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THE VOICE OF THE UNION

CaliforniaTeacher

November b December 2010 Volume 64, Number 2 

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

Majority Rules! Prop. 25 wins big

Catholic teachers proud to be union

School reform built on faulty logic

Colleges fight for the DREAM

The history of a brave movement PAGES 8 AND 9

Debunking decades of falsehoods PAGE 12

Students face unfair deportation PAGE 14


CaliforniaTeacher

In this issue

UpFront

All-Union News 3 General Election 4 Around CFT 11 Pre-K and K-12 12

Classified 13 Community College 14 University 15 Local Wire 16

  Marty Hittelman, CFT President

CFT election victories mark a milestone in our union’s Fight for California’s Future

As part of our new media campaign we will join with our allies to put out the message that our work is critical, and that a fair tax system is an avenue to a civilized and prosperous society.

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ON THE COVER CFT members took a break from Prop. 25 campaigning to support Jerry Brown in Salinas the day before he was elected governor. Left to right: Francisco Rodriquez, president of Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, Pat Lerman, CFT field representative, Kyle Samuels, co-president of Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers, Patty Cox, CFT research specialist, Jake Parent, campaign field organizer, Tom Roberson, substitute teacher member of Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers, and Robert Chacanaca, president of Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees.

THE NOVEMBER 2 election was a true CFT success story. Driven by labor’s on-the-ground campaign, our measure to change passage of the state budget from a two-thirds to a majority vote passed with 55 percent of the vote. With AFT’s help, we were the major funders of the Proposition 25 campaign. The CFT helped push the measure’s signature-gathering campaign beyond 1 million, an important first step in moving California toward more reasonable budget making. CFT-endorsed candidates won all the statewide races from governor and U.S. senator on down the ballot. Our candidates for state Assembly and Senate were, for the most part, also elected. So why isn’t our future rosy? Why won’t schools instantly be rewarded for our members’ active participation in the election victories? The number one obstacle to future growth in educational opportunity is a state budget deficit predicted to be $25 billion over the next 18 months. Just as we began our Fight for California’s Future with a successful march up the Central Valley, next year we plan to begin this fight by launching a public media campaign to

PHOTO BY SHARON BEALS

increase public and legislative recognition of the contribution that public employees, including school and college employees, make in providing a better quality of life for Californians. As part of our new media campaign we will join with our allies to send the message that a fair tax system is an avenue to a civilized and prosperous society. We will be speaking to the value of a quality education made available to all. We will be addressing issues in healthcare, social services, state infrastructure, and public protections that are needed to produce healthy and productive members of society. By budget time in May, we will have laid groundwork so revenue enhancements will be a serious component of the 2011-12 state budget. We will then continue our program of educating and advocating into the 2012 election to address other structural budget problems. While we understand that our problems will not be solved in a day, we will not simply stand by without engaging in the Fight for California’s Future. The CFT will be successful in these efforts if our members and allies are active in moving our agenda forward.

We contributed mightily to the union effort to get labor’s vote out. Now we need to reach out to our community allies who depend on quality schools for the education of their families. We need to find common ground on their other pressing issues as well. The battles this year will be as tough as any we have seen — statewide and at the worksite. Self-proclaimed experts on school reform will continue to attack our members and our unions. Calls will continue for the firing of teachers, for the dismantling of our pension programs, and for turning education into lockstepped madness. We must resist the easy answers that trivialize education. We must work together to improve what we can even under our currently poor working conditions. And we must work together to improve working and learning conditions. That is our call. Step up and do your part. Together we can move California forward. In unity,

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.

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PRESIDENT Marty Hittelman

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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, Miki Goral, Marc Houle, Carolyn Ishida, Sharon Johnson, Dennis Kelly, Jim Mahler, Elaine Merriweather, Alissa Messer, Dean Murakami, Joshua Pechthalt, Gary Ravani, Zwi Reznik, Laura Rico, Francisco Rodriguez, Sam Russo, Bob Samuels, Luukia Smith, Rosa María Torres, Kent Wong, David Yancey

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EDITORIAL OFFICE California Federation of Teachers, 1201 Marina Village Pkwy., Suite 115, Alameda, California 94501 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 Email jhundertmark@cft.org Contributors this issue Jim Araby, David Bacon, Kenneth Burt, Velma Butler, Christian Clifford, Patty Cox, Megan Dias, Maurice Englander, Carl Friedlander, Marty Hittelman, Elaine Johnson, Judith Michaels, Mindy Pines, Gary Ravani, Bob Samuels, Margaret Shelleda Graphic Design Kajun Design, Graphic Artists Guild

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CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010


Local 1521A member Dorothy Bates laughs with Assemblyman Mike Eng.

around the union…

All-Union News

Legislative Analyst predicts $25 billion shortfall in state budget Jerry Brown holds unprecedented town-hall style meetings to explain depth of crisis

IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE

the magnitude of the shortfall into perspective, consider that the entire state budget is about $87 billion. The most positive thing that can be said about the LAO’s outlook is that it calls for revenue to be part of the solution. Suggestions from the LAO include looking at tax credits, deductions and exemptions, eliminating those that are not cost-effective; increasing charges for program beneficiaries and extending certain temporary tax increases such as the vehicle license fee. In the final weeks of his adminstration, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency and called the Legislature into yet another Spe-

THE STATE BUDGET cial Session on December 6. He then rolled out previously rejected cuts in health and human services to stem the red ink; again tried to balance a budget by cutting childcare for lowincome workers, reductions in the MediCal Program, and county mental health funding. Brown will present his budget on

Age of kindergarten admission SB 1381 requires children to be five years old by September 1 for admission to kindergarten and provides transitional kindergarten for those children whose entry has been delayed. Private school special ed requirements AB 1742 requires that nonpublic, nonsectarian schools must provide students with disabilities access consistent with an Individualized Education Program. Parental consent for special ed students AB 1841 prohibits a school from providing special education services when a parent or guardian refuses them and removes the requirement that a school file a due process request upon receiving this notification.

— By Patty Cox, CFT Research Specialist

January 1 ushers in new laws for educators

CFT fends off attacks and passes two bills with bipartisan support HIGHER EDUCATION

THE CLOSE OF THE LEGISLATIVE session on August 31 resulted in a host of bills being signed and vetoed. The CFT achieved notable successes this year, not only by ensuring that bills threatening teacher due process and pensions did not reach Governor Schwarzegger’s desk, but also by passing two CFT-sponsored measures with bipartisan support. ACR 138, the Faculty and College Excellence Act, cleared the Legislature, as did AB 211 which requires new K-12 buildings to have security locks that allow doors to rooms with occupancies of five or more persons to be lockable from the inside. (California Teacher, Sept-Oct). Following are the significant education bills that will become law January 1.

K-12 EDUCATION

January 10 to the newly constituted Legislature. Most observers think that little will be accomplished in Schwarzenegger’s special session as legislators wait to hear Brown’s proposals. In the meantime, on December 8, Brown held an unprecedented budget forum for elected officials, and met for nearly two hours with the Education Coalition, including two representatives of CFT, to discuss the budget and the need for educator input on state policies. He plans to convene more town hall-style forums to explain the depth of the budget crisis before taking office January 3.

Whistleblower protection for UC SB 650 overturns the California Supreme Court decision of 2008, which held that a whistleblower employee of UC could not sue for retaliation damages.

Criminal background checks AB 2685 requires the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to send private schools a list of all teachers and administrators with final adverse action taken against their credential.

Chronic truancy becomes misdemeanor SB 1317 enacts a new misdemeanor for parents of chronically truant K-8 children, and authorizes courts to establish a deferred entry of judgment program to handle cases.

Free drinking water in schools SB 1413 requires districts to provide access to free, fresh drinking water by January 1, 2012.

Early warning of at-risk students SB 1357 requires the Department of Education, contingent upon federal funding, to include data on student absences in the CALPADS to identify and support individuals who are at risk of academic failure or of dropping out.

Streamlines interdistrict application AB 2444 requires that districts allow interdistrict transfer students to continue to attend the school in which they are enrolled, rather than requiring the student to reapply.

CLASSIFIED

Freedom of speech and of the press SB 438 clarifies that charter schools must obey the same laws regarding free speech as those applicable to public high schools.

Service credit for mandatory furloughs AB 1651 gives classified subject to mandatory furloughs the same retirement service credit they would have received otherwise.

Community college student completion SB 1143 directs the Board of Governors to convene a task force to examine best practices and national models for improving student completion. (See page 14) Fast track for health care professionals AB 2385 requires establishment of a pilot accelerated healthcare program at five colleges, reducing completion to 18 months or less. Streamlined student transfer SB 1440 streamlines transfer to the CSU and AB 2302 affects academic majors at UC. — By Judith Michaels, CFT Legislative Director

On the Web >To download the complete report, go to cft.org> Resources>Legislative and

TOP: BOB RIHA JR

CALIFORNIANS WAITED 100 days for an overdue budget that was balanced with what we knew were overly optimistic assumptions. The November election made those assumptions even more unrealistic with the defeat of California tax extensions (Prop. 24), elimination of the ability of the state to use a majority vote to raise fees (Prop. 26) or use certain local funds (Prop. 22), and the election of deficit hawks to Congress. The Legislative Analyst’s Office projected a budget shortfall of $25 billion over the next 18 months. Governor-elect Jerry Brown increased that projection to $28 billion. To put

click on 2010 Adopted Legislative Report.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 CALIFORNIA TEACHER

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General Election

SHARON BEALS

2010

Morgan Hill teachers walked, talked and texted to help pass Prop. 25. Standing, left to right: Tracy Caruana, Andrea Kusanovich, Mary Alice Callahan, Donna Ruebusch, Jeanie Wallace, Courtney Macko, Terri Eves Knudsen. Seated: Jeff Bernstein, Theresa Sage, Steve Spencer, and Zann Yates.

CFT MEMBERS MAKE COURTESY LOCAL 1931

budget gridlock. CFT volunteers led the union and its community-based allies to gather the million signatures required to get on the November ballot. Many said that Proposition 25 would never pass. Others said it did not make sense to pursue a majority budget vote without trying to also change the twothirds vote required to raise revenue. But CFT polling indicated the public still needed much convincing to change the two-thirds vote required to pass taxes. The results of Proposi-

tion 26 confirmed that. (See right) So CFT focused on its clear, achievable goal, even when big money from a small but powerful group of donors poured in to oppose Proposition 25. And when billionaire Meg Whitman self-funded her run for governor and made anti-union rhetoric a major part of her platform, union members knew there was no way they could match Whitman dollar for dollar. But what the union lacked in money, it more than made up for with on-the-ground action. CFT and AFT invested time, money, and people in a coordinated field camBOB RIHA JR

T

he members and leaders of CFT see that California’s education system, and our jobs, are placed at grave risk by a faltering economy, chronic late state budgets, and a paralyzed political process. On November 2, the rest of California agreed with us.

Member precinct walkers in San Diego stumped for Prop. 25 and college board candidates in nearby Grossmont-Cuyamaca.

Voters passed Proposition 25, changing state budget approval to a majority, ending the tyranny of a two-thirds vote and the partisan groups that benefit from a revenuestarved government. It started this spring with the union organizing the March for California’s Future, when six union members led thousands of unionists, together with many community-based organizations, on a 365-mile walk up the Central Valley to tell the story of what funding cuts mean to schools, colleges, and other public services. Building on the success of the march, CFT and its many march allies set a goal of fixing Sacramento’s annual

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Outreach to the campus community at El Camino College in Torrance worked. Philosophy instructor Elizabeth Shadish, also president of the faculty union, reaches out to students.

CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

paign that blanketed California. Fifty organizers went to work full-time in local unions throughout the state. In turn, those local unions released members to work on the election. Member leaders mobilized other members to get involved. In Northern California, Daly City teacher Leah Sugarman from the Jefferson Elementary Federation worked one day and volunteered four more days a week to coordinate phonebanking, precinct walking and laborto-labor outreach in San Mateo County. United Educators of San Francisco released its political director Ken Tray to coordinate action in San Francisco and the North Bay. Local 2121 San Francisco City College faculty members Mark Piper and Galina Gasminova were released half time to visit worksites and organize phonebanks three days a week. They had one-to-one dialogues with more than half of their local members about Proposition 25. The Morgan Hill Federation phoned and texted members. At their phonebanks, volunteer teachers who had just finished at work feasted on food cooked during the day by retired teacher Loritta Johnson. Further south, instructor Linda Torres worked 20 hours a week in Ventura County to recruit volunteers and work with members on the Central Coast. The 48,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles had 20 full-time organizers visiting 800 worksites throughout the city. They worked with


JANE HUNDERTMARK

COURTESY LOCAL 3267

Elementary teacher and organizer Leah Sugarman, center, with her Daly City colleagues.

The passage of Proposition 25 will help make California a working state

Lorraine Zapata and Cynthia Noriega, early childhood educators and campaign organizers from Local 1475 in Los Angeles.

LOA N DAO

the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor to call union members and walk precincts on Saturdays. UTLA talked with 10,000 of its members. The Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees held phonebank parties in their homes, often using mobile phones. When local unions pulled together four or more volunteers at one location, CFT provided cell phones and member lists. The classified members from El Camino College and the Los Angeles Colleges also used the “phonebank in a box” approach.

Four organizers worked with the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild to talk to the local’s 5,000 members and identify support for Prop. 25 and Jerry Brown. They recruited faculty to volunteer for mobile phonebanks at campus sites. Local 1521 doubled voluntary contributions to its COPE fund, giving the union more strength in its coming elections for board trustees. Part of Local 1521’s success was

the involvement of students from its ongoing student organizing project, inspiring faculty to get more involved with the union. In Orange County, retired teacher Steve Nelson from the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers and staffer Neal Kelsey from Coast Classified Employees worked together to turn out CFT members. Jim Miller, faculty member of the San Diego AFT College Guild, coordinated the efforts of his local and organized the nearby Palomar and Poway local unions to phonebank with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Central Labor Council. Throughout the campaign, CFT member-volunteers worked 1,300 shifts and had 18,000 conversations with their colleagues. Early childhood workers in Los Angeles talked to community college faculty in Sacramento, high school teachers in Oxnard asked members in Mendocino County to vote. Through these coordinated efforts, CFT members helped elect Jerry Brown governor and pass Proposition 25. CFT members led by example all year, whether it was marching in the Central Valley, contributing to a local COPE campaign for the first time in Oxnard, or lobbying legislators about the budget in Orange County. Many stepped up to participate for the first time. CFT members can be justifiably proud for not standing idly by as

SHARON BEALS

THE DIFFERENCE

CFT supported San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris in her successful bid for state attorney general. Harris becomes the first minority woman elected to hold a constitutional office.

California sinks ever deeper into crisis. At the end of the year, California finally requires only a majority vote to pass a state budget and Jerry Brown is governor.

Yet challenges abound, from shrinking budgets to escalating healthcare costs, from divisive pension reform efforts to phony education reform. — By Jim Araby, Statewide Political Organizer

Passage of Proposition 26 will hurt us all Voters ended the unneeded two-thirds vote for state budget passage, but in a step backward, added new two-thirds vote requirements by passing Prop. 26. It treats a wide variety of state, county and municipal fees as taxes, thus requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The change is expected to have the greatest impact in Sacramento, where it can empower a minority to bring public protections to a halt. It allows funds from education and other public services to pay for damage caused by irresponsible industries. Analysts say people who voted for 26 probably didn’t understand that it was corporate taxes, not their own, that would be held in check by the law. The good news is, between the confused message voters sent and the overly broad definitions of taxes and fees in the proposition, there’s a good chance Prop. 26 will get thrown out in court.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 CALIFORNIA TEACHER 5


General Election

2010

Sylvia Trueba, a classified account clerk, left and Linda Torres, an interpreter for the deaf and volunteer coordinator for the union, right, hold signs promoting their candidates for school board as spectators arrive to the football game at Hueneme High on October 22.

EDUCATORS SCORE

F

JANE HUNDERTMARK

or the 150 volunteers gathered outside the downtown office of the Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees the Saturday morning before the November election, the venue underscored the centrality of the local school board election for the combined labor and Democratic Party’s get-out-the-vote operation. Congresswoman Lois Capps addressed the volunteers who were there to distribute door hangers with a union-endorsed slate—from governor to school board—on supporters’ doors. She thanked the educators and other activists for their commitment, as did a bevy of labor leaders, includ-

Colondra Hawkins and Ken Roberts, classified employees in the Los Angeles Community Colleges, say “Yes to Jerry Brown!”

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ing CFT President Marty Hittelman. And though the highly motivated activists were focused on the governor’s race and the high-profile propositions, especially Proposition 25, they knew that the financial and policy decisions of concern to educators are made both in Sacramento and by local governing boards. And in the case of the bonds and parcel taxes so important to funding education, by local voters. Oxnard teachers and classified employees had long chafed under the district’s failed leadership so bad that a number of parents placed a measure on the ballot two years ago that would have split the district. At the urging of local president Jim Rose, the union decided that reform was critical this year. They undertook a systematic approach to change the existing board majority. They strengthened the local’s political action committee, approached members for payroll donations for political action, and undertook a membership outreach program. Good candidate recruitment was essential. So, with the political committee making recommendations to the union’s executive board for approval, the union board endorsed two newcomers to the school board, retired teacher and administrator Wayne Edmonds and businessman John Alamillo. The union also backed one of the three incumbents, Socorro

CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

JANE HUNDERTMARK

Down-ticket wins prove “all politics are local”

Julie Searle, a humanities teacher at MLK Middle School, walked precincts on a rainy Saturday to urge Berkeley voters to pass parcel tax Measures H & I. Both measures passed.

Lopez Hanson—whom they had first recruited to run for the board eight years earlier. The Tri-Counties Central Labor Council endorsed all three. The candidates and their supporters then embarked on a threepronged strategy. The candidates ran their individual campaigns, the labor council included the three candidates in their member-to-member calls, and the educators’ union sent out multiple mailers urging voters to support the candidates. When the election returns were tallied, the results were overwhelming. Voters retained the educator-

supported incumbent, Lopez Hanson, and replaced the other two office holders with the union-backed challengers, Edmonds and Alamillo. The victory in Oxnard represented a model of activism and sophisticated electioneering that occurred throughout the state as educators mobilized around state and local concerns. AFT local unions demonstrated the power of comprehensive campaign planning, member organizing, and building community coalitions. From north to south… The Berkeley Federation of Teachers elected three school board members


JANE HUNDERTMARK

JANE HUNDERTMARK

STEPHEN OSMAN/VUALL.COM

COURTESY LOCAL 2121

Elvira Ebala, a fifth grade teacher at Bessie Carmichael Elemetary, signed to defeat Measure B in San Francisco, a mean-spirited attack on pensions and healthcare.

Barbara Shaw, an ESL instructor at City College, gets out the vote, with company.

Paraprofessional Roberto Michel greets morning commuters at the BART station.

HOMETOWN VICTORIES

Mary Lavalais, center, enjoyed an unexpected reunion with one of her former students while walking precincts. Lavalas and Diane Johnson, left, are paraprofessionals in San Francisco.

In Santa Cruz County, the Cabrillo Federation of Teachers helped elect Donna Ziel to its college board, and reelect Alan Smith. Educators also won in areas where local unions did not have a long his-

tory of political activity. In San Luis Obispo, the faculty and classified locals at Cuesta College helped elect Charlette Alexander in this conservative central California coastal community. The State Center Federation of Teachers in Fresno County successfully backed Ron Nishinaka who won by a razor-thin margin. The Ventura County Federation of College Teachers helped elect Diane McKay. The faculty and classified locals at Coast Community College won one of their two races, helping to reelect Jim Morino. In a relatively conservative region, the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers defeated an incumbent and added a

— By Kenneth Burt, CFT Political Director

STEPHEN OSMAN/VUALL.COM

of Teachers, in southern Santa Clara County, won four board races, helping to elect Ron Wolf, Shelle Thomas, Don Moody and Claudia Rossi.

Combined with the election of Governor Brown and the passage of Proposition 25, these local electoral victories demonstrate anew the ability of educators to shape their profession and larger civic culture. The San Jose/Evergreen Faculty Association helped pass Measure G, to upgrade job training classrooms and related technology, and won one of two trustee races, electing Maria Fuentes. The Morgan Hill Federation

fresh face to the school board when it successfully backed Katrina Foley and Judy Franco for school board. In the inland San Diego County town of San Marcos, the faculty and classified unions at Palomar College elected Paul McNamara. The AFT Guild, representing the San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Districts, elected Edwin Hiel and Debbie Justeson to the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Board of Trustees. These extraordinary election results underscore the power of local unions when they partner with state and national organizations to achieve a broad activist vision. Combined with the election of Governor Brown and the passage of Proposition 25, these local electoral victories demonstrate anew the ability of educators to shape their profession and larger civic culture.

JANE HUNDERTMARK

— Karen Hemphill, Josh Daniels, and Leah Wilson — and passed Measure H to renew their current maintenance parcel tax, and Measure I, to address facilities and technology needs. Across the bay, the United Educators of San Francisco elected three school board members — Hydra Mendoza, Kim-Shree Maufas, and Emily Murase. The merged local worked with both CFT and CTA and the San Francisco Community College Federation of Teachers to help defeat Measure B, which would have increased employee contributions to healthcare and retirement. The Sacramento-based Los Rios College Federation of Teachers elected two trustees: Dustin Johnson and Robert Jones. In rural Sacramento County, the Galt Federation of Certified and Classified Employees won two out of three school board candidates: Mark Beck and Angela DaPrato.

Oxnard educators support their candidates.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 CALIFORNIA TEACHER

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STRUGGLE FOR DIGNITY

How teachers at Catholic scho

Teachers strike for recognition During the 1960s, teachers in the San Francisco diocesan high schools began to voice opposition to being

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treated as if they were clergy who had taken a vow of poverty. They formed the Lay Teachers Association in June 1967. Within a year the new movement morphed into the Secondary Teachers Association with its constitution signed on June 12, 1968. Contract negotiations with church officials began in January 1971, with the Teachers Association asking for a 12 percent raise over three years and the Archdiocese offering 8 percent. Frustrations boiled over in early November. Members rejected the offer and then voted to strike on November 15. The strike soon saw emotions escalate. Twenty-two teachers held a sit-in at the Chancery in San Francisco on December 2, and all were arrested. Twelve chose jail time (four days would be served), while 10 others accepted police citations. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, all were lay teachers but one — James

Gallagher, an AFT representative, who was locked up for what the Association President Jerry Killian called “a matter of conscience.” The 24-day strike ended December 9, with teachers accepting a 10 percent raise over three years. The Chronicle quoted Killian as saying, “Both sides compromised… teachers voted to end

ers turned to deciding who would represent them as their voice into the future. The teachers had two groups speaking for them — the CFT, a traditional labor union, and the Secondary Teachers Association, the independent professional association. Under an agreement between the Association and the Archdiocese, a

The San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation stands alone as the only union in a Catholic secondary system west of the Mississippi whose faculty is affiliated with a national labor union. the strike because they were hurting financially after 31⁄2 weeks, because they wanted to get back to classes and because they felt they had created a base to get further improvements.” As teacher representatives were formally recognized, and tempers cooled, the discussion among teachCOURTESY LOCAL 2240

T

he educational system in the Catholic Church has been firmly in place for hundreds of years and the story of people challenging that system dates at least from the 12th century founding of the universities of Bologna and Salerno. But our brief history begins closer to the present day with what Nick Bridger, former president of the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers, affectionately referred to in a letter to California Teacher as “our brave little Catholic school union.” The struggle to be recognized as dedicated professionals sharing financial parity with their public school counterparts began in times of great change, shortly after the Second Vatican Council ended and the Civil Rights Act had become U.S. law. For many teachers, motivation stemmed from the Catholic Church’s teaching on the dignity and rights of the worker coupled with the drive to make their schools better. Though it came at a cost, their struggle was not in vain. Built on a proud tradition, today the Archdiocesan Federation is a group of professionals with a shared vision of a brighter future for the Catholic high school communities we serve. We walk in the footsteps of those who helped us arrive at where we are today. This history is dedicated to those courageous men and women.

Teachers strike in December 1971 at Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo. This photo was published in the student newspaper, Serra Friar. The strike for recognition lasted 24 days.

CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

secret ballot vote was held January 18, 1972. In the end, 79 teachers sided with the Association and 81 with the CFT. The close vote reflected some teachers’ viewpoint that CFT philosophy was not consistent with private Catholic education. Nonetheless, on March 6, the collective bargaining agreement between the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2240, was signed. Nick Bridger, a leader for 18 years in the Archdiocesan Federation, put the historic agreement in perspective when he told the California Teacher, “Because of the strength of our local union and its collective bargaining agreement, which included strong tenure and grievance provisions (notably binding arbitration), my career as an educator included respect, professional development and use of a wide range of teaching skills in enriched, healthy and balanced educational settings.” Placing the victory in larger con-


Member schools today

By Christian Clifford

bM  arin Catholic High School Kentfield

b J unípero Serra High School San Mateo

b S acred Heart Cathedral Preparatory San Francisco

bA  rchbishop Mitty High School San José

bA  rchbishop Riordan High School San Francisco

ols built their unions against all odds

Power spreads to Jesuit university Influenced by this success, elected faculty representatives at the nearby University of San Francisco, a Jesuit school, called for a meeting with the university president in the fall of 1975. He scoffed at their requests. In a hasty election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, faculty voted 155-48 in favor of the union. The University of San Francisco Faculty Association, AFT Local 4269, was founded, and began bargaining its first contract in November. Elliot Neaman, current president of the Faculty Association, said, “I think the main thing that Catholic schools, indeed all schools, are missing when they are not unionized, is leverage. We have a contract which clearly states the rights of the administration and the rights of the faculty. When those rights are violated, we have powerful tools to address them.”

An English class at Archbishop Riordan High School was pictured in the former city newspaper Call-Bulletin in the 1950s. Riordan High today, pictured on top, is still a school for young men.

Success and failure in the south At the same time University of San Francisco faculty began exercising their newly won rights, teachers in one of the largest Catholic school systems in the United States began to empower themselves. In April 1975, an organization of 600 teachers from 26 high schools formed in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, then consisting of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Orange counties. United Catholic Secondary Teachers Association, AFT Local 3448, was founded. Marian Hull, a teacher

at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, was the founding president who went on to become an inspirational leader in CFT. Two years later, United Catholic led a strike that resulted in improved communication between United Catholic and the Chancery. Progress in the Southland was

Catholic school unions today Today, collective bargaining units in Catholic elementary and secondary schools continue to be recognized by church officials in the Archdiocese of New York and dioceses in seven states. Yet in 2005, at Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Michigan, an organizing drive was opposed by church officials who argued First Amendment protections and referred to NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, et al. At Brother Rice, the church, which often bears witness for the cause of labor, was victorious against labor under its own roof. The San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation stands alone as the only union in a Catholic secondary system west of the Mississippi whose faculty is affiliated with a national labor union. For 39 years we have stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in public schools.

Christian Clifford teaches theology at Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo and has been a teacher in the Archdiocese for 14 years. He comes from a family with strong union ties and is president of the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2240.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 CALIFORNIA TEACHER

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CENTER: COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER/SF PUBLIC LIBRARY

short-lived. On March 21, 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its devastating ruling NLRB v. Catholic Bishops of Chicago, et al. In a 5-4 decision, the court said the government may not regulate labor relations in church-operated schools under the First Amendment. Church officials argued they had never recognized United Catholic as the official voice of the teachers. This decision swiftly ended organizing by United Catholic.

text, former CFT Secretary Treasurer Michael Nye explained, “Catholic teachers participated in collective bargaining long before their public school counterparts. Local 2240, the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers, was one of the earliest education collective bargaining units in California, preceded only by private sector AFT locals of film studio teachers and the private Westland School in Los Angeles.” The Archdiocesan Federation won its collective bargaining agreement three years before Governor Jerry Brown in 1975 signed the Educational Employment Relations Act that brought collective bargaining to public school employees.


10 Maxims for Teachers

Former CFT president offers sage advice on teaching and learning THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN PROMISED educational reforms, although based upon false assumptions about teachers and learners. Standardized testing and scripted lessons are proposed substitutes for the teachers’ grades and lesson plans. Neither manifests the slightest understanding of what teachers do or how learners learn. At minimum, this is what teachers do know about learners:

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BY MAURICE ENGLANDER, FORMER PRESIDENT CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS

Not all learners learn at the same rate. California and federal testers mistakenly assume that all learners start from the same place in life and can be goaded or enticed into reaching the same learning goals at the same time.

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As guide to learning, the teacher can show the learner the path, but the learner must walk that path. The teacher can’t do it for him.

2

The learning curve is not a fiction. For some, the climb is too steep. Lacking the will, the intellect, and the sustaining energy, some will never get to the out-ofreach summit.

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As a proposed teacher substitute, the newest fad promotes a process by which a curriculum factory produces a wordfor-word script the teacher must follow. However, a script-reader is not a teacher but an actor pretending to be one. The learner isn’t a passive member of an audience at a performance, but a direct participant in the learning processes. A metronome does not conduct an orchestra nor a script conduct a class.

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College is a means to ends many do not choose for themselves. As herding sheep and goats differs from herding cats, so pointing all learners toward college is a misguided effort to turn reluctant cats into willing sheep.

4

However well devised, tests measure a fraction of what a learner learns or is intended to learn. Often, the most important is the least of what the teacher planned for. There is no single, straight line from what the teacher teaches to what the learner learns.

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LEON ZERNITSKY/IMAGES.COM

In almost all classrooms, the most eager sits next to the most reluctant. Both need and deserve the teacher’s time and attention, but what the teacher can give to each varies from learner to learner. Enough for one might not be enough for another. No teacher can be equally attentive to all.

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If doctors were judged by the percentage they heal or lawyers the percentage of their wins in court, many of the sick would receive no care and many of the innocent would be jailed for lack of a lawyer. If the teacher must be judged by the learner’s performance on standardized tests, fewer of the most able will be willing to teach the least able, until finally there will be none of either in a public school.­

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The most desirable teacherpupil ratio is one-to-one. The more learners per teacher, the more limited the time and attention she or he can give to any one learner. The most demanding are not always the most needy. The most needful are often the least demanding.

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The best teacher in the world can’t reach all learners equally well. Some cannot be reached at all. Neither teachers nor learners come in standard sizes and shapes. Expecting the same results for each on standardized tests is the equivalent of expecting each to tip the scales at the same weight and attain the same height.

Current efforts at school reform are a cover for the legislators’ failure to provide and an excuse to demand more of the schools than the politicians demand of themselves. It is they who must assure that the present generation will add to the foundation upon which future generations can care for themselves as well as earlier folks provided for them. Failure to do so will cripple generations to come. The bottom line is that public school isn’t a frill; it is the most essential contributor to the nation’s future. Without it, there will be no future worth the having.

Maurice Englander was chair of the English department at Lowell High School in San Francisco. He served as president of the then-named California State Federation of Teachers from 1962-63. During his presidency the organization won a number of important legal and legislative victories, including what Englander called “the Magna Carta for teachers,” reversing a decision in which a teacher was fired for hosting educational forums and writing the local newspaper letters critical of the district; and passing the Probationary Teacher Protection Act, which provided for mandatory hearing before dismissal. Englander is retired and lives in San Francisco.

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CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010


Fern Reisner, a classified employee in the Los Angeles Colleges.

Around CFT

YOU CAN LEARN about legal protections for workers under California and federal law in the fourth edition of California Workers’ Rights: A Manual of Job Rights, Protections and Remedies, published by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. Three authors who have been long-time and forceful advocates for workers’ rights revised the book: well-known labor attorneys David A. Rosenfeld, Nina G. Fendel, and Miles Locker, former chief counsel to the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. The new edition reflects substantial changes in content, and updates many topics in which the law has changed. It is highly recommended for stewards, local union officials, and worker advocates. > Order the book at laborcenter. berkeley.edu or send $29.99 to the Labor Center at 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley CA 94720. Discounts are available for bulk orders.

Convention delegates will elect new CFT officers WANT A SUGGESTION for a New local unions and having the right to Year’s resolution? Make plans now to vote. The Convention is the Federaget elected as a delegate to the 2011 tion’s highest policymaking body, CFT Convention where delthat will be egates shape ER. SPEAK OUT! held March union policy STAND UP. STAND TOGETH 18-20 at the and posiManhattan tions on issues Beach affecting our Marriott. members. Resolve now Delegates to contact must be elected your local following the union to learn when legal requireelections for delegates will ments in the AFT be held. and CFT ConThe Convention will elect stitutions and the new CFT officers — President, Secrefederal Landrumtary Treasurer and 24 Vice Presidents. Griffin Act. Under these rules, each CFT President Marty Hittelman has member shall have a reasonable announced that he will not seek reopportunity to be nominated as election to his post and there may be a delegate, and local unions must competition to fill his shoes. mail a notice to members at least 15 The Convention also boasts an days before the election. The elecimpressive line-up of workshops with tions must be held by secret ballot, content for every member. But the the results must be published, and Convention isn’t all work. There’s records must be kept for one year. time for fun as well, with receptions Look for notice of the election in and chances to catch up with old your local union newsletter, or in friends and make new acquaintances. notices sent to you from your union. With the theme “Stand Up, Stand >For more information, download Together, Speak Out,” the Conventhe 2011 Convention Call at cft.org. tion is open to all CFT members, with Contact your local union if you want elected delegates representing their to run as a delegate. 2011 CFT CONVENTION MARCH 18 –20 MANHATTAN BEACH MARRIOTT

California Teacher and 12 Actions booklet win top awards

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Actions to Build Effective Unions

planning Successful program on for local unions charted an academic-year planner

CFT CAPTURED many awards for its publications last year, including the AFT’s prestigious Carl J. Megel Award for the booklet 12 Actions to Build Effective Unions.

In the AFT COMMUNICATORS NETWORK, CFT competes with other state federations or local unions with more than 10,000 members. CARL J. MEGEL AWARD 12 Actions to Build Effective Unions by Dick Hemann and CFT Staff

FIRST General Excellence California Teacher edited by Jane Hundertmark FIRST Best Feature Story “Educators and unions harness the power of online social media tools” by Mindy Pines, CFT Reporter FIRST Best Original Photo or Illustration “Fighting for California’s Future” by John Mattos FIRST Best Single Publication or NonPeriodical “12 Actions to Build Effective Unions” by Dick Hemann and CFT Staff SECOND Best Profile “CFT celebrates 90 years” by CFT staff SECOND Best Layout California Teacher by Kajun Design

THIRD Best Editorial “Feds ‘Race To The Top’ while state funding drops to the bottom” by Gary Ravani

In the INTERNATIONAL LABOR COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION, CFT competes with all international and national labor organizations. FIRST Best Publication Design California Teacher by Kajun Design SECOND Best Illustration “Fighting for California’s Future “by John Mattos THIRD Non-Periodical Publications 12 Actions to Build Effective Unions by Dick Hemann and CFT Staff

Mark your Calendar Strategies for Defending Higher Education, a conference hosted by UC-AFT on January 8, will take place during the convention of the Modern Language Association at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Topics include the death of tenure, the use and abuse of graduate students, organizing contingent faculty, and taking back shared governance. For more information, see page 15. Deadline for high school seniors to submit applications for the CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarships is January 10. Download applications at cft.org. The Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival, a conference that inspires activists to use the creative arts to strengthen our movements will take place January 14-16 at the International Association of Machinists hall in Burlingame near the San Francisco Airport. To learn more, go to www. docspopuli.org/WesternWorkers.html. The CFT will host a Legislative Reception for union members and leaders to meet our elected representatives in the California Legislature on January 24 in Sacramento. Standing Committees of the CFT meet on Saturday, January 29 at Los Angeles Valley College. The Leadership Conference for local union presidents, treasurers, and staff will be held February 7-8 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Burlingame next to the San Francisco Airport. General sessions feature the popular Q&A sessions with attorneys, with new public sector and private sector breakouts. Workshops include Hard Bargaining, Reading School Budgets, Media Messaging, and Charter Schools. Learn more at cft.org. Deadline to submit resolutions to be heard on the floor of CFT Convention is February 4. Learn more at cft.org. The annual CFT Convention will be held March 18-20 at the Manhattan Beach Marriott. To learn how to become a voting delegate, see the story above.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 CALIFORNIA TEACHER

TOP: BOB RIHA JR

Revised California Workers’ Rights manual available

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Pre-K and K-12

Elementary teacher Victoria Leon from United Teachers Los Angeles.

Decades of school “reform” in U.S. based on faulty assumptions Finland and Singapore lead the world in educating their children

TOP: MINDY PINES, CENTER: LISA HANEY/IMAGES.COM

IF THE U.S. SPACE program were based on astrology instead of astronomy, would we have landed on the moon? If the health sciences are based on alchemy instead of chemistry, will we ever find a cure for cancer? Apparently foolish questions, yet the current state of so-called education reform is based on similarly faulty logic. Let’s take a revealing look at the underpinnings of the standards, assessment, and accountability movement that has brought us such legislation as No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top. Both of these federal programs are extensions of a seminal document in the school reform movement called A Nation At Risk. Released in 1983, it reflected the Cold War paranoia of the time, declaring, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.” This created a mindset for much of the public that America’s schools were broken. To justify the conclusions of A Nation At Risk, the U.S. Department of Education in 1990 assigned scientists at Sandia Labs in New Mexico the task of using their huge computers to crunch available test data. The scientists found that test scores had actually gone up for every subgroup. A statistical anomaly had caused the average scores to go down because a larger proportion of students with low but improving scores were taking the tests. Results of this “Sandia Report” were eventually leaked, but

Gary Ravani taught middle school for 35 years and is president of the CFT Early Childhood/K-12 Council. A version of this article was published on the education blog, The Educated Guess.

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garnered little press coverage. When A Nation At Risk was released, the U.S. economy was in a recession and Japan was seen as a competitive threat. The report attributed Japan’s success to superior international test scores. A decade later, the U.S. economy rebounded and Japan’s tanked. Though it has yet to recover economically, Japan main-

tains high test scores. For the past decade, the World Economic Forum has ranked the U.S. economy first in economic competitiveness. Now the United States ranks fourth, yet Education Secretary Arne Duncan insists that countries like Finland and Singapore are “outperforming us.” Neither education nor international test scores are mentioned as reasons for the decline in ranking, though instability in the banking industry is. International tests scores do show Singapore and Finland doing very well, with the United States in the middle of the industrial world rankings. One proposed reason is a dif-

CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

ference in the quality of teachers in these three countries. Yet a comprehensive study done by the Educational Testing Service called How Teachers Compare asserts that U.S.

Finland has its own school success story to tell us. Children begin formal education at age seven with an emphasis on play and interaction. Teachers are highly paid, highly

Singapore is not following the U.S. pattern of NCLBdriven reforms, which are all about increased dependence on repetitive tests and prescribed curriculum. To the contrary, Singapore’s prime minister has said, “We need to pay more attention to PE, to arts, and music…”

teachers compare favorably with any other profession. Singapore’s new school reform effort, called “Blue Sky,” calls for “more quality in terms of classroom interaction, opportunities for expression, the learning of lifelong skills,” and “less quantity in terms of rote learning, repetitive tests, and following prescribed answers…” Singapore is not following the U.S. pattern of NCLB-driven reforms, which are all about increased dependence on repetitive tests and prescribed curriculum. To the contrary, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Shien Loong has said, “We need to pay more attention to PE, to arts, and music…”

autonomous, and highly unionized. National standards are concise, with about 11 pages of math standards, whereas the new U.S. Common Core math standards exceed 90 pages. There are no national standardized tests and no “accountability measures” as we know them. Teaching is a very prestigious profession in Finland and there is no indication they have an interest in data-driven inquisitions to ferret out “bad teachers.” The Finish Ministry of Education and Culture insists school performance is linked to a close attention to social equity issues. The Finnish childhood poverty rate is one of the lowest in the industrialized world and universal, paid parental leave, and seamless social services are a given. In contrast, the United States has a childhood poverty rate that exceeds all industrialized nations except Mexico. Will the United States implement the kind of social safety net found in Finland, or will there be a continued demand for Finland’s test scores but without all the pesky socialism? How badly does the United States want those impressive international test scores? Will such influential school reformers and policymakers in the United States as Arne Duncan and Bill Gates give up their obsession with standardized tests, as has Singapore? It is upon these critical questions that the fate of true education reform turns. — By Gary Ravani


At the annual Classified Conference, there is no shortage of fun.

Classified

Classified celebrate the year’s victories at annual conference Three state legislators talk about Proposition 25 and gridlock in Sacramento WHILE CLASSIFIED employees relived their successful year in the state Legislature and beyond at the annual Classified Conference held October 16-18 in Pasadena, three state legislators shared their views on the budget crisis, the state of affairs in Sacramento, and the importance of Proposition 25. Assemblymember Warren Furutani, D-Long Beach, carried the CFT legislative bill to put a classified on the Community College Consultation Council, the employee group that advises the state chancellor. The bill

Portantino, D-Pasadena, who sits on the Assembly Higher Education Committee, talked about the most expensive state election of all time. Referring to eBay billionaire Meg Whitman, who poured more than $140 million of her own money into her campaign, he quoted “those famous philosophers from England, the Beatles” who sang, “Money can’t buy me love.

school bond measure, they brought in members of the public and talked about how their children would get better educations. “In the end, 68 percent of a Republican city voted to approve the bond. So you bring in the people and tell them how they will benefit from the public expenditure,” he explained. “I say you have to have the public trust before the money.” Reading from the list of what CFT

things, but I would remember the relationships. I want to tell you that I love you all. I love what you stand for. You have helped me come to the truth many times.” — By Jane Hundertmark, Editor

…and the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees.

From the Central Valley, the Turlock Classified AFT…

became moot when, in a significant victory, Chancellor Jack Scott unilaterally announced that the seat would be held by a classified member of CFT. (California Teacher, Sept-Oct) That success, and passage of the CFT bill that requires security locks on classroom doors in new K-12 facilities, were significant victories benefiting classified employees. Bills that would have hurt classifieds and paras, such as forcing employees Warren Furutani to give students Diastat injections, were defeated. Retirement benefits for current and future classified employees in CalPERS will remain intact, despite a budget deal that creates a two-tier system for other workers in CalPERS who will now pay more of their salaries into their retirement. The November election dominated the political speeches. Anthony

Anthony Portantino

Mike Eng

ing that year’s budget crisis. “I asked, ‘Who in the hell takes a pay raise during a budget crisis?’ I was one of the few who turned down the pay raise. Then they gave us a car. How many times have you been given a car?” Prior to becoming a legislator, Portantino was mayor of La Cañada Flintridge, a city with a 3-to-1 conservative electorate. To pass a

The planning committee for the

conference…

classified employees want, he said, “I see you want respect. Isn’t that what everyone wants? God bless you for pushing these priorities.” Assemblymember Mike Eng, D-El Monte, is a CFT member, as is his wife, Congresswoman Judy Chu. In 2009, he earned a 100 percent scorecard from both the California Labor Federation and the Consumer Federation. He carried a CFT bill in each of his four years in the Assembly. He called the election of Jerry Brown “a game changer. It’s so important to have a governor who is sympathetic.” Another gamechanger in Sacramento is Prop. 25. “It means that we win and I lose. We win because we will no longer be held hostage by the two-thirds vote,” he explained. “I lose, because I don’t get my per diem and perks for every day the budget is overdue. And I think that is a good thing.” Eng talked about his relationship with CFT. “My dad told me I wouldn’t remember the material

VELMA BUTLER COUNCIL PRESIDENT

<

California rocks! The CFT’s vision continued after the March for California’s Future ended. Congratulations to all CFT classified locals and the many volunteers who got out the vote on November 2! Every vote counted and we made the difference. The message of how critical this election was to all us was heard and we prevailed. It was a monumental victory for Californians, who elected a Democrat to every state office and passed Proposition 25. We endorsed the first woman, the first minority to be state attorney general. The victory of Brown over Whitman signifies the reality of people power over money. The unions mobilized 30,000 activists to reach out to members, families, and communities. Labor’s member-tomember campaign proves that when the rank-and-file stand together, we can make the changes needed to bring it home.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 CALIFORNIA TEACHER

PHOTOS BY BOB RIHA JR AND JANE HUNDERTMARK

From Los Angeles, the AFT College Staff Guild…

“What trumps money?” he asked. “People power,” shouted the classifieds. Portantino said, “Not only do we have people power, we have what’s right for the state of California. We have to do it from the grassroots, because they are spending a fortune.” Portantino called Sacramento “a mess, a dysfunctional system that has to be improved.” He pointed to 2006, when legislators got a pay raise dur-

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Community College One San Francisco student’s ordeal inspires the DREAM

>

CARL FRIEDLANDER COUNCIL PRESIDENT

Completions return as goal The Gates and Lumina Foundations, researchers, and the Community College League call on our colleges to increase the number of California students completing certificates, AA degrees, or transferring. It’s a worthy goal, but some perspective is in order. First, in the early 1990s, critics forced California’s community colleges to dismantle the pre- and co-requisites that had been designed to “increase completions” but were then seen as a “barrier to access.” Today, critics fault the colleges for lacking them. Second, no other state makes community college as accessible to parttime students, but part-time status is viewed as an obstacle to completion. We must not increase completions by pushing part-time students out. And third, nothing sabotages completion rates as effectively as cuts in classes and support services, which we must fight to maintain every year.

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Steve Li prepares for a news conference after returning from a 60-day detention in Arizona.

mented immigrant, although as he went through San Francisco public schools, he had no knowledge of his status. He graduated from George Washington High where he worked on the school newspaper and ran on the track and cross country teams. At City College, he is studying to be a community healthcare worker. Li is a living symbol for the national campaign to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act. Now before Congress, the act would grant legal status to thousands of undocumented students across the country. In the midst of Li’s struggle and the DREAM campaign is the faculty union at City College, AFT Local 2121. Local member Sang Chi was Li’s Asian American studies instructor last year. When he heard that Li had been detained, he began mobilizing students and other faculty in an effort to win intervention by one of California’s two senators. Local 2121 became part of a broad effort to win Li’s release. “Our faculty members sent letters and made phone calls to Senators Boxer and

CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

Feinstein, and to ICE itself,” said President Alisa Messer. Li’s case became a cause célèbre for the city’s Asian community. Local 2121, the college board, and the city supervisors all opposed

freed by ICE, and returned to San Francisco. His freedom is not permanent, however, but lasts for just 75 days following the end of the current Congressional session. While Li and his supporters are grateful that he’s not in Lima, private bills granting an individual legal status are rarely passed. “The only way to ensure that Steve and students like him aren’t targeted and deported is to pass the DREAM Act,” said Li’s professor Sang Chi. Kent Wong, one of the national organizers for the campaign and director of the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, credited the “courageous stand” taken by Local 2121. Many undocumented students can’t get into colleges although they’ve graduated from U.S. high schools, because they’re either barred by lack of legal status, or can’t qualify for financial aid that other students receive. The DREAM Act, first introduced in 2001, would allow students graduating from a U.S. high school to apply

“These are our students. They’re doing everything we want young people to do. So we have to fight for their ability to get an education...and to participate in society.” — Alisa Messer, President, San Francisco Community College Federation, AFT Local 2121

the deportation. Sen. Diane Feinstein introduced a private bill that would grant Li permanent residence status. Li was then

ALISA MESSER

LAST YEAR 400,000 people were deported, the largest number in U.S. history. For Steve “Shing Ma” Li, a student at City College of San Francisco, the knock on the door came at daybreak, September 15, as he prepared to leave for class. Officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement were outside. They arrested the 20-year-old and his parents and carted them off to jail. Li’s mother, who was bailed out of detention, awaits deportation to China. Steve Li was shipped to a detention center in Florence, Arizona, from which he would have been flown to Peru, where he has no relatives or family connections. Li’s parents emigrated from China to Peru, Li’s birthplace, and later came to the United States, where their petition for political asylum was denied. That made Li an undocu-

ADM GOLUB/SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Campaign to pass federal legislation seeks to protect thousands of students nationwide

Li’s Asian American studies instructor, Local 2121 member Sang Chi, took action.

for permanent residence if they complete two years of college or two years of military service. Both CFT and AFT support the DREAM Act, and the campaign itself has stopped many deportations. “We have to remember that for every case like Steve Li’s, there are hundreds of other young people who are deported,” Messer emphasizes. “These are our students. They’re doing everything we want young people to do. So we have to fight for their ability to get an education, to support their families, and to participate in society. They’re American kids.” — By David Bacon, CFT Reporter, and Barbara McKenna, AFT Staff


University Regents turn against free speech and shared governance With a new governor comes new regent appointments and a new direction for the UC Following this discouraging attack on shared governance came word that a police officer pulled a gun on a crowd of protesters. UC-AFT asked during public comment for a full investigation of this incident, which could have become a new Kent State tragedy.

was told that only people on a special list would be able to enter the meeting. This goes against California’s open meeting law. In order to make sure that the public could enter the meeting, UC-AFT had to contact a staffperson from the Board of Regents office who instructed the officers to

Campus police need to do a better job of preparing for protests and making sure that officers use force only as a last resort.

JANUARY 8

UC-AFT hosts “Strategies for Defending Higher Education” On January 8, UC-AFT will host a national conference, “Strategies for Defending Higher Education.” This event will take place during the annual convention of the Modern Language Association in Los Angeles. While thousands of people will be attending the main convention, we will meet to discuss strategies for making higher education more just. Speakers will be presenting short papers on topics like the death of tenure, the corporatization of the university, the possibilities of unionization, direct social action, the use and abuse of graduate students, organizing contingent faculty, and taking back shared governance. Confirmed speakers include Catharine Liu, Chris Newfield, Joshua Clover, Cary Nelson, Jeffrey Williams, Michelle Masse, Marc Bousquet, Maria Maisto, Joe Berry, Murray Sperber and UC-AFT’s Bob Samuels. The conference will be held at the Loyola Law School. It is open to the general public.

year, UC-AFT believes that it is necessary to investigate filing suit against the university for creating an environment that is hostile to free speech. Unfortunately many of the regents and top UC administrators come from the business world and seem to have little tolerance for democracy or public institutions. Given the adminstration’s attitude, UC-AFT must defend the role of shared governance during this time of major restructuring.

A Youtube video shows a campus police officer pulling a gun on student protesters after the November meeting of the Regents, where they voted to raise sudent fees by another 8 percent.

Campus police need to do a betlet the public enter the meeting. ter job of preparing for protests and While the police were often put making sure that officers use force in harm’s way due to bad planning, only as a last resort. Posting an isothere is no excuse for detaining and lated officer at a sensitive point makes arresting people for chalking mesno sense and puts both police and sages, and the police should not be protesters at risk. Moreover, the use able to simply tear down the signs of of a single row of bicycle racks to protesters. Furthermore, the use of hold off hundreds of angry people is pepper spray at the meeting appeared a poor defense and opens the door to be indiscriminate and counterfor unneeded police over-reaction. productive. In general, some police Due the diversified nature of its funding streams, the UC is able todefenThetogeneral hostility to free speech officers displayed a hostile and claim poverty,inside whileand it brings was extended outsideinofrecord the profits. sive attitude towards the protesters Regents meeting, which was held at and the general public. the isolated UC San Francisco Mission Since no actions have been taken Bay Campus. Before the start of the to discipline the campus police who meeting on November 17, UC-AFT used tasers on UCLA students last

In order to change this situation, UC-AFT will call upon Governor Brown to appoint faculty and union representatives, the people who make the university work, to be the new regents. UC-AFT will continue to fight all attempts to privatize a public university, including further fee increases and any move to use private sources to support the new online initiative. If unions do not counter the aggressive actions of the campus police, faculty will lose the ability to defend the public nature of the university. The defense against the privatization of the university requires that important policy decisions are discussed in public with public input. — By Bob Samuels

Bob Samuels is a writing instructor at UCLA, president of the University Council-AFT, and author of the blog, Changing Universities at changinguniversities. blogspot.com.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 CALIFORNIA TEACHER

PHOTOS FROM YOUTUBE VIDEO

BEFORE THE UC REGENTS voted November 18 to increase tuition by 8 percent, several of them voiced their concern over the future of the UC system. One regent bemoaned the role of shared governance in blocking some of President Mark Yudof ’s efforts to save money. After arguing that academic committees on the campuses should be “zero funded” and scrapped, Regent Eddie Island added that the faculty is holding up cost-saving measures like moving classes online. He stated that due to the faculty’s “resistance to change,” the initiative to move highenrollment courses online would be so watered-down that it would fail to generate significant revenue.

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You are the union…

KIM TURNER

Local Wire

Reporting Local Action Around the State

LOCAL 2219

Legislator Julia Brownley, second from left, honors teachers and the principal at Woodland Hills Academy.

LOCAL 1021

Bottom-up reform succeeds… Common sense bottom-up, rather than top-down reform, is working in Los Angeles schools. The brainchild of United Teachers Los Angeles, the Expanded SchoolBased Management Model calls for in-district collaborative schools that empower all stakeholders to design and implement change, rather than the superintendent and school board being the sole decisionmakers. The schools follow all provisions of the Education Code and the union contract. Woodland Hills Academy, operating under this model since 2006, has proven that schools with charter-like freedoms will succeed when allowed to operate within the district. In four years, API increased from 645 to 765 and enrollment jumped more than 60 percent. Last year, the district approved teacher-led design teams in all but four schools as part of its Public School Choice reform program, with more schools approved for round three.

Part-timers voting for SDI…Parttime community college faculty can now participate in the State Disability Insurance program even if full-timers opt out. Last year a coalition, including CFT, lobbied for passage of AB 381, making SDI a separate option for part-timers. Previously, all faculty in a unit had to agree to join SDI and take a 1.1 percent salary deduction to cover cost, which provided minimal benefit to full-time faculty. Ventura and Oakland adjuncts voted

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LOCAL 2216

Union foils retaliation… Longawaited decisions by the Public Employees Relation Board have vindicated the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees which charged that Carpinteria Unified School District engaged in continued union interference and intimidation. After local president Jay Hotchner questioned the principal about her disregard for long-standing policies, Hotchner received a seven-page reprimand attacking his teaching performance. The union filed unfair practice charges with PERB, and the district retaliated against another 15 employees. The union filed more charges. Though PERB rarely supports union claims of intimidation, the judge supported all claims, ordering the district to rescind Hotchner’s reprimand and to “cease and desist” from interfering with the union. The principal, whom the district staunchly backed, recently went out on a “leave of absence,” after PERB issued its last decision on the union’s charges.

overwhelmingly to have SDI. Adjunct elections are in the works at Los Rios, San Jose/ Evergreen, San Francisco, San Mateo, El Camino, and Cabrillo. SDI provides short-term benefits for physical or mental illness, injury or a disability resulting from elective surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical

CALIFORNIA TEACHER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010

Teachers march for contract… Protesting their district’s bargaining proposals that certificated staff take the largest hit of any employee group, teachers from the Galt Federation of Certificated and Classified Employees stormed the district office, chanting to demand equitable concessions. Soon after, tentative agreement was reached in which teachers got three furlough days (no more than administrators). Class size increased by one, with averages determined at site level, instead of district wide. The union gained improved discipline language. LOCAL 1936

Icon of progressive reform... Deborah Meier inspired Watsonville educators and community members as guest speaker at the Educational Forum Series hosted by the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers on November 14. Meier has spent more than four decades working in public education as a teacher, writer and public advocate, and was the founder and teacher-director of highly successful public elementary schools in East Harlem. Meier has written numerous books including Will Deborah Meier Standards Save Public Education, In Schools We Trust, Many Children Left Behind and her latest, Playing for Keeps.

condition. It includes Paid Family Leave, which replaces income to care for a sick relative or bond with a new child and offers 10 weeks for pregnancy disability and up to 52 weeks for non-work related illnesses. Additionally, if a part-time faculty member were receiving unemployment at the time of the disability, which would make one ineligible for continued benefits, the person would begin receiving SDI instead.

Rank & Files Marissa Martinez is a kindergarten teacher at El Dorado Elementary in San Francisco, an accomplished musician, and a member of United Educators of San Francisco, Local 61. With more budget cuts coming this year and her school forced to eliminate all art programs, she decided it was time to put her songs to good use. With the help of local musicians, she recorded Chicken & ABCs, an award-winning CD setting kindergarten lessons to song, with some in Spanish. The CD garnered a coveted Parents’ Choice award. With proceeds from sales, Martinez hopes to raise enough money for a part-time art instructor for kindergarten and first grade at her school. >To buy the $10 CD, go to abcandchicken.com.

Pat Christie, a school nurse and member-at-large who has served on the AFT nursing advisory board, volunteered to serve on Meg Whitman’s Nurse Advisory Board as an opportunity to help Whitman’s campaign understand how essential school nursing needs are to the state’s educational system. She was appointed, and during the campaign, participated in conference calls and worked with Whitman staffers to explain that student health needs are not being met, and that the school nurse shortage is not caused by a shortage of nurses, but a shortage of funds. David Drum, a 13-year adult education teacher and member of United Teachers Los Angeles, Local 1021, is the author of a humorous new novel, Introducing the Richest Family in America, in which a gay man organizes union members to fight a plan to outsource a wealthy family’s factories to China. >To learn more about the newly released novel from Burning Books Press, go to introducingtherichest.com. Have you or your colleagues made news lately? Won an award? Published a book? Email the pertinent facts to jhundertmark@cft.org.  

California Teacher, November - December 2010  

Majority Rules! Prop. 25 Wins big

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