board of Equalization, #1 Betty Yee* Controller John Chiang* Board of Equalization, #2 Chris Parker Treasurer Bill Lockyer* Board of Equalization, #4 Jerome Horton* Attorney General Kamala Harris, Ted Lieu, Pedro Nava, Alberto Torrico California Senate (By district number) 2 Noreen Evans 6 Darrell Steinberg* 8 Leland Yee* 10 Ellen Corbett*

CFT endorses Tom Torlakson, a former high school and community college instructor.

Television commercials highlight the contest between Republican candidates for governor, but the most salient election for educators this June is the nonpartisan race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Unlike the governor’s election and other partisan contests, this race will be decided in June if one candidate receives a majority of the vote. The Superintendent of Public Instruction oversees the Department of Education and has the bully pulpit to advocate for public education. The Superintendent also serves as a member of the UC Board of Regents and the governing board of the California State University. The CFT supports former science teacher, now assemblyman Tom Torlakson, who will fight to improve neighborhood schools. He has taught in both the K-12 and community college systems. As a state legislator he

On the Web To download a slate card with CFT’s endorsements for the June 8 primary election, go to To see the new site from the California Labor Federation, go to

Election 2010

12 Anna Caballero* 16 Michael Rubio 18 Carter Pope** 22 Kevin De Leon 24 Edward Hernandez 26 Curren Price, Jr.*

California Assembly (By district number) 1 Wesley Chesbro* 2 Christina Billeci 3 Michael “Mickey” Harrington 4 Dennis Campanale** 5 Lawrence Miles, Jr. 6 Jared Huffman* 7 Michael Allen 8 Mariko Yamada* 9 Roger Dickinson Chris Garland 10 Alyson Huber* 11 Susan Bonilla 12 Fiona Ma* 13 Tom Ammiano* 15 Joan Buchanan* 16 Sandre Swanson* 18 Mary Hayashi* 19 Jerry Hill* 20 Robert Wieckowski 21 Richard Gordon** 22 Paul Fong* 23 Nora Campos**

24 James Beall, Jr.* 27 William “Bill” Monning* 28 Luis Alejo 29 Michael Esswein** 30 Fran Florez** 31 Henry Perea 33 Hilda Zacarias 34 Esmeralda Castro** 35 Susan Jordan Das Williams 36 Linda Jones 37 Ferial Masry** 38 Diana Shaw** 39 Felipe Fuentes* 41 Julia Brownley* 42 Michael Nelson Feuer* 43 Mike Gatto** 44 Anthony Portantino* 45 Gilbert Cedillo 46 John Perez* 47 Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. 48 Mike Davis* 49 Michael Eng*


has worked closely with CFT and the Education Coalition. Torlakson’s main opponent is state Senator Gloria Romero, who authored Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Race to the Top legislation. Romero wants to expand charter schools dramatically and to eliminate due process rights for school employees. She opposes seniority in layoffs. Race To The Top, which calls for shutting down schools with poor test scores, has already led to wholesale firings in another state. Educators agree that Torlakson is the best choice. CFT, California Teachers Association, California School Employees Association, and the California Faculty Association all support Torlakson, as does the California Labor Federation. By contrast, Romero is backed by wealthy charter school advocates.

28 Jenny Oropeza* 30 Ronald Calderon* 34 Lou Correa* 36 Paul Clay** 40 Mary Salas

50 Ricardo Lara 51 Steven Bradford* 53 Nick Karno 54 Bonnie Lowenthal* 55 Warren Furutani* 56 Tony Mendoza* 57 Roger Hernandez 58 Charles Calderon* 59 Darcel Woods 61 Norma Torres* 62 Wilmer Amina Carter* 63 Renea Wickman** 64 Jose Medina** 65 Carl Wood 68 Phu Nguyen 69 Jose Solorio* 70 Melissa Fox 73 Judith Jones** 74 Crystal Crawford** 76 Toni Atkins 77 Mark Hanson** 78 Marty Block* 79 Ben Hueso 80 Victor Manuel Perez*

Statewide propositions

YES 13

Prohibits reassessment of retrofits

Prohibits tax assessors from assessing seismic retrofits for property tax purposes.

NO 14

Reduces voter choice in November

Creates an “open primary” in which voters cannot choose the nominee in their political party, and instead the top two vote-getters are on the November ballot regardless of party affiliation. This measure was placed on the ballot to get Republican vote in last year’s budget fiasco.

YES 15

Fair financing for Secretary of State

Creates more public financing for the position of Secretary of State, a constitutional amendment referred by the Legislature.

NO 16

PG&E-sponsored power grab

Creates a two-thirds vote threshold for voters to approve municipal power agencies, an attempt by PG&E to eliminate public competition.

NO 17

Insurance company power grab

Top:jane hundertmark

Torlakson bid for State Superintendent of Instruction key in June primary

Overturns Proposition 103 and allows insurance companies to base prices, in part, on a driver’s history of insurance coverage. ** Recommended by the CFT Executive Council.

A p r i l / m ay 2 0 1 0 C a l i f o r n i a t e a c h e r


Newport-Mesa leader Kim berly Claytor and staffer Fra nk Oppedisano.

Members demonstrate unity, energy and resolve for the tasks ahead er Education Issues Committee. Coast’s Dean Mancina chaired the High

Delegates zero in on need for state budget change


he CFT Convention in Los Angeles packed 40 break-out sessions, speeches by politicians hungry to lobby the 450 delegates, live feeds from members walking up the Central Valley on the March for California’s Future, and the yearly chance to see old friends and meet new ones into three hectic days. Significantly, most of the 33 resolutions presented passed without a floor fight. The exceptions included a proposal for CFT to collect a special assessment for three years and a limit on how much overload a full-time faculty member can teach in a community college. (See story page 14) The proposed special assessment was reduced from $3 per month to $1 by the Constitution Committee, although delegates debated a floor amendment for a $2 charge. Gus Goldstein from the San Francisco Community College Federation spoke in support of the $2 assessment. “CFT has been doing a fantastic job defending against the Arnolds and the Meg Whitmans.”

Resolutions passed call on CFT to support… … an investigation of linking student and teacher data for evaluation and compensation … unlicensed school employees from administering medication (See page 12) photos: jane richey

… limiting full-time faculty overload at community colleges (See page 14) >To download and read all resolutions passed, go to


C a l i f o r n i a t e a c h e r A p r i l / m ay 2 0 1 0

Jim Rose, from the Oxnard Federation, was one of many who opposed the $2 charge. “Our membership just took a 5 percent pay cut. I think one dollar is enough,” he said. “We can justify that.” The $2 amendment failed and delegates passed the $1 special assessment. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer ascended the podium to cheers and left to a standing ovation. In between she talked up her bills to serve healthy meals in the schools, to provide more early education, and a recovery bill to save teacher jobs. Pointing to the more than 20,000 California teachers and 45,000 classified workers facing job cuts, she called it “a terrible blow to our children and to our justrecovering economy.” She garnered the biggest round of applause when she said, “No Child Left Behind is over. It has left so many children behind.” She reminded delegates that NCLB was Bush legislation, and that he never funded it. “As we reauthorize [the federal education bill], we have to keep the commitment to our students and really mean it.” Boxer called education the great equalizer. “No matter how much their parents earn, or where they live, a quality education gives every child a chance at the American dream.” Sen. Boxer stands for reelection

in November. Her Senate record includes bills to protect children from dangerous toys and unsafe drinking water, and the first federal legislation for after-school programs.

speakers Barbara Boxer and John Peréz

Another speech that won a standing ovation was from the new Speaker of the Assembly, John Peréz, a Democrat from downtown Los Angeles. He called this the most challenging time in the state’s history. Peréz also called California’s system of taxation and budgeting “irrational.” The state needs to drop the two-thirds supermajority required to pass budgets and taxes, he said, and instead require the simple majority used by 47 other states. “For too long, the minority party has held us hostage and gotten concessions they would never get in a normal process.” Peréz promised no more negoti-

ating behind closed doors. He is shepherding a package through the Legislature to end the two-thirds budget requirement. This package would also require a two-thirds vote. “Which means we need some Republican votes. Yesterday I named two Republicans as committee chairs. I believe when you give people a role in decision-making, you also give them responsibility to make good decisions.” If the Legislature fails to place the measure on the ballot, he urged delegates to try every way possible to make this change happen. “I believe us moving to a majority rule will make a significant difference.” Peréz listed programs that the governor had put on the budget chopping block including MediCal for people on dialysis, drug treatments for AIDS patients, a cancer detection program for women and, of course, funding for education. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

Oregon teacher-turned-legislator helps pass tax measures to preserve public services Voters buck decades of anti-tax sentiment and raise taxes for corporations and the wealthy track record of effective polling, good resource management, and powerful shoe-leather mobilization. Coalition polling showed that a majority of the middle class was tired of cuts that impacted their lives, by a 60 to 40 percent margin. It revealed

Oregon legislator Michael Dembrow teaches writing and film studies at Portland Community College and was the president of the AFT faculty union there for 16 years.

that people were most angry at credit card companies, corporations, Wall Street, oil companies, and rich CEOs. The public thought most highly of

“We’ve shown that anti-tax groups can be beaten with the right campaign and messaging. More importantly, we have hope…we have confidence. We can fight for our futures and we can win.” — Michael Dembrow, Oregon legislator and AFT leader tiative process was vulnerable to big money influence. Victory was no accident. A coalition called Our Oregon, developed years earlier, had fought ballot campaigns. It was funded by AFT, SEIU, NEA, and AFSCME and boasted a

Oregon Legislature and a Democratic governor that together could pass a revenue increase. But the coalition knew such a measure would be challenged at the polls by tax opponents under Oregon’s referendum process. “People thought we were crazy,”

nurses, firefighters and teachers. “You can imagine who was going to be delivering the message,” Dembrow said. The polls also showed that Oregonians preferred long-term solutions. The ace-in-the-hole was a three-fifths Democratic supermajority in the

Dembrow recalled. Part of the success he said, was that legislators had passed the measures and won approval from the governor. It was not a cheap campaign. Dembrow’s side spent $7.5 million. The opposition spent $5 million with another $1 million spent by the Chamber of Commerce. One key element, Dembrow explained, was to use positive messaging and resist responding to negative attacks. The opposition would try to introduce a red herring like immigration, for instance, and the coalition would simply not respond. Some of the key messages included: >Education is the key to the economic future. >The middle class can’t bear all the burden.

> Some aren’t paying their fair share. > Voting “yes” is the right thing to do. The election was January 26. The Oregon Legislature had already scheduled a special session for February to start another round of cutting if the measures failed. The tax increases won with 54 percent of the vote. The measures created new taxes of 10.8 percent on personal income above $125,000 a year and 11 percent on income over $250,000 a year. The minimum corporate tax shifted from $10 up to $100,000 using a sliding scale based on gross sales. “Instead of cutting, here’s what we were able to do,” Dembrow continued. “Protect children and seniors, improve support for college students rather than hike tuition and cut courses, put money into early childhood education, increase the number of need-based scholarships, extend Workers’ Compensation to 10,000 home care workers and put them on a direct path to unionization. “We’ve shown that anti-tax groups can be beaten with the right campaign and messaging,” Dembrow concluded. “More importantly, we have hope… we have confidence. We can fight for our futures and we can win.” — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

What Oregon was able to do with tax increase b P rotect children and seniors b I mprove support for college students rather than hike tuition and cut courses

b P ut money into early childhood education

b I ncrease the number of need-based scholarships

photos: jane richey


ome say it will take a miracle to improve California’s education funding prospects. Progressive forces in Oregon have worked such a miracle. Michael Dembrow, a community college instructor, AFT union leader, and state legislator from Portland, helped lead the successful campaign to raise taxes for corporations and the wealthy to balance the Oregon state budget. He described the campaign to delegates at the CFT Convention and promised to help Californians with their own campaign. Dembrow, now serving his first term in the Oregon Legislature, began by outlining the dire economic situation in the state. With only onetenth the population of California, Oregon faced a $4.5 billion shortfall. The Legislature used pay freezes, furloughs, and layoffs to cut half that amount and landed $1 billion in onetime stimulus funds from the Obama administration. “We refused to cut further,” Dembrow said. The Oregon income tax was a flat 9 percent on all income over $7,600. There has never been a sales tax. The minimum corporate tax had been $10 since 1931. Most previous tax measures had lost at the polls, and the ini-

b E xtend Workers’ Compensation to 10,000 home care workers and put them on a direct path to unionization

A p r i l / m ay 2 0 1 0 C a l i f o r n i a t e a c h e r


awards Membership Growth Awards Five local unions were lauded for growing their unions. In percentage of membership, the Los Angeles-based Buckley Faculty Association Arleen Rivera accepted took first place with a 56 two membership growth percent increase. Cuesta awards for Local 1475. College Classified United Employees took second with a 36 percent increase. Adjunct Faculty United in the North Orange Community Colleges signed up an amazing 267 new members, capturing a first place in the largest increase of members. The Los Rios College Federation of Teachers landed second with 91 new members. The Early Childhood Federation, Local 1475, won two third awards with a 28 percent increase in membership representing 82 new members. Local 1475 also recently won a national AFT Membership Growth Award for its gains in membership.

“Educate, Agitate, Organize” Award The division councils each give out many awards at CFT Convention. The EC/K-12 Council’s highest honor is the Raoul Teilhet “Educate, Agitate, Organize” Award, which was presented to Sue Westbrook this year. Westbrook is the former president of the EC/K-12 Council and served on the Council for many years. Westbrook has represented CFT before many commissions and boards, and has been a dogged advocate of K-12 educators for three decades, both in and out of the classroom.

Communications Awards In this popular

photos: jane richey

presentation, nearly 20 local unions were celebrated for their excellence in communications, ranging from newsletters to Web sites to multimedia. For the first year ever, entries Debra Weintraub gladly submitted by local unions collected awards for the with fewer than 500 memPeralta Federation. bers were judged separately from those out of larger locals. >You can download a list of winners and get information to start planning for next year’s Communications Awards at index.php/publications/local-awards.html.


C a l i f o r n i a t e a c h e r A p r i l / m ay 2 0 1 0

Mark Newton honored with Ben Rust Award


he recipient of CFT’s highest honor, the Ben Rust Award, was Mark Newton, a soft-spoken biologist and natural union organizer. His colleagues call him a unifier and visionary. When he started teaching at San Jose City College, instructors there had an independent union with no voice, and no real power. Administrators had no regard for faculty or their issues. After Newton got tenure, he started watching district decisions more closely. “They made the wrong decisions all the time, for the students, for the campus, and for the faculty.” He became the election manager in the union, thinking it a minimal contribution. Then the president was recalled. “The new president did not work out, so I made the natural jump from election commissioner to

president,” he laughs. “I became president on Jan. 1, and went to work on Jan. 2. On Jan. 3, the chief negotiator called to say he had a second full-time job, so I became the chief negotiator. I was also the grievance officer because we didn’t have one.”

About this time, Newton and others requested a meeting with CFT. They wanted to affiliate with AFT and the AFL-CIO to have a stronger voice beyond campus. People trusted Newton’s judgment, and agreed when he recommended affiliation. In 2000, they voted to become the San Jose/ Evergreen Faculty Association, AFT Local 6157. Over the years, respect for the local has grown among faculty and administrators. Hiring a full-time executive director helped leaders juggle their teaching and officer responsibilities. “We achieved a remarkable turnaround in six years,” Newton concluded. “We would look at each other and say ‘this is going really well.’ The affiliation allowed us to gain all this knowledge. It is fantastic.” — By Jane Hundertmark, Editor

Julia Brownley: CFT Legislator of the Year Assemblywoman says education will determine the future of our state


alifornia’s education system is “on life support and the governor wants to pull the proverbial plug” in the view of Julia Brownley, chair of the Assembly Education Committee. As she accepted CFT’s Legislator of the Year award, she said the dire cutbacks in education funding would affect whether California has a bright future or a very bleak one. Referring to the $17 billion in education cuts to date and the additional $2.5 billion proposed by the governor, she said, “We are 47th or arguably dead last in state funding, and that is just not right for this great state.” Brownley joined the Assembly in 2006, representing District 41 that stretches from Santa Monica to Oxnard. Prior to that, she served as a board member for 12 years in the Santa Monica-Malibu district. She thanked delegates at the CFT Convention for their collaboration on the state’s response to the federal education initiative Race To The Top,

but said the outcome was not what we wanted. “A portion of the bill had some sound responses but another part was,” and she hesitated while both she and the audience chuckled, “a little over the top. I am a little worried over what we have committed California to in the future.” Brownley questioned whether real school accountability could hinge on a single test and referenced the recent about-face position of Diane Ravitch, a long-time fan of testing and charter schools as undersecretary of education in the first Bush administration. She also quoted Robert Reich, the secretary of labor under Clinton, who called the nation’s priorities backwards last year when it committed $700 billion to bail out Wall Street’s banks as the engine of economic recovery, when the schools are the actual economic engine. “Human capital,” she read, “the skills

and insights of our people, are the one resource that is uniquely American on which our living standards depend. We must shift away from financial capital to human capital.” Brownley endorsed a 1-cent tax on all financial transactions that would generate $200 billion per year, enough to fund early childhood education, smaller K-12 classes, and lower fees for higher education. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter


We walked the valley with a message of hope and justice

State Capitol April 21

Elk Grove April 17


April 15

Dillard April 16



April 9


Modesto April 6


Livingston April 3

n the CFT-organized March for California’s Future, six “core marchers” walked 365 miles from Bakersfield to Sacramento over the course of 48 days. Putting their lives on hold, they braved the elements, sleeping in churches, schools, and RV parks. Throughout California’s great Central Valley — home to people who work the fields as well as legislators elected in small towns who demand budget cuts and oppose tax increases — the marchers talked to people and listened to personal stories of economic hardship. Thousands of CFT members and others joined the marchers for an afternoon, a day, a week, a spring break. Supporters showed up at rallies and town hall meetings. Along the way, marchers asked people to sign petitions for the CFT-sponsored Majority Vote ballot initiative to remove the requirement that two-thirds of the Legislature approve a state budget. The following pages contain snapshots of the historic march.


April 11

April 8


April 13

April 4



April 2


Planada March 30

March 31



March 27

March 29



March 24

March 25


Fresno March 22

March 20


Reedley March 19

March 18



March 16

Tulare March 13



March 12

March 11

Delano March 9



March 7

Shafter March 6

Allensworth March 10

McFarland March 8

Bakersfield March 5


Bus Route

Los Angeles

Manny Ballesteros Community organizer, Watsonville

March 5

Irene Gonzalez Juvenile probation officer, AFSCME Jenn Laskin Continuation high school teacher Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers David Lyell Substitute teacher United Teachers of Los Angeles


Gavin Riley Retired teacher, ABC Federation of Teachers

365 MILES 48 days


photos: jane hundertmark

Jim Miller Labor history instructor, AFT Guild, San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Colleges

why we MARCHed

To reclaim the promise of quality public education and services To rebuild state government so it works for everyone • To restore fair and equitable taxes to fund our future

A p r i l / m ay 2 0 1 0 C a l i f o r n i a t e a c h e r



At the launch of the march in Los Angeles on March 5, Gavin Riley, the oldest of the marchers, was worried he might not be able to walk the distance. Supporting the goals of the march to restore public education and public services was easy, being away from his wife for seven weeks difficult. Riley retired from 37 years in the ABC Unified School District, in the southernmost part of Los Angeles County. “I view myself as a legacy of the California system when it worked,” he remembers. “I went to school in the 1950s when our school system ranked as one of the best in the nation. College was

free at the state university system.” Riley says that back then policymakers believed if we had an educated electorate, it would be more productive, more supportive of the state. “I think that worked,” he says. “They gave me a free education, and I came back and worked my entire life in the state. I’ve owned businesses here. I’ve taught in our schools. I think I’ve more than returned the investment. “But we’ve kind of lost track of that. At one time we were a selfless society in California. We seem to have become more selfish. That’s unfortunate, because we’re losing track of the dream.” As for the distance? Forty-eight days later Riley strode into Sacramento with ease.

photos: jane hundertmark

Fight to head off social explosion and demand a just social contract Jim Miller teaches labor studies at San Diego City College. His wife, Kelly Mayhew, also an instructor there, took over part of his teaching load, and full responsibilities for their six-year-old son. “She was very emotional when I left,” Miller recalls. “That part of it’s hard. It’s probably not the best time in my life to choose to walk 365 miles. But really in the big picture, it’s a small sacrifice in comparison to what’s at stake. “I’m not just marching so that my son, the son of two community college professors, can have fewer kids in his class. If we don’t do something in some of the areas where we’re marching, communities where the average income is as low as $5000 a year, if we don’t do something for the children of those workers, then we’re going to have to build more prisons, because there’s going to be no future for them. “We want to save the entire social


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contract in the state,” he explains. “What’s inspiring people is that different unions, different communities are talking to each other in this shared struggle.” Irene Gonzalez joined the march not as a teacher, but as a worker in the criminal justice system, and a leader in her union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “In the probation department in Los Angeles, where I work, we service the community in rehabilitating minors and adults, and a lot of our services are being cut too,” she explains. “We used to give referrals and provide help in getting jobs or developing reading skills. But with the cuts we can’t do that any longer.” Gonzalez predicts a social explosion if the state’s priorities aren’t changed. “It’s time for us to start standing up and fighting back.”

Bob riha Jr

bob riha

Reclaim our state’s golden era as a land of opportunity for all

Gavin Riley

Dean Murakami, Los Rios Federation

David Lyell

Alex Bauer, Galt Federation

Robin Geery, UC-AFT Merced

Unite with all who would join a people’s march the demands of the march go beyond saving education, to fighting for an economy and a government that works for everybody, says Jim Miller. “We’re not saying save education by throwing old people out of their home care, by getting rid of health care for poor kids, by closing down state parks or privatizing prisons.” Education activists were joined by a huge contingent of home care workers mobilized by United Domestic Workers Local 3930, which represents workers in several counties along the march route. “We had about a thousand, from El Dorado, Placer, Stanislaus, Merced, San Diego, Riverside and Orange Counties,” reported Doug Moore, UDW executive director.

Moore credits the CFT for organizing the march, “for taking a bold step and then reaching out and saying, ‘we need other people.’ If they hadn’t taken that step, we’d all probably be working the same way we always have, in our silos. And what you see on the march here is, no silos. This isn’t just about public education; it’s about public services and a fair tax system. As long as we stick to that, this coalition will continue to grow. It’s a people’s march.”

bob riha

Change California’s priorities from big-budget prisons to high-paying jobs For one marcher, Jenn Laskin, the Central Valley communities remind her of Watsonville, where she teaches humanities and English, and food justice in the school garden, at Renaissance Continuation High School. “Watsonville has a 27 percent unemployment rate,” she says. “I have many students with both parents out of work, who grow food in our garden to bring home to their families. You can really feel their poverty and desperation.” But in the Central Valley things seem worse. “The towns feel a lot more desolate,” Laskin explains. “I see more need here, and I’m guessing probably fewer services.” Valley denizens responded positively to the march, Laskin says. “A woman stopped one day with oranges and papayas in her truck

and gave us fruit, invited us to her home for chile rellenos. Another woman followed us for three days, bringing water. That’s why I think it was right to choose the Central Valley to have this march.” By the time marchers arrived in the northern delta region, they had passed by one source of California’s budgetary woes – prisons. Chowchilla is the site of two prisons: One with a $125 million budget and the other a $153 million. To the south, Corcoran’s two prisons have $270 million and $230 million budgets. Despite the jobs in the two facilities, Corcoran has much higher unemployment than the state’s average – 19 percent. The prison budgets dwarf those of schools or city services. The budget for schools last year was $29 million – a twentieth of the budgets of the two penitentiaries. Yet for all the promise of jobs, the prisons don’t help much to alleviate joblessness in rural California.

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Jason Newman, Los Rios Fed eration

estic Workers Doug Moore, United Dom

Jenn Laskin

sident Randi Weingarten, AFT Pre

Unlock economic recovery with the key of public education Jenn Laskin says Watsonville now has seven school nurses for 19,000 students, and has cut school psychologists and counselors, music and art. “Sports have become pay to play,” she says, “which means that talented students who don’t have the money lose the opportunity. That cuts off yet another pathway to college.” Next year K-12 classes will have 28 students. “We’re loading to the max. Kindergarten classes are super crowded, and one student told me, ‘we can’t even fit on the rug anymore.’” In the San Joaquin Valley Laskin talked with many teachers who have received pink slips. “I spoke with one teacher who worked three jobs to put herself through school. She’s in her second year, which means she will have no due process rights in layoffs until the first day of next year. So she’s being laid off this year. Her

family’s lived in McFarland for five generations, and her father has been a custodian for the district there for 23 years. Without a job there won’t be anything to keep her in the community where she grew up. The closest place to look for work is Bakersfield, where they just issued 200 pink slips, and many highly qualified teachers are fighting for the same job.” Jim Miller says the community colleges are serving more than 200,000 students they don’t receive funding for and scores of part-time instructors have been laid off. “My job is to serve our students and I’m unable to do this. Community colleges are the most accessible door of opportunity for working class students and communities of color in California. We’re witnessing the destruction of the California dream in regard to education. It’s a race to the bottom in every way.”

Join those who evolve from apathy to hope

photos: jane hundertmark

Jim Miller is proud of the impact the events of march have had on his students. “They’re educating themselves. They have a remarkable understanding of what’s going on. It’s inspiring to see how sharp they’ve become on arcane matters, like split roll tax and oil extraction tax. I think that’s a hopeful sign.” That hope was borne out in the final mile to the state Capitol on April 21, when the six marchers were joined by nearly 10,000 supporters: school and college employees, students of all ages, parents, home healthcare workers and their patients, social and mental health workers, police officers, firefighters, probation officers, members of the clergy, and community activists. AFT President Randi Weingarten made the trip from Washington D.C. to support the march and call for restoration of


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public services in California. As he walked up the Central Valley to Sacramento, David Lyell, the substitute teacher from Los Angeles, talked with other teachers on the way. “They told us they’d gotten into education because they wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, but that with the budget cuts, they’re not able to do it,” he recalls. Lyell once considered himself an apathetic person. “I know there’s a lot of apathy out there, and I used to be apathetic myself,” he said. “But I believe now we can make a difference by organizing and working together. This is an amazing opportunity.” —Reporting by David Bacon

On the Web >For reports of the march, go to and To learn more about the Majority Vote measure, go to

Sabrina Santiago and Norman Stuart, San Diego with Paula Bauer from Galt.

Around CFT As the union’s newest field representative, Zev Kvitky brings experience in organizing, representation, bargaining and media relations. He worked most recently as leadership development coordinator for UPTE, the University Professional and Technical Employees. Kvitky’s union work began as a technical worker at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, where he took on increasing responsibility in SEIU, from shop steward in 1998 to full-time local president in 2008. In 2005, he led the largest strike ever at Stanford.  As the child of a CFT member, his earliest memories of the union come from attending rallies in Los Angeles with his mother. “Bringing my union experience to CFT feels like coming full circle,” Kvitky says.

Al Rodda: Author of collective bargaining law Former State Senator Albert S. Rodda, author of the Educational Employment Relations Act, died April 3 at the age of 97. Even though Rodda had been president of AFT Local 31 in his days as a high school teacher in the Sacramento area, and the CFT had sponsored collective bargaining bills since the 1950s, Senator Rodda’s first vote for a bargaining bill came in 1974, as did the election of union-backed Jerry Brown as governor. Rodda, chair of the Senate Education Committee, brought all segments of the education community to the table to hammer out SB160, which Brown signed into law in 1975. More than anything, Al Rodda was an educator. At the time he was elected to the Senate in 1958, he was an instructor at then Sacramento Junior College.

Support staff and classified employees, celebrate California’s Classified School Employee Week during the week of May 16-22. Executive Council meets at the CFT Burbank office on June 5.

1960s photo of Albert Rodda, chairman of the Senate Education Committee and Mary Bergan, CFT legislative advocate.

After leaving the Senate, he was elected to the board of trustees of the renamed Los Rios Community College District, and was an adjunct professor at Sacramento State University. Throughout his life he studied and wrote scholarly papers on issues involving government. > For more about Al Rodda’s life go to

2010 high school senior scholarship recipients Raoul Teilhet

Scholarships The CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Program awarded $3000 scholarships to 25 high school seniors planning to attend four-year institutions of higher learning. This year’s scholarship recipients are listed below with the names of their parents who are members of AFT local unions. Applications are now being accepted from continuing college students through July 1. Recipients will be announced prior to the fall semester. To obtain an application, go to and click on Scholarships, or phone the CFT Costa Mesa office, 714-754-1514, to have one mailed to you.

Kelsey Baker, daughter of Randy Baker, San Rafael Federation of Teachers

Shane McDonough, son of Shane Rory McDonough, Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers

Melissa Bruce, daughter of Lisa Bruce, UC-AFT Riverside

Paul Moran, son of Rita E. Moran, San Francisco Community College Federation of Teachers

Jackson Case-Barnes, son of Julie Case, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers

Alessandra Moscoso, daughter of Glenda Moscoso, Cuesta College Federation of Teachers

Gabriel Cerecedes, son of Theresa Rainey, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers

Gabriel Muños-Morris, son of Rebecca Cary Morris, Cuesta College Federation of Teachers

Derek Fong, son of Deborah Moy, San Jose/Evergreen Faculty Association

Timothy O’Reilly, son of Marianne O’Reilly, Jefferson Elementary Federation of Teachers

Kathryn Husmann, daughter of Rebecca Husmann, Sunnyvale-Cupertino Adult and Community Education Federation

Adrian Orozco, son of Carmen Alvarez, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers

Melanie Jasper, daughter of Kathy Jasper, San Jose Federation of Teachers Kathleen Kelley, daughter of Denise McDonough, Cuesta College Classified United Employees Kristene Lauk, daughter of Robin Lauk, Turlock Federation of Classified Employees

Nina Adelson, daughter of Evan Adelson, AFT Guild–San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges

Caitlin McConnell, daughter of Mark McConnell, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers

Anthony Avila, son of Araceli Avila, United Teachers Los Angeles

Kathryn McDonald, daughter of Susan McDonald, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees

Mark your Calendar

Trent Reeves, son of Kenneth Reeves, Ojai Federation of Teachers Amber Rockwood, daughter of Charles Rockwood, Ventura County Federation of College Teachers Rachel Schwager-Datz, daughter of Allison Datz, San Francisco Community College Federation of Teachers Jocelyn Tang, daughter of Shiuling Huang, El Camino College Federation of Teachers Emily Tremblay, daughter of D. Michael & Julie Tremblay, Lompoc Federation of Teachers

AFT New Staff School will be held June 6-11 at the National Labor College, Silver Spring, Maryland. For more information, go to Vote in the Primary Election by mail, or at your local polling place by 8 p.m. on the evening of June 8. The CFT Leadership Institute, a California-based training where preregistered teams of local union leaders can participate in a concentrated 52 hours of study takes place June 28-30 on the campus of UCLA. Application deadline for continuing college students to apply for a CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship is July 1. AFT Communicators Network Conference offers training and networking for union communicators on July 6 at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle. AFT Convention will elect AFT officers and discuss national policy. It will be held July 7-11 at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle. Learn more at AFT ER&D Summer Institute will be held at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland on July 22-29. The Western Regional Summer Institute on Union Women brings together women from the U.S. and Canada from July 6-10 at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, with this year’s theme of “Women’s Work: Organizing in Hard Times.” To learn more, go to SIUW.html Division Councils meet September 24 and State Council, to which all local unions can send delegates, meets the next day, September 25. All at the Four Points Hotel in Los Angeles.

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Zev Kvitky joins CFT staff

Eris Young, daughter of Martin Young, Adjunct Faculty United–North Orange County Colleges

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Members have an opportunity to speak out at CFT Convention.

Pre-K and K-12 Legislation offers practical solution to school nurse shortage AB 2454 allows two-year RNs to provide healthcare in schools while on credential track More students with potentially severe health problems including asthma, seizure disorders, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disease are appearing in regular school settings at the same time the nurse shortage in California schools worsens, according to Pat Christie, CFT’s liaison to the California School Nurses Organization. “We’re seeing more students who need invasive interventions like tracheostomy and gastric feedings,” she says. “These students require individualized healthcare plans to guide staff on their care — yet more than half of California’s school districts have no school nurse at all.” With only about 2,900 nurses in the state’s 10,100 public schools, there are not enough professionals to provide students with necessary, safe, and appropriate care, explains

State legislation introduced by former teacher and Assemblymember Tom Torlakson, a Democrat from Martinez, promises a practical, revenue-neutral solution to get more nurses into the schools. AB 2454 would mandate a staffing ratio of at least one licensed vocational nurse

school nurse and CFT liaison to California School Nurses Organization

gary ravani council president

Thirty to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession voluntarily within five years of being hired. According to surveys, they leave because of poor working conditions and lack of support and resources. New teachers are typically held in temporary and probationary status for two years or more, ample time for administrators and governing boards to decide if they should gain permanent status. Improving this system depends on quality evaluation procedures developed collaboratively. Yet, Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, introduced a bill that strips teachers of their due process rights in the guise of “reform.” SB 955 seeks to institutionalize favoritism and discrimination by allowing districts to select who is laid off based on unspecified criteria. SB 955 is simply a political assault against the state’s dedicated teachers. California does not have a problem getting rid of teachers — it has a problem keeping teachers.

top: ane Richey

“We’re seeing more students who need invasive interventions like tracheostomy and gastric feedings. They require individualized healthcare plans… yet more than half of California’s school districts have no school nurse at all.”— Pat Christie,

Veteran school nurse Chris Ogawa was laid off from her Aptos school in 2008.

Don’t deny due process


what happens in the hospital setting with the credentialed nurse functioning as a program manager.”

mindy pines


Christie, who also represents California on the AFT Healthcare School Nurse Subcommittee. Conservative legislators continue to introduce legislation that would put children at risk by allowing noncertified “volunteers” to administer potentially dangerous medications

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such as insulin to diabetics and Diastat to children with epilepsy. Diastat is given by inserting a plastic syringe with a premeasured dose into the child’s rectum during a seizure. Currently, state law prohibits the administration of such medications by non-licensed personnel. Knowing when to administer these medications takes special training and assessment skills that are difficult to teach someone with no medical training, according to Christie. If administered incorrectly, there can be serious consequences. At the CFT Convention, the union resolved to support legislation that would “provide the will, the resources, and the mandates to allow all our state and nation’s children and youth access to a school nurse.” The union called for the nationally recommended student-nurse ratio of 750:1.

(LVN) or registered nurse (RN) to every 750 students on campus. It would allow LVNs or RNs from twoyear programs without bachelor degrees to work under the supervision of a credentialed school nurse at a ratio of 5:1. To be credentialed for the schools, nurses need a preliminary credential which requires a bachelor’s degree and a nursing license. For a clear credential they need coursework in health and education regulations, audiometry certification, and two years experience as a school nurse. “Credentialed school nurses are best prepared to oversee the healthcare of students during the school day,” Christie explains. But she calls AB 2454 “a great step forward,” and says having LVNs and two-year RNs at each campus yet supervised by a credentialed school nurse, is “a lot like

Under Torlakson’s bill, if a student is insured and has an accident, a school nurse would provide care and the district would bill the student’s insurance company for services provided. If the student is uninsured, services would be free. In the long run, this would save insurance companies money because instead of having to send a student to the emergency room, a healthcare professional would care for the child at the school site. Furthermore, AB 2454 would not use funds from Proposition 98, or take money away from the classroom. The bill passed the Assembly Education Committee and has moved to the Appropriations Committee. Torlakson staffers hope they can get the governor to sign the bill that would take effect by 2011. Christie fears that the legislation the Republicans are introducing would put even more students at risk, especially minorities, the poor, and the disenfranchised. — By Mindy Pines, CFT Reporter

Luis Mancina from the El Camino Federation walked in the march.

Many members of the AFT College Staff Guild joined the march.

Classified Compton models union and community coalition-building Local’s efforts offer valuable lessons on internal and external organizing

members have gotten involved. They volunteer during lunch to help with office work. They create and distribute union literature. “Whenever I go to the microphone at school board meetings,” Richie says, “there are always people who come up to stand next to me and show their support.” In the 10-year history of the Compton Council of Classified Employees, Richie is the first president to have been elected for a second term. She attributes this to leading by example. “I can’t ask others to do something if I’m not doing what I ask. People want to help but don’t know how to start. There are a lot of good people out there,” she says. “You just have to help them to take initiative.”

When it comes to bargaining, all units work together and sit at the table. “We will not separate when it comes to layoffs and impact bargaining. We don’t do anything unless the other unions are there.” — Carolyn Richie, Compton

— By Mindy Pines, CFT Reporter velma butler council president

reschedule negotiations. If one union requests bargaining-related information, everyone gets a copy.” When the unions were having problems with the district’s bargaining lawyer, all five union presidents signed a letter to the superintendent and were successful in removing the lawyer. To celebrate this district-wide union culture of solidarity, the unions proposed a District Employee Appreciation Day and cookout, instead of separate classified and teacher appreciation days. It will take place in May. The local’s reach goes beyond the district. Since Compton Unified is the largest employer of Compton residents, Richie says it is essential to develop relationships with community groups. The local contacted different community organizations in the city, as well as the Sheriff and Fire Departments, and asked how the

union could help. “It’s important to reach out to everyone, not just union folks,” she says. Richie has developed a good rapport with the local media, which helps ensure the union’s story is covered fairly. The union’s views often appear on, a Facebook-like online resource and interactive social network of more than 500 Compton residents. Last spring, Compton’s newspaper, The Compton Bulletin, ran an article about how the school district was violating the contract regarding negotiations. This garnered community support from parents, elected officials, youth organizations and former board members, and led to the board’s rejection of the district’s proposals. “It’s about strength in numbers,” emphasizes Richie, “and not being in this alone.” Since she was elected local president in the spring of 2008, more


Standing up works! The Council of Classified Employees stood up, spoke out, and killed bad legislation that would have let school employees “volunteer” to administer insulin injections to students. Such volunteering can leave employees vulnerable to retaliation, financial liability, and emotional distress, to name a few consequences. We sympathize with parents who have children with diabetes, but the solution is for a school nurse to administer insulin. (See opposite page) CFT lobbyists worked with the California Nurses Association, the California School Employees Association, the California Labor Federation and others to convince Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Los Angeles, that AB1802 would harm school employees. On April 20, dozens of classified members from K-12 and the community colleges testified at the Capitol. We killed AB1802 by refusing to see the duties of school nurses shift to untrained school employees. Special thanks to those who stood up and made a difference.

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Top: jane hundertmark

jane richey

Speaking up and reaching out come easy for Carolyn Richie. Whether talking to union members, district administrators and school board members, or leaders of other organizations, Richie defends workers, helps them understand what’s in their best interests, and inspires everyone to work together. In the fall of 2008, California Teacher reported how as a new local president, Richie increased her local’s membership by 40 percent through a systematic strategy of approaching targeted non-members and modernizing communications. Since then, the local’s internal organizing successes have been matched by external ones. As president of the Compton Council of Classified Employees, Richie was instrumental in getting all five district unions to work together in a coalition comprising police, supervisors, paraprofessionals, certificated teachers, and the members of AFT Local 6119 — campus security, clerical, trades, and food service workers. “The coalition is fantastic,” she says. “Organizing around our common interests has been great for everyone.” Within the last year, the coalition got the board of Compton Unified School District to table all management proposals regarding layoffs, including 60 AFT members targeted for termination. The Personnel Commission accepted the union plan for administrative reorganization instead of the district administration’s plan because it showed greater cost savings while affecting fewer employees. Three out of four of the union’s school board endorsees were elected, and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor endorsed the local’s candidates. When it comes to bargaining, all units work together and sit at the table. “We will not separate when it comes to layoffs and impact bargaining. We don’t do anything unless the other unions are there.” Richie adds, “If one union can’t attend, we


Pete Virgadamo leads the Part-Time Faculty United, College of the Canyons.

Community College Thorny overload teaching issue elicits impassioned debate Delegates pass resolution in favor of restricting full-time overload assignments The Wobblies used to say “An injury to one is an injury to all.” The old slogan has served unions well over the years, but there are some issues that test their solidarity. For example, the interests of full-time and part-time college faculty are sometimes hard to bridge. This divergence played out in an impassioned discussion on the floor of the CFT Convention in March when Resolution 20 proposed limiting overload assignments for fulltime faculty at a single college to “no more than 0.8 overload per academic year.” According to the resolution’s authors, the intent is to limit a fulltime faculty member whose regular load is 15 hours to a total of 12 hours of overload during the course of a


year, including summer and winter sessions. In other words, a full-time faculty member who teaches two 3-unit overload classes in the fall and spring semesters would not be eligible for summer or winter intersession assignments. When the resolution hit the floor, speakers lined up at the microphones, and a volley of positions

to set overload limits. Catherine Brewer, an adjunct from Oakland’s Peralta Federation of Teachers said, “In my department, only one teacher is full-time and there are three part-timers. The fulltimer teaches so much overload that the part-timers don’t get classes.” After the vote, Virgadamo said the situation was exacerbated in the

tive to quickly cast it as CFT policy. He opposed the measure on the grounds that the problem is better solved within each district. “A lot of full-time faculty question the wisdom of full-timers teaching excessive assignments during the spring and fall semesters,” Friedlander said after the vote, “but summer and winter sessions are a separate issue.” Another delegate, Heidi Preschler, Speakers lined up at the microphones, and a volley of positions from full-timers and part-timers ensued until debate closed.

carl friedlander council president

top: jane richey

2010-11 will be Year 2 of California’s deep fiscal funk. We’ve got a full fight card in front of us: more state revenue and federal assistance, the defeat of Megabucks Whitman, passage of initiatives for Majority Vote on the budget and to roll back last year’s corporate tax giveaways, defense of defined benefit pensions, real regulation of the sleazy for-profit colleges and universities, and the preservation of community college access. That’s the “big picture,” but we need to stay focused on our core community college union issues as well: protecting the full-time faculty core and making real progress toward equity and dignity for part-time faculty. Without a unified agenda for full-time and part-time faculty on the staffing and equity goals, we will not only suffer permanent setbacks in those fights, but also increase the chances of losing some of the critical “big picture” fights as well.


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from full-timers and part-timers ensued until debate closed. Adjuncts spoke passionately in favor of Resolution 20. Pete Virgadamo, acting president of Part-Time Faculty United at College of the Canyons, a two-campus district in Santa Clarita, acknowledged that overload was a divisive issue but said a statewide solution was needed. His local has been trying to negotiate this issue for years, but one fulltimer took a 30-unit load despite its efforts. Virgadamo said his department chair, a full-timer, determines class assignments, and that teaching a double load bumps between two and five adjunct faculty. Rob Collins, also from Local 6262, said half the district’s part-timers are getting cut and not being rehired. He urged delegates to pass the resolution and supported statewide legislation

jane richey

Challenging year ahead

Santa Clarita district because fulltime and part-time faculty are represented by different unions and teaching assignments have long been disputed.

president of Antelope Valley College Federation of Teachers, added, “I think there’s a very real problem but this resolution doesn’t solve the problem. It’s unfair to limit the work

“In my department, only one teacher is full-time and there are three part-timers. The full-timer teaches so much overload that the part-timers don’t get classes.” — Catherine Brewer, Peralta Federation of Teachers

Speaking in opposition to Resolution 20 was Carl Friedlander, president of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, as well as leader of the CFT Community College Council. He agreed overload is a legitimate issue and that tensions have mounted with state budget cutbacks, but termed it too delicate and sensi-

of full-time faculty and not require part-time faculty to declare their full-time work elsewhere.” When debate closed and the microphones cooled down, Resolution 20 passed with a voice vote and, to dispel any doubt, there was also a show-of-hands vote. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

UCLA’s Kent Wong talks about his book Underground Undergrads.

University UC-AFT proposes alternative vision of university’s future Union focuses on student access and affordability, quality of instruction tem, so students have 30 percent less time to learn important subject matter. Moving classes to the 6-week summer session makes learning more difficult. Instead campuses should hold more classes at night and other times.

Since many faculty, students, and workers are unhappy with the initial recommendations coming out of the Gould Commission on the Future of the University, UC-AFT is advocating for an alternative commission to promote access, affordability and quality for the University of California. This vision would increase enrollments, decrease fees, and improve the quality of instruction, research, and service. Following are 10 principles from the UC-AFT Alternative Commission.


Stop the push for online instruction Most online programs result in higher costs and lower retention rates. For UC to be respected for its quality of instruction, it cannot compel students take classes online just to save money.


Reduce the number of administrators The Commission is considering reducing administrative costs, but this is a slow and difficult process. A simpler strategy would require each administrative unit to reduce its budget by 5-10 percent each year to motivate cost savings.


Stop exploiting graduate students Graduate students cost four times more than undergrads to educate, and only half those who start Ph.D. programs actually get degrees within 10 years. Moreover, only half those who do earn doctorates and pursue academic jobs get tenure-track positions. Of this group, less than a third land positions at research universities. This means that most grad students are really being used as cheap labor. We should fully fund doctoral students through grants and limit how much they teach.

UC Santa Cruz librarian Frank Gravier made his voice heard on the March 4 Day of Action.


Increase the number of small, interactive classes Many universities consider that the most effective teaching occurs in their Honors Programs, where students are taught in small, interactive classes by expert faculty members. The UC administration believes it is cheaper to have large lecture classes. However, large lecture classes are often more expensive than small seminars due to the cost of the small accompanying sections taught by graduate students.

Make your voice heard! UC President Mark Yudof formed a commission in July 2009 headed by himself and Regents Chair Russell Gould to investigate ways of transforming the university. The first round of recommendations from the Gould Commission on the Future of the University was released in March, but the Commission continues to develop and analyze recommendations. Let your opinion be heard! Public comments can be submitted at ucfuture.


Allow research professors not to teach Many research professors use external grants to buy out of their teaching duties each year, yet UC clings to the idea that everyone should teach and do research. Instead of forcing ineffective or unmotivated professors into the classroom, professors should have the option of being evaluated and promoted solely based on their research.


Provide job security for instructors The recent move to lay off hundreds of non-tenured lecturers shows that the university needs to provide permanent funding for instructors who have a proven record of excellent teaching. UC should create a class of instructional professors, fortifying the university’s commitment to undergraduate education.


Resist the move to summer instruction In a semester system, classes last at least 15 weeks, but most UC campuses use the 10-week quarter sys-

Make sure research pays for itself Many external research grants lose money and the university should bargain for higher rates. UC must undertake a comprehensive study of research costs and subsidies.


Stop using external money managers Until 2000, the UC handled its own investments, saving money and producing stronger returns. Outside money managers charge huge fees, and can undermine diversity in the UC portfolio. Furthermore, placing more faculty and workers on the pension board will deter the university from investing in the private interests of the individual regents. While the Gould Commission also advocates that the state fund the university at a higher level, it offers no specifics. The university should support taxing oil extraction to fund higher education. To raise revenue, the state must move to a simple legislative majority vote on taxes and the budget. — By Bob Samuels

Bob Samuels is a writing instructor at UCLA and president of the University Council-AFT.

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allison guevara

 rovide more, not less, P  opportunity for students The cost of educating undergraduates has decreased dramatically since the university increased its reliance on relatively inexpensive non-tenured faculty, while class sizes have grown and the faculty-to-student ratio has gone up. Since campuses now turn a profit on each student, we can improve access and affordability by enrolling more students at lower fee levels.


You are the union…

Local Wire

Reporting Local Action Around the State

out en masse at a meeting of the trustees, and brought in the media. As a result, the trustees did not eliminate this important program that serves the Central Valley city of Madera, although it was scaled back.

kim turner

Local 4008

Local 1021

What 2,826 layoffs look like… In a powerful display of the impact of pink slips, United Teachers Los Angeles lined up nearly 3,000 chairs on March 15, shutting down the entire city block in front L.A. Unified district offices. Each chair represented a teacher or health and human services professional who received a pink slip, and stood for the five extra students who will be packed into each classroom. Pink-slipped members took to the microphone. Sunny Brae Elementary

teacher Trinidad Hernandez struggled to hold back her tears. “After six years of being dedicated to my job, 180 days a year, with paper and supplies or not, they are going to tell me I cannot teach? They’ve given me a job to do and I have done magic with it.” Local 6180

Adult educators turn up heat… When the Madera Adult Educators learned that the school board was planning to eliminate the adult education program entirely, members staged a protest in a city park, turned

Pink Hearts,

Not Pink Slips

center: patricia coble

By the end of this school year, AFT estimates that as many as 300,000 teachers and school support staff will receive pink slips across the country. Many working in higher education will not be rehired. AFT knows educators put heart and soul into their work, and every day they make a real difference in the lives of children. “Educators need Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips” says AFT in its new campaign that encourages everyone to wear pink hearts to acknowledge the important contributions of educators. Budgets may be tightening, but students need educators in the classroom, not in unemployment lines. Our government didn’t walk away from Wall Street. We should demand no less from the government when it comes to saving our children’s future. >Visit to voice support for federal legislation that will provide $23 billion to help school districts avoid layoffs and cuts in vital services for children. You can also download flyers, logos, t-shirt transfers and order buttons.


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Retiree says be counted…Bob Coble, a retired teacher and member of the North Monterey Federation of Teachers, joined the U.S. Census 2010 team on April 1 to follow up with people who did not respond. “If you returned your census form last month, you should not see someone like me at your front door.” Coble said the percentage of federal grants a state gets is often based on the census. “California already receives less money from the feds than it sends through income and other taxes,” he explained. “As of now, California stands to lose because of the high percentage of non-responses. We could also lose a seat or two in the House of Representatives if people fail to be counted.” >Help California get the federal funds it deserves, fill out and return your census form! Local 61

Putting our children first… The United Educators of San Francisco launched a media campaign to fight layoffs and district takebacks. One paraprofessional, Janet Eberhardt, spoke at the CFT Convention about what it’s like to get a pink slip. “I have gone through this before. When my principal told me my position was no longer funded, I pulled on my union strength. Yes, I am underpaid, but money does not define me. I am a child activist. I know I have made a difference in the lives of children. ”

Rank & Files Peter Nichols, a member of the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, Local 1936, co-produces a community television show, TeacherSpeakOut, with the union. The latest episode examines the loss of adult education in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties with a roundtable discussion among local adult teachers. Watch it at Anthony Barcellos, a math instructor at American River College, member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, Local 2279, and former staffer in the California Senate maintains a blog about the late Senator Al Rodda, author of the collective bargaining law for K-14 teachers and classified employees. (See page 11) Go to

Russell Hill, retired high school English teacher, former editor of California Teacher, and author from the Tamalpais Federation of Teachers, Local 1985, was one of five nominees for “Original Paperback” in the prestigious Edgar Awards, presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America. His novel, The Lord God Bird, is about the search for the once-extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Aaron Braxton, a Los Angeles teacher, member of United Teachers of Los Angeles, Local 1021, and performer of Did You Do Your Homework? won the Gala Star Award for the Best Overall Show at the International Teatrul Bacovia One-Man Theatre Festival in Bacau, Romania. The show, with its message of “greatness within you,” will reopen in July at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood.

Hene Kelly, member of United Educators of San Francisco, Local 61, chair of the CFT Retirement Committee, and officer of the California Association of Retired Americans was honored as a “Woman Making History” by the city of San Francisco. During 35 years of teaching, Kelly received numerous awards.

California Teacher, April - May 2010  

CFT Leads Historic March

California Teacher, April - May 2010  

CFT Leads Historic March