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THE VOICE OF THE UNION

CaliforniaTeacher

September b October 2009 Volume 63, Number 1

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

Social media connects us PAGE 7

Educators push for universal healthcare

AFT President’s tour wows California

Leland Yee fights scandal and secrecy

Members advocate for workers, students PAGE 3

Weingarten visits San Francisco PAGE 8

Fiesty advocate for UC reform PAGE 15


CaliforniaTeacher

In this issue

UpFront

All-Union News 3 CFT Marks 90 Years 10 Around CFT 11 Pre-K and K-12 12

Classified 13 Community College 14 University 15 Local Wire 16

Marty Hittelman, CFT President

We can turn this budget mess around with a political strategy for progressive change

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California is the only state in the nation that requires a two-thirds vote to pass both a budget and tax increases. These barriers are a major cause of our state budget woes.

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THE BUDGET MESS in our state was not created in a day. We do not expect to change things in a day — or even a year. There is clear consensus that California’s financing system is bankrupt, and polling indicates voters want change. CFT is doing its part to turn around this state of affairs. We will continue to fight for progressive revenue increases to build a balanced but supportive budget. We will advocate for returning to a system that requires higher taxes from those who can most afford to pay, and for closing unfair corporate tax loopholes. It is a fight we must win. The November 2010 election provides more hope for turnaround. Californians will elect a new governor and vote on a variety of ballot measures. The CFT has embraced two initiatives now being drafted. Each provides a solution to the dual challenge of legislative gridlock and declining revenue that plagues public education. California joins only two states, Arkansas and Rhode Island, in requiring a two-thirds vote to pass a state budget. California is the only state in the nation that requires a two-thirds vote to pass both a budget and tax

ON THE COVER For Anna Koval, a librarian at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, online social media tools provide an effective way to communicate. On the Web site she set up for the library, bighouselibrary.com, Koval maintains a catalog, teacher assignments, book club and blog. She uses Twitter to promote the library and broadcast information and activities to teachers and students. Koval is a member of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers. PHOTO BY MINDY PINES

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. PRESIDENT Marty Hittelman SECRETARY-TREASURER Dennis Smith SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT Mary Alice Callahan EXECUTIVE COUNCIL Velma Butler, Cathy Campbell, Kimberly Claytor, Beverly Cope, Melinda Dart, Carl Friedlander, Betty Forrester, Rosa María García, Gus Goldstein, Miki Goral, Marc Houle, 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, Kent Wong, David Yancey

increases. These barriers are a major cause of our state budget woes. For example, this summer when the Legislature was busy slicing $6 billion from public education, the two-thirds requirement allowed the Republican minority to force concessions on the majority Democrats, including $1 billion in tax cuts for corporations. These tax cuts and corporate loopholes stripped more revenue from the budget and necessitated yet deeper cuts in education. This type of action leads to layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, larger classes, and increased fees. Changing that budget approval vote to a simple majority vote (50 percent plus 1) will reduce the ability of a few legislators to essentially blackmail the majority of their colleagues. It is time for California to join 47 states and require a simple majority vote to pass a budget. Another CFT priority is to change the two-thirds vote required to pass a local parcel tax — revenue that can go to improvements such as reducing class size and offering more classes. In recent years, local parcel tax measures on the ballot have received more than 55 percent voter approval, but many failed to reach the 67 per-

cent, or two-thirds, required. At this time of dwindling state funds, lowering the threshold to 55 percent is the best hope we have to bring sorely needed new revenues to our schools and colleges. We have succeeded in this type of political solution in the past. Nine years ago, the CFT worked hard to pass Proposition 39, the measure that lowered the requirement to pass education facility bonds from a twothirds vote to 55 percent. This single change resulted in a dramatic increase of new and modernized facilities. To achieve these goals, CFT will continue to work in coalition with our labor and community allies. With the recent help of AFT, we now have increased capacity to help local unions organize to win board elections, and become stronger participants in assembly, senate, and congressional races. We need you to get involved. Your efforts, along with those of thousands of other union members, will eventually create a better California.

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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 E-mail janehun@igc.org Contributors this issue Jim Araby, David Bacon, Kenneth Burt, Velma Butler, Patty Cox, Megan Dias, Carl Friedlander, Marty Hittelman, Elaine Johnson, Annette Licitra, Judith Michaels, Josh Pechthalt, Mindy Pines, Gary Ravani, Bob Samuels, Malcolm Terence, Rosanna Wiebe Graphic Design Kajun Design, Graphic Artists Guild

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For more news from the Federation, visit www.cft.org 2

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around the union…

North Bay members meet with Rep. Lynn Woolsey as part of the ACE program.

All-Union News Members say universal healthcare now!

An opportunity of a lifetime, Pelosi says

EDUCATORS WENT TO BAT for universal healthcare in the “Summer of Healthcare Reform” by lobbying their congressional representatives and testifying at town hall meetings. CFT members are in a unique position, not only because educators are a trusted voice in the public view, but also because California sends 53 members to Congress. With the largest delegation in the country, and some of its most powerful members, the union can influence policy. CFT works with AFT through its Activists on Congressional Education program to help members meet with their congresspersons on their home turf. This summer more than 30 CFT members from eight locals attended 10 ACE meetings. They met with congressional staff and representatives. The long-term goal of the ACE program is for legislators to recognize educators as an important voice in public policy discussions. In Orange County, Neal Kelsey visited Rep. Linda Sanchez at her district office to talk about the federal healthcare reform bill. He was joined by five other union members representing four local unions. Kelsey, executive

director of Coast Federation of Classified Employees, said the congresswoman expressed support for the public option, the portion of the bill most resembling universal healthcare. SINCE SOARING HEALTHCARE costs have long dominated the education bargaining table, it is no surprise that CFT members also joined the clamor of public town hall meetings as their congressional reps came home this summer to report to their constituents. What the union members found was overflow attendance, some rightwing tumult, but less than the media made out, and a general public heavily supportive of a public option. When Dean Murakami, president

Take action! Make your voice heard! Go to aft.org to find your congressional representative and send a letter supporting the public option in the federal healthcare reform bill. Visit these two sites that debunk the distortions that opponents of healthcare reform have circulated: whitehouse. gov/realitycheck and tiny.cc/ AFT_healthcare

— By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter, and Jim Araby, CFT State Affiliate Political Organizer

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Members Dean Murakami, left, and Joan and Greg Eddy, center, joined other citizens to advocate for the public option at a town hall meeting hosted by conservative Dan Lungren, who opposes it.

of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, attended a meeting called by Rep. Dan Lungren, he was part of a spillover crowd of 1000 in the Rancho Cordova City Hall. Besides spiraling costs, the biggest problem for Los Rios faculty is that budget cuts have reduced the number of classes offered and part-timers are starting to lose their healthcare coverage, a “problem that will grow,” Murakami predicted. “Lungren’s a conservative and makes no bones about it,” Murakami reported. “He said he’s not for a public option but he’s open to forming large associations which would have a strong bargaining position.” Murakami said the crowd was mostly conservative, but numerous signs touted single payer and public option alternatives. He found the tone “pretty civil but every so often a person got out of hand.” Another overflow meeting room was in Watsonville City Hall where hundreds attended—including Francisco Rodriguez, president of the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers. Like many union leaders across the state, Rodriquez worries the district will try to shift more of the rising cost of health insurance to employees in the next round of contract negotiations. He said Local 1936 was already fighting to help a teacher with a medical condition that often forces her to work half-time, meaning a pay cut and along with it, a huge jump in her out-of-pocket insurance costs. At the meeting, Rodriguez said the majority of the crowd supported the public option. When someone at a microphone touted one of the rightwing myths about healthcare reform, aides to Congressman Sam Farr would hand him the bill opened to the correct page, and Farr read the real language aloud.

Following are excerpts from a speech by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to San Francisco labor leaders on September 4. The current system is unsustainable — for individuals, businesses, families, unions, the economy, and our national budget. I myself have no objection that we spend a high percentage of our GDP on healthcare. What’s not good is that we are not getting our money’s worth. Listen to the president. He has said he wants quality, universal, affordable healthcare for all Americans. He has said he believes the public option is the best way to keep the insurance companies honest, improve competition, expand coverage and retain choice. You have seen what the Republicans put on the table: distortion “It’s stunning what and lies — anything [insurance companies] to block real reform. have gotten away with. I’m here to tell you my Stunning. Imagine if our colleagues are strong. country had a system They put a plan out that allowed you to there and can handle choose a job based on the distortion. We your aspirations not on will fight for a robust, your healthcare plan.” strong public option. It’s big change — and the insurance companies are very unhappy about it. They make inordinate profits. They spend a great deal of money to deny benefits. To eliminate the public option is to give a big victory to the insurance companies. It’s stunning what they have gotten away with. Stunning. Imagine if our country had a system that allowed you to choose a job based on your aspirations not on your healthcare plan. It will be a bill that says no longer can an insurance company deny coverage because you have pre-existing conditions. No co-pays for preventive care. No excessive deductibles. No discrimination. No dropped coverage. We have an opportunity of a lifetime, and the American people are with us.

RUSS CURTIS

Educators take lead role in the “Summer of Healthcare Reform”

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CFT gears up for next budget battle The recession is adding thousands of unemployed every month, yet intransigent politicians won’t challenge the dysfunctional status quo and reorder the state’s priorities. Massive cuts are crippling public education and other vital government services. Without major changes in the budget process and tax structure, educators are doomed to more layoffs, fewer classes, wage and benefit concessions and fee increases for our students. In response, the CFT’s Fight for California’s Future Task Force has developed a strategy of member action to challenge these draconian cuts. One component of the strategy involves engaging teachers, classified employees and their allies in a discussion of tax policy. This will help us prepare to place an initiative on the November 2010 ballot that would change the requirement for adopting a state budget from the current 2/3rd vote of the Legislature to a simple majority. (See page 2) In the next year, the task force will organize speaker trainings throughout the state and hold town hall meetings in local unions. The first training will be held at United Teachers Los Angeles on November 13. In a September 24 community outreach effort, CFT members in locals across the state, wearing blue CFT t-shirts, handed out flyers to students, parents and co-workers. The flyers explained the need to fix California’s ailing tax structure and the subsequent funding crisis. As we gear up for the next budget battle, CFT plans to expand this modest first step with actions to involve all local unions. The CFT is working to forge a way out of this budget mess that unites labor while building bridges to communities struggling to maintain healthcare and other services. If you would like to learn more or to get active in this effort, please contact your local leaders or the CFT.

Three state budgets in one year: Bad, worse, and the worst we’ve ever seen Secret deal and lack of new revenues cripple education IN THE PAST 11 MONTHS, the California Legislature passed a record three budgets. The first was bad, the second worse, and the last was the worst we have ever seen. Its impact is still shaking out, on educators and on students. The governor and a few top legislative leaders devised the current budget in secret behind closed doors. Though trailer bills are providing some clarification, what is clear is that education has been cut to the bone and no program emerges unscathed. Even the safety net of Proposition 98, the voter-approved education funding guarantee, could not stave off drastic cuts.

Fight for California’s Future

— Josh Pechthalt, Chair, CFT Fight for California’s Future Task Force

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There are three bright spots in the otherwise bleak situation. Democrats held out to begin restoring education funding in 2011-12 if revenues are up. Schools, community colleges and UC can get federal stimulus funds to backfill some cuts. K-12 districts will receive extra funding for special education and disadvantaged students on a one-time basis. Though the federal government has said the first priority for these funds is jobs, many districts are not doing it. Preliminary reports, summarized below, show a wide variance in situations from district to district. It is clear that districts with sound financial practices are more likely to keep jobs and student offerings intact.

Child Care and Development The governor tried and failed to eliminate CalWORKs child care funding altogether. Instead program grants were

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cut, cash assistance to parents was reduced and parents face new workrequirement penalties. >Impact on educators Lost jobs for instructors of early childhood education at the community colleges.

K-12 Education Districts get only 81.6 cents of every dollar due them in general purpose funding, face a onetime per pupil funding cut of $253 and nearly 20 percent cuts to most categorical programs. Districts can reduce the instructional year from 180 days to 175 days and delay purchase of new instructional materials until 2012-13. Basic aid districts that do not receive general purpose state funds face cuts in categorical funding. >Impact on educators Elimination of Class Size Reduction and summer classes, reduced school years, increased staffing ratios and hiring freezes. Thousands of temporary teaching positions lost. Los Angeles lost 5000 positions total. Ojai teachers lose income to fiveday furloughs, Oxnard educators to a reduced work year. Classified employee jobs lost. Adult Education and ROC/Ps Categorical “flexibility” allows districts to shift funds previously dedicated to adult education and Regional Occupational Centers/Programs. For the next three years, both programs have to compete for the reduced funds available to all K-12 categorical programs. >Impact on educators Decimation of entire schools and elimination of programs such as Older Adults. Thousands of temporary teachers have lost jobs, many permanent teachers too. In Los Angeles, 300 temporary teachers lost jobs. In Oakland, 100. In Salinas, 91. In Santa Clara, 22 permanent teachers lost jobs, all 65 temp positions eliminated.

Community Colleges Students fees increase again, from $20 to $26 per unit. All growth funding is cut at a time when adults are returning to college to retrain. Categorical programs face the largest cuts and backfill from the stimulus funds is much lower than expected. Districts are now free to shift scanty categorical funds to higher priority programs, including hard-won funds gained for part-time faculty equity. >Impact on educators Elimination of class sections, summer sessions, winter intercessions and faculty overloads. At Cerritos College, 200 of 600 adjuncts lost jobs; at Citrus nearly 120; at Palomar, 100. At Cabrillo College, with 650 teaching units cut, 65 adjuncts lost jobs. In San Francisco, 800 class sections are cut and 50 adjuncts must wait to get promised fulltime jobs. Adjuncts statewide are losing health benefits because of reduced loads. Classified jobs lost. University of California UC faces a one-time cut of $812 million for 2008-09, and an ongoing reduction of $266.7 million starting in 2009-10 — cuts only partially offset by federal stimulus funds. The governor failed to eliminate new Cal Grant awards. To date, UC has turned away 10,000 students. >Impact on educators NonSenate faculty face layoffs, nonreappointment, reductions in hours, program eliminations, cancelled courses, increased class size, and pay cuts. At UCI, 37 continuing appointment lecturers were laid off. At UCLA, 67 received layoff notices. At UCR fewer than 10 of 150 pre-six-year lecturers received annual reappointment letters. At UCB, there are 30 percent fewer appointments overall. — By Patty Cox, CFT Research Specialist and Jane Hundertmark, Editor


Grossmont-Cuyamaca faculty choose San Diego AFT Guild SANDY HUFFAKER JR

Need for more political power pulls college teachers to AFT from independent union

Michael Golden, who has taught biology and ecology for 17 years at Grossmont College in El Cajon, helped lead the representational campaign that resulted in 1400 faculty in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District joining forces with San Diego’s AFT Guild.

THE UNION’S SINGLE biggest representation victory in years became official June 26, when approximately 1400 full- and part-time instructors in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District chose the AFT Guild as their union, switching from the previous independent union

district, where the reigning establishment has historically been extremely conservative. “We were getting our butts kicked,” Golden explains, “by a very conservative board. One trustee said teachers and firefighters are the most overpaid people in the county.”

“These are scary times, and we need a strong, smart, democratic union. Now we have one.” — Michael Golden, Biology and Ecology Instructor, Grossmont College

at the district, United Faculty. Michael Golden, who has taught biology and ecology for 17 years at Grossmont College in the Imperial County border city of El Cajon, helped lead the AFT campaign. “These are scary times, and we need a strong, smart, democratic union. Now we have one,” he said. The decision by the GrossmontCuyamaca instructors to join the larger Local 1931, which represents 4500 faculty and staff in the adjacent San Diego Community College District, followed a long effort to increase political strength in their

Mary Graham, chair of the Communication Arts Department at Cuyamaca College, and another leader in the AFT campaign, remembers when “we had a friendly district with little sophistication or antagonism.” In those days, she says, the independent union worked well. But the situation for faculty became markedly worse when the district hired a new human resources director. “He tried to eliminate the step and column entirely by trickery,” Graham recalls, “asking the union to hold off on bargaining raises while the board debated its budget. But then he just

eliminated raises for two years, and we had to perform a work-to-contract action to get them back. He had no respect for us, and hadn’t even read the Ed Code.” Golden said the district “became more corporate and would litigate every issue. An independent union didn’t have the resources to fight this effectively,” he explained. “One faculty member had to take out a $70,000 home equity loan to defend himself when they went after him for criticizing district managers.” IN 2006, MANY United Faculty members, including some of its executive board, urged the union to run candidates for the district’s board of trustees. When the union said it had no resources for such a campaign, Golden, Graham, and others set up an independent political action committee, Citizens for Educational Responsibility. “Jim Mahler, president of the San Diego AFT Guild, came as an individual to help us,” Golden recalls. “We didn’t have much experience, and he turned out to be a real champion of

teachers. Some faculty were suspicious at first, thinking the AFT just wanted to take us over, but they could see that Jim was just there to help.” One educator-friendly candidate was elected to the board in 2006 and another in 2008. Along the way, Grossmont-Cuyamaca faculty, in conjunction with the AFT Guild, began to develop a political program, despite the fact that the Guild had not yet been elected as the bargaining agent there. “We just want as many educationfriendly boards in our region as we can get,” says Mahler, who believes solidarity between teachers and unions should naturally lead to concrete cooperation. Because of Local 1931’s help in the 2008 campaign, many GrossmontCuyamaca faculty decided to join forces permanently with the San Diego AFT local. Card circulation began, and by March of this year, the petition to make AFT their bargaining representative was filed with the signatures of 72 percent of the combined full-time/part-time unit. “We wanted access to expert leadership right away, not at the end of a long training process,” Graham says. With Local 1931 “we could grow at a faster pace, with the infrastructure already in place.” United Faculty was often divided between teachers on the two campuses, she explains, “but the AFT local wasn’t associated with one college or the other. Plus, when teachers saw the money it spent on print, radio, and TV ads in the trustees’ election, skeptics stopped saying ‘they just want our money.’” In June, Local 1931 won 64 percent of the ballots cast. “There are a lot of problems we have to work on now,” Golden says. “Part-timers are woefully underpaid, with no healthcare.” And GrossmontCuyamaca teachers have their eyes on the 2010 election, where three seats are up. “We’re going to change that board,” Michael Golden predicts. — By David Bacon, CFT Reporter

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Governor seizes losses in pension funds to attack benefits, again Private sector 401(k) erosion far outpaces losses in CalSTRS and CalPERS plans CalPERS, the teacher system cannot increase contributions without legislative approval. Reser says CalSTRS has begun discussions with stakeholders, including education unions, although no specific increase proposals are yet in the legislative pipeline. In the past, CFT has opposed increased contributions. Pat Macht, spokesperson for CalPERS, said the fund expected to increase employer contributions but there were no concrete proposals yet. She said the costs would be spread out over time so the districts “don’t get sticker shock” in this period of wholesale budget cuts to education.

CALSTRS ENDED THE FISCAL year on June 30 with $118.8 billion, but by the end of July it had already grown to $124 billion. Sherry Reser, a spokesperson for CalSTRS, said that the system had developed some new investment strategies to cope with the altered financial landscape and that benefit payments would remain intact into the future. “CalSTRS has been here since 1913 and we’ve never missed a benefit payment,” Reser explained. “But we can’t invest our way out of [these losses] and contributions will have to increase some time in the future.” Unlike its larger public cousin

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CONSERVATIVE AND anti-union critics of the large public defined benefit plans have seized the wounded portfolios as a reason to cut benefits, not to increase contributions. Gov. Schwarzenegger, who in 2005 pushed for a ballot initiative to convert both pension plans to 401(k)style programs, is now inviting

age and reduce benefits, changes they say would save $500 billion over the next 30 years. The Richman campaigners attack practices that allow a person to retire on a pension and then be rehired at the same job, and ploys that drive up an individual’s final year of pay, and consequently his pension. Neither of

“We were smart in 2005 to defend our defined benefit retirement system against the proposals to change it to a defined contribution system.” — Carolyn Widener, Los Angeles College Faculty Guild and CalSTRS board member

legislation that would create a second tier with lower benefits for all new public employees. He predicts the revision would save $90 billion over the next 30 years. At the same time former Assemblyman Keith Richman and the conservative California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility are preparing an initiative that would raise retirement

these is possible under CalSTRS. Hene Kelly, chair of the CFT Retirement Committee and a retired member of United Educators San Francisco, says Richman’s group is already collecting signatures. She advised CFT members not to sign anything without checking with their union. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

State resolution asks Congress to correct Social Security penalties California teachers cannot count on receiving a full Social Security benefit, either as a benefit from other work done under Social Security, or from benefits earned by a spouse. The CFT has long advocated the repeal of two Social Security penalties that affect public educators in 15 states and public employees in all 50 states. In September, the California Legislature, with CFT lobbying, passed Assembly Joint Resolution 10 that urges Congress to act on this matter this session. It was carried by Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, in the Assembly and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, in the Senate. During her California tour, AFT President Randi Weingarten reminded CFT members that teachers don’t have this problem in New York saying, “It is not fair this offset happens in one state and not another. Fixing it is high on our agenda now, but I can’t tell you we will get it done. I suspect if we were in a great economic time, it would be easier. It is hard to get.”

Tom Torklakson, the resolution’s author, and President Marty Hittelman talk to members.

When Congress created Social Security in 1935, it expressly excluded government employees. State and local government agencies could not join the system until the 1950s, but by then agencies such as CalSTRS had developed their own retirement systems. Then in 1977 and 1983, in an attempt to control the cost of Social Security, Congress passed the Government

Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. For many individuals, these provisions mean the loss of earned Social Security and survivor benefits. For example, a mid-career job change from private sector employment to teaching in California results in a lifetime penalty of reduced retirement benefits. This penalizes individuals who want to teach, and the spouses, widows, or widowers of these individuals. What’s more, at a time more unemployed Americans are seeking retraining and acquiring new skills, these penalties make it more difficult for community colleges to hire experienced vocational faculty, and for K-12 education to attract teachers. The Social Security Fairness Act before Congress in bills HR235 and S484 addresses these problems. Contact your congressional representatives to urge their vote on these bills. They may affect your retirement! — Judith Michaels, Legislative Director

JANE HUNDERTMARK

LIKE OTHER INVESTORS, the state’s huge public pension funds CalPERS and CalSTRS got hammered in the global financial downturn. To compound their problems, the governor and perennial critics are readying new attacks on the defined benefit programs. CalSTRS, which serves school and college faculty, lost 25 percent last year and CalPERS, which provides benefits to classified as well as state and municipal employees, lost nearly as much in the fiscal slump that has been dubbed the Great Recession. Carolyn Widener, a member of CFT and long-time member of the board that governs CalSTRS, says the public pension plans develop actuarial studies that look forward 25 or 30 years. “This is a huge, huge shock to the system. Although they don’t expect a year like this, these pension funds do expect volatility. This is not a catastrophe — the real crisis in the retirement system in this country hit the private system. The 401(k)s lost even more money; many have lost 50 percent, 60 percent.” Widener, herself nearing retirement as a college English teacher in Los Angeles, concluded, “We were smart in 2005 to defend our defined benefit retirement system against the proposals to change it to a defined contribution system.”


AT FIRST GLANCE, it’s hard to tell teacher-librarian Anna Koval from the students she works with at Casa Grande High School. The Petaluma Federation of Teachers member is bubbly, fashionable and welcoming toward the students and staff who stream into the library. But it soon becomes clear who is in charge. The inviting library, decorated with Koval’s personal touch, functions like a well-oiled machine. Central to its operation is bighouselibrary.com, a Web site Koval set up to involve students and teachers. With a calendar, catalog, teachers’ assignments, book club section, and blog, the site is where students go to get and complete their classroom assignments during scheduled library time. She uses Twitter to promote her school’s library and to broadcast activities and information the students and teachers need to know about. Twitter is an online community-

MINDY PINES

Educators and unions harness power of online social media tools

Petaluma librarian Anna Koval maintains a catalog, teacher assignments, book club and blog on bighouselibrary.com. She “tweets” new activities and information to students and teachers.

media in her teaching, but prefers Facebook, where users grow their network by “friending” others with whom they share.

“If I’ve written a blog post about new materials in the library, or an upcoming activity, I’ll make a summary ‘tweet’ with a link to the relevant post.” — Anna Koval, Librarian, Casa Grande High School, Petaluma

building tool that allows you to share information with your “followers” in text-based posts called “tweets,” which can be no longer than 140 characters. Koval describes Twitter as “the TV Guide summary of what’s going on and coming up.” She integrates Twitter with the Web site to quickly draw people to important, but more detailed information. For example, “If I’ve written a blog post about new materials in the library, or an upcoming activity, I’ll make a summary ‘tweet’ with a link to the relevant post.” Los Angeles College Faculty Guild member Amara Aguilar uses social

As an assistant professor of multimedia and journalism at Pierce College, Aguilar posts resources to aid her students in their journalism careers. “Facebook also helps me keep up with former students and how they’re doing in the industry.” Both Koval and Aguilar agree one of the greatest benefits of social media is the ability to share resources and collaborate with peers they’ve never met. Despite the great benefits, they warn others that as with all online communication, you need to keep it professional, especially when in contact with students. Anything on the Internet is public.

CFT LOCAL UNIONS are beginning to embrace social media for unionbuilding and communications. In March, United Teachers Los Angeles used Twitter to deliver quick messages about the union protest of teacher layoffs to let members who couldn’t attend know what was happening immediately. UTLA tweets breaking news and school board votes, links to its Web site and articles from its newspaper — communicating the union’s point of view to a growing number of followers. The challenge of communicating in 140-or-fewer characters has

not daunted the man behind UTLA’s tweets, communications specialist Chris Ryder. UTLA’s tweets at twitter. com/utla2009 often read like a suspenseful play-by-play radio drama. They allow followers to feel a part of the action, sometimes linking to photos posted on twitpic.com. In the Monterey Bay region, elementary teacher and executive board member Sarah Henne recently set up the Facebook page PVUSD Educators for the Pajaro Valley Federation. “The idea was to create a network,” explains local president Francisco Rodriguez, “not just for our members, but for the outside community.” The local sees Facebook as an effective medium for commenting on issues and school board actions. Similarly, the Cerritos College Federation in southeast Los Angeles County made a Facebook page (Cerritos College Faculty Federation) in August to inform the public and students about faculty issues on campus. Though still in its nascent stage, the local hopes to link relevant articles, and upload pictures and video clips of events, according to Philip Hu, the local’s COPE director. Hu describes how Facebook shares information as a “huge, exponential explosion.” You have a group of “friends” who have “friends” and your information goes to those friends of friends — who may be constituents in your district. This, he believes, may help when the union wants to elect friendly trustees to the board. — By Mindy Pines, CFT Reporter

Educators and online safety Though modern technology and the Internet make it easier for educators to research, communicate, study and collaborate, there are problems and dangers associated with this technology. Both students and teachers may be vulnerable to invasions of privacy. The AFT booklet Classroom Tips: Appropriate Uses of Modern Technology offers educators tips for minimizing risk to their professional careers and for teaching students about online safety. It offers instructions for maximizing privacy on Facebook and MySpace, and warns educators about the potential for students to cheat when using cellphones, iPods, and other electronic devices. >You can download the booklet at tiny.cc/AFT_technology

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Back-to-School Tour

Randi Weingarten listens to the concerns of kindergarten teacher Carol Converse.

RUSS CURTIS

AFT President learns from California

With the backdrop of a Diego Rivera mural, Gus Goldstein, president of the San Francisco Community College Federation, welcomed Weingarten to City College.

Randi Weingarten’s eight-city back-to-school blitz brought her to San Francisco on the Friday before Labor Day. The AFT president packed a lot into her 12-hour work day, much of that time spent on her feet with AFT members at work. Her national tour included meeting with teachers and staff at schools, colleges, and pre-K centers. “We wanted to talk about the issues of the people who are in the trenches every single day doing the work of educating our kids,” she said. But Weingarten’s first stop in San Francisco took her to the larger labor movement, an early morning breakfast with nearly 300 representatives of labor unions sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council. Weingarten and hometown girl Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, were the lead speakers. (See page 3)

“There’s a lot of things you don’t want to be first in, and California is first in the struggles with this budget crisis,” Weingarten told the audience. “I know California is struggling in every community, but if we didn’t have the stimulus package that our speaker so brilliantly navigated through Congress, we would be even worse off. It is a lifeline. Thank you very much for doing it,” she told Pelosi, whom she called a sophisticated leader.

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Later in the morning, Weingarten visited a half dozen classrooms at the working-class neighborhood school Sunnyside Elementary, where enrollment and energy level are bursting the seams. The AFT tour visited classrooms

“We have to constantly make the case that these are the tools teachers need to teach and students need to learn.” —AFT President Randi Weingarten AFT lobbied to get the stimulus package passed, knowing that “it could have never helped everybody,” Weingarten explained. “It did mitigate some situations. The magnitude of cuts in tax receipts is huge — there is $350 billion less going to school districts from what they had the year before.” Weingarten praised the city of San Francisco for its planning with the union that resulted in a rainy day fund that has largely averted layoffs in the public schools. To a thunder-

On the Web

UESF President Dennis Kelly, also an AFT vice president, toured with Weingarten during her visit.

ing round of applause, she concluded, “San Francisco is the highest performing urban K-12 district in California, and is continuing to narrow the achievement gap.”

To see reports, photos and video from the eight cities in the AFT Back to School Tour ‘09, go to aft.org.

and held an impromptu discussion in the staff lounge between Weingarten, Superintendent Carlos Garcia and teachers clad in union T-shirts. “If you have ideas, come forward,” Weingarten encouraged the teachers after their candid talk with the superintendent about looming budget cuts. During her travels, she said, she’s seen that “those places where there’s a strong union and a really good working relationship have shielded themselves from the worst of the education cuts.” In a kindergarten class, tots lined up to show teacher Carol Converse their colorings of airplanes, numbers and letters. Sunnyside, a Title I school, has made AYP with a diverse enrollment of 27 percent Asian, 24 percent Hispanic/Latino, 18 percent


Randi Weingarten visits San Francisco as one of eight stops in her national tour

educators on the job African-American and 17 percent white students. All the teachers are fully credentialed. United Educators of San Francisco president Dennis Kelly and principal Nancy Schlenke then led the group to Sarah Rensman’s fourth- and fifth-grade class, featuring math and science bulletin boards and a huge sunflower chart climbing the wall. Next, it was on to Kelly Tucker’s second-grade class and Joelle Capitan’s fourth-grade class, where students were writing personal narratives. In the schoolyard, Weingarten played jump rope with the girls while some parents, who earlier told her they consider the teachers their “women warriors,” chatted it up until the children were summoned back inside with the ringing of an oldfashioned hand bell. They ran after Weingarten, calling good-byes.

In her final appearance that day, Weingarten fielded questions from the nearly 100 AFT members who turned out at 4 p.m. on the Friday before a long weekend for an informal union meeting at San Francisco City College. The questions ranged from tying teacher pay to student outcomes (See right) to healthcare reform. Weingarten spoke of the urgent need for reform with universal healthcare to make sure kids coming to school and college are healthy, and endorsed the public option. She criticized those who have delayed healthcare reform saying, “The conservatives just want to disrupt, and they are very successful in that. We need you out there. It’s not just about healthcare. It’s also about ‘will we get the Employee Free Choice Act.’” It is easy to pit people against each other in these tough economic times, she said. “I have not seen one school be turned around by demonizing teachers or one student saved by scapegoating.” Weingarten told the union members, “If we work together, no one can stop us. If we fight for social justice and economic justice, we will prevail. We have to keep the fight for core services because kids don’t get another chance at first grade. We have to constantly make the case that these are the tools teachers need to teach and students need to learn.” — By Jane Hundertmark, Editor, and Annette Licitra, AFT Reporter

Sunnyside Elementary is a Title I school with a diverse enrollment in a working class neighborhood of San Francisco. The school has made AYP and all teachers are fully credentialed. Photos by Jane Hundertmark

Weingarten and Superintendent Carlos Garcia talk with teachers during their lunch break.

Weingarten on: Connecting teacher pay to student outcome Community college instructors asked AFT President Randi Weingarten about threats from the western states accrediting institution to tie faculty pay to student outcome, and K-12 teachers asked about the threats of tying teacher pay to student scores on standardized tests. “It’s what everyone is talking about,” said Weingarten. “There is no evidence this works. Individuals do not control who is in their classes and they do not control their tools – so it’s completely unfair. So much of student outcome is related to out-ofschool circumstances.” Weingarten is “personally opposed to the linking of individual teachers and individual test scores,” and believes “it has bad consequences.” She explained that AFT has a team working to develop better methods of evaluation for all teachers. “We have a pretty big tent in the AFT to try new things,” she concluded. “We are trying to figure out what is a fair evaluation. We need to have an evaluation system that’s about teachers improving — not a ‘gotcha.’ We can all agree it’s about our craft, but some piece of that has to be whether learning has occurred — but what part is that and how is it done? We want to be the ones that come up with that, and not just be reacting to others.” — JH

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Educators at Compton Community College wait for the ballot count in their election for union representation. The outcome: AFT won.

THIS YEAR THE CFT CELEBRATES the 90th anniversary of its founding. In a special four-part series, California Teacher recounts the rich history of our statewide federation of unions.

Education workers win the right to bargain collectively Part 3

The turbulent 1960s through the 1980s

F

or four tempestuous decades after its founding in 1919, the California State Federation of Teachers struggled to survive. Finally, after consolidation, organizing and steady growth, the question of whether a state federation could endure changed from “would the CSFT survive?” to “how will the Federation become an organization best suited to serve locals?” In the decades from 1960 through

CFT President Raoul Teilhet, left, and lobbyist Mary Bergan meet in 1975 with Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the CFT-sponsored bill bringing collective bargaining to education.

Timeline

1990, the CFT (the “State” was dropped at the 1963 Convention) embodied the messy strength of union democracy, leading its locals through social, financial, and educational growth and change. The fight for collective bargaining dominated the agenda. Between 1960, when New York teachers won collective bargaining, and 1976, when it became California law, CFT introduced a collective bargaining bill in each legislative session.

In 1971, the collective bargaining bill got its first full hearing in the California Legislature. The CFT achieved success in 1976 when Democratic governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Education Employment Relations Act, SB1960, carried by a former AFT local president turned state senator, Albert Rodda. Teachers and classified employees in California schools and community colleges finally had won the right to bargain collectively about their conditions of work and wages. After the flurry of elections that followed, education employees settled down to the hard work of bargaining and enforcing contracts. Three years later, in 1978, the Higher Education EmployerEmployee Relations Act Bill passed, bringing the benefits of collective bargaining to university employees. The end of the 1970s saw collective bargaining in public education institutionalized, and unionism thriving. A SUCCESSION OF EFFECTIVE leaders ensured the survival of the CFT. President Ben Rust and Lou Eilerman gave the organization philosophical and administrative coherence. Maurice Englander supported expansion into the state university and community college systems. Marshall Axelrod campaigned for “teacher power.” Raoul Teilhet, the union’s first fulltime president, was remarkably suited to guide the organization through its period of greatest change and growth, the 1970s and 80s. A political leader

in politicized times, he was a dedicated organizer able to help charter dozens of locals. Teilhet doubled the size of the union, oversaw the development of a modern union staff, and strengthened the ties between CFT and the labor movement. Social change drove impassioned debate at CFT Conventions — the Women’s Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Anti-War Movement. At the same time, CFT fought for teacher professionalism, probationary teacher rights and intellectual property rights for higher educators. IN 1978, TEILHET led the union in its fight against passage of the conservative-backed Proposition 13. Voters ultimately approved the measure that dramatically changed property taxation and stemmed the flow of revenues to the state, and therefore to public education. A decade later, CFT lobbied for passage of Proposition 98, the measure that guarantees minimum funding for education. During the 1980s, CFT President Miles Myers carried on the teacherscholar tradition by researching and writing about professional authority for K-12 teachers. Ranks and status of classified employees continued to grow. As CFT headed into the 1990s, it had become a robust union representing the diverse interests of thousands of educators in California. Adapted from 70 Years: A History of the California Federation of Teachers, 1919-1989.

1953 CSFT introduces first collective bargaining bill for educators 1960 New York teachers win collective bargaining 1962 Maurice Englander elected CSFT president 1965 Marshall Axelrod elected CFT president 1967 Raoul Teilhet elected first full-time CFT president 1971 First full legislative hearing on collective bargaining 1972 CFT Women in Education Committee formed 1975 K-14 teachers and staff win collective bargaining 1978 University employees win collective bargaining • CFT works to defeat Proposition 13 1985 Raoul Teilhet steps down, Miles Myers elected CFT president 1988 CFT helps pass Proposition 98

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San Jose’s Barbara Hanfling and David Yancey listened to Nancy Pelosi speak to labor leaders.

Around CFT CFT welcomes new controller and political organizer

Mark your Calendar

JIM ARABY is the union’s new State Affiliate Political Organizer, a position supported by the AFT in state federations throughout the nation. As political organizer, he will be engaged in grassroots organizing, working with local unions to build political action programs, develop teams of political activists, and organize to elect local and state candidates. Araby will help build the AFT Activists for Congressional Education program in California by enlisting more member teams to make in-district visits to congressional representatives. With California having 53 members of Congress, the ACE program helps educator constituents seek support for AFT’s legislative goals and communicate union positions on healthcare reform, the Employee Free

Classified Conference will be held October 16-18 at Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn in San Diego. Classified employees and paraprofessionals can look forward to hearing Senator Gloria Romero. Workshops include mentoring young leaders, building classified-faculty unity, and developing community allies. There’s fun too — a costume party, dancing and performance art. Learn more at cftclassified.org.

Jim Araby

Choice Act and other federal legislation that impacts education. Prior to joining CFT, Araby worked as a regional political director for SEIU United Healthcare Workers West in Northern California. >You can reach Jim Araby by email at cftsapo@gmail.com. LIZ SOTO brings her impressive accounting and administrative experience in public education and non-

>You can reach Liz Soto by email at esoto@cft.org.

Dependents of CFT members receive union scholarships Raoul Teilhet

SCHOLARSHIPS

Karin Drucker, daughter of Ronald P. Drucker, San Francisco Community College District Federation of Teachers

IN AUGUST, THE CFT awarded 22 scholarships to continuing college students through its Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Program. Starting November 1, scholarship applications will be available for 2010. Students enrolled in four-year courses of study are eligible for $3000; those enrolled in twoyear courses of study are eligible for $1000. The deadline for high school seniors to apply is January 10. Award selection is based on academic achievement, special talents and skills, participation in extracurricular activities, community service, financial need, and a 500-word essay on a social issue of the applicant’s choice. You can download an application at www.cft.org, or phone the CFT Costa Mesa office at 714-754-6638 to have one mailed to you. Continuing college students who received scholarships are listed below with the names of their parents or guardians who are CFT members. The scholarship is for $3000 unless otherwise noted.

Mark Edwards, son of Rex and Ishita Edwards, Ventura County Federation of College Teachers

Hanna Bliden, daughter of Geri Ashton, Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees

Shea Peinado, daughter of Kelly Peinado, Ventura County Federation of College Teachers

Mike Epperly, son of James and Patricia Epperly, Summerville Federation of Teachers and Tuolumne Special Educators Federation of Teachers Nicole Fong, daughter of Paul Fong, San Jose/ Evergreen Faculty Association Rizel Francisco, daughter of Elaine Francisco, Jefferson Elementary Federation of Teachers Carlos Gonzalez-Tostado, son of Blanca Gonzalez, United Educators of San Francisco ($1000) Kevin Land, son of Julia Land, El Camino College Federation of Teachers Zachary Liddle, son of Lynndsy Liddle, Novato Federation of Teachers Kristin Liska, daughter of Mark and Donna Liska, Poway Federation of Teachers Kristine Martinez, daughter of Raoul Martinez, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees Daniel Olmsted, son of Paul Olmsted, Ventura County Federation of College Teachers Akash Pandey, son of Annapurna Pandey, Faculty of UC Santa Cruz Reyna Pedregon, daughter of Joseph and Norma Pedregon, United Teachers Los Angeles

Benjamin Rayikanti, son of Margaret Rayikanti, United Educators of San Francisco Julia Rockey, daughter of Rebecca Rockey, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees Andres Rodriguez, son of Irma Rodriguez, Los Rios College Federation of Teachers Tracy Stanbury, daughter of Cory Stanbury, El Camino College Federation of Teachers Emily Steidl, daughter of Kim Sakamoto-Steidl, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers ($1000) Travis Tagami, son of Jeff Tagami, Cabrillo College Federation of Teachers Brandon Thompson, son of Wendy Thompson, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers

AFL-CIO SCHOLARSHIPS CHILDREN OF THREE CFT MEMBERS won scholarships from the AFL-CIO, which awarded 133 scholarships to dependents of AFL-CIO-affiliated union members throughout the nation. Of those, 12 scholarships were awarded to AFT members, with three going to Californians. Youri Dekker, daughter of Anita and Jan Dekker, both members of the State Center Federation of Teachers ($1000) Jessica Jones, daughter of David Jones, Peralta Federation of Teachers ($2000) Delanie Ricketts, daughter of James Ricketts, North Monterey County Federation of Teachers ($1000)

AFT Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Conference will be held October 23-25 at the Miami Beach Resort. Topics cover feminism, Generation Y, LGBTQ, and Census 2010. Learn more at aft.org. Progressive Tax Reform Speakers Training, on November 13 at United Teachers Los Angeles. Learn about equitable alternatives to the current state revenue structure. Open to union members and community activists. AFT Early Childhood Educators/ NAEYC Conference is the place to be for early childhood educators November 17-18 at the AFT Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Learn more at aft.org. AFT Collective Bargaining Conference, where union negotiators can learn from the best, is December 2-4 at the National Labor College in Maryland. Learn more at aft.org. Division Councils of K-12, classified, and community colleges meet December 5 in Oakland. 2009 2010

Get your CFT Pocket Calendar! IF YOU DID NOT get

a CFT Pocket Calendar from your local union, it’s not too late. The union’s award-winning 16-month calendar has returned to a traditional layout. Supplies are limited. >To receive a calendar, send $1 for shipping and handling to the CFT Bay Area Office, 1201 Marina Village Pkwy., Suite 115, Alameda, CA 94501.

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TOP, MIDDLE RIGHT: JANE HUNDERTMARK; MIDDLE LEFT: COURTNEY LAWHORN

Liz Soto

profit organizations to the CFT as the union’s first Controller. Prior to joining CFT, Soto worked for California State Los Angeles University Auxiliary Services, Inc. as the associate executive director of financial services. Soto, a graduate of CSU Northridge, will assist Secretary Treasurer Dennis Smith in overseeing the union’s financial operations and will work closely with the accounting and data management staff in the CFT Burbank office. Soto began work on July 1, and according to Smith, “has quickly provided valuable analysis, insight, and recommendations for improving our financial information system and operations.”


Senior Vice President Mary Alice Callahan with her nephew Brian, an intern at AFT.

Pre-K and K-12 Feds “Race to The Top” while state funding drops to the bottom K-12 division leader dubs new federal reform plan “NCLB Lite” U.S SECRETARY of Education Arne Duncan stood on the stage of the AFT QuEST Conference and stated that he was not going to initiate significant educational “reforms” without consulting teachers and their unions first. That, in fact, was a theme of the general session with many in the audience wearing buttons stating “With Us, Not To Us,” asserting that the age of top-down reform, NCLBstyle, was over. That was July 14. What a difference 10 days can make. On July 24, Duncan introduced the Race to the Top initiative. Duncan emphasized that, unlike NCLB, this policy would not be “compliance driven,” instead it would create conditions where states are “pressed

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GARY RAVANI COUNCIL PRESIDENT

Truth stranger than fiction

TOP: JANE HUNDERTMARK

Becoming president of the EC/K-12 Council is like reading a Russian novel. The sheer number of characters, relationships and plots can be overwhelming. I have attended conferences on teacher preparation, state education data systems and school funding; meetings of the California Board of Education, Education Coalition, and Commission on Teacher Credentialing. I have lobbied and testified before the California Assembly and met the governor. At one event on early childhood issues, someone told a professional that he actually knew the issues better than she did. A State Board member asserted that they should be consistent, even if they are consistently wrong. Walking into the California Department of Education, you face an intimidating stone wall bearing the quotation: “It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to know.” The quote is from Shelley’s character, Dr. Frankenstein, the good doctor whose noble intentions resulted in the creation of a monster. I wonder: Does the State Board know the irony of this?

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us To

to implement” RTTT guidelines. So waving a few billion dollars in “competitive grants” in front of recessionstrapped states is not as coercive as NCLB regulations? Right. RTTT is part of the overall federal economic stimulus package and states can apply for competitive grants by agreeing to certain stipulations. (See below) It offers nearly $4.3 billion nationwide to “reward and encourage states that are implementing significant education reforms.” California could qualify for up to $500 million. Superficially a half billion dollars sounds impressive, but it is a tiny percentage of California’s education budget (4/5ths of 1 percent), and of recent cuts to education (3 percent). AT THE AFT conference in Washington, D.C., Duncan comfortably linked educational platitudes to pedagogic bromides in a way that almost made sense. Before his appointment, Duncan played semi-professional basketball, had a career in private sector foundations, then was appointed CEO of the Chicago public schools. He never worked as a teacher or school administrator. You can only speculate about the public response if Obama had appointed someone who had never been a physician as Surgeon General. Duncan’s federal proposal is asserted to be “a classic example…of evidence-based policy making.”

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So let’s examine the “evidence.” Charter schools: RTTT calls for removing all statutory restrictions on creating charter schools. Charters were to be the “silver bullet” for poor school achievement. A recent study by Stanford University finds only 17 percent of charter students achieve at higher levels than regular public school students, 37 percent of charter kids do worse, and the remainder are no different. As panacea for low achievement this silver bullet is a misfire. Test score-based evaluations: Major professional organizations, the American Psychological Association, National Council on Measurement in Education, and American Educational Research Association all caution against using test data designed for one purpose (student achievement) for another purpose (teacher effective-

ness). From the scientific community the “evidence” appears to be summed up in a word: Not. All the major teacher unions, CFT and CTA, as well as AFT and NEA, have weighed in with objections to RTTT. Predictably, the California Legislature has charged ahead with RTTT-enabling laws despite the fact that the regulations for grants have not yet been finalized. Ultimately Race to the Top is “NCLB Lite”-style reform without the voucher threats. We expected better. The particulars of the RTTT initiative have every appearance of being more of the top-down, highly prescriptive, bureaucratic blather that has scapegoated teachers, created pedagogic despair, and generally demeaned our profession for the last decade. Science has recently established that it helps to cuss out loud when you stub your toe or hit your thumb with a hammer. It actually relieves the pain. Reading RTTT is, as someone once said, “like getting a paper cut on your eyeball.” So go ahead teachers, get in touch with your primal scream. — By Gary Ravani, President, EC/K-12 Council

Stipulations of landing Race to the Top funds Adopt “internationally benchmarked” standards and assessments. It is unknown how, and if, these newly developed standards and assessments would match up to California’s. Serious concerns remain about the transparency of the process underway by the National Governor’s Association to develop internationally benchmarked standards. Show a process for recruiting, developing and retaining effective teachers and principals. This includes “alternative certification” routes for teachers and administrators, an approach the union does not believe produces the quality teaching force the state needs. Have data systems that measure student achievement and help teachers and principals improve instruction. States must remove any statutory “firewall” between student data and teacher data, including the CALTIDES and CALPADS programs in California. The feds strongly suggest the “data” systems are intended to base teacher evaluations on student test scores. Have a plan to “turn around” the lowest-performing schools. This includes changing staffs, closing schools, and turning the school over to a charter — strategies that have not been shown to improve student achievement. Parties disagree about a cap on the number of charter schools in California.


CLASSIFIED CONFERENCE October 16–18 see % page 11 Calendar

Rosa María García and Sandra Lepore with state Sen. Gloria Romero, right.

Classified Classified unions fight to rescue jobs and save livelihoods Faculty members stand up for fellow classified employees TIM ANDERSON HAS WORKED in art galleries big and small for 24 years but only since he came to Cuesta College 2 ½ years ago was he a member of a union. Now his classified local and its sibling local of teachers, both CFT affiliates, have rallied to save his job and several others from the budget cutter. As in districts across California, unions are fighting layoffs and reduc-

Anderson was among six classified employees whose jobs were rescued when the college uncovered a $300,000 escrow account that was an artifact of a forgotten Workers’ Compensation action. It is, he lamented, only one-time money. The Cuesta art gallery would fall into near-total disuse if Anderson were laid off — just as it is scheduled to become part of a cultural hub in

despite provisions of the contract. Chukwudire charged that the college was using favoritism and nepotism and had not maintained an accurate seniority list for years out of “incompetence and laziness. We’ve been fighting the district on this for a long time.” At a meeting of trustees in August,

Local 6084, said workers who drop below half-time would lose their benefits. As the local’s chief negotiator for three years, Lowe would know. “Every time it came down to a raise or pay for healthcare increases, and every time we would get a smaller raise because of the increased insurance premiums. We haven’t even kept up with inflation.” To take her local’s concerns to the next level, Lowe attended a recent town hall meeting called by Rep. Sam Farr on healthcare. There the congressman answered concerns about the cost of reform by contrasting the cost of no reform. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

VELMA BUTLER COUNCIL PRESIDENT

SAVING JOBS

The AFT unions at Cuesta College are working together to save threatened classified jobs including those of Tim Anderson, left, art gallery director, Crista Whitney, student center receptionist, and Bill Fairbanks, technology support specialist.

<

ied Employees United Cuesta College Classif tion of Teachers Cuesta College Federa of Teachers California Federation of Teachers, afl-cio American Federation

Long Beach faculty members held up signs supporting the classified workers as well as members of their own ranks, who are hard hit by cutbacks. “The board is very anti-union,” Chukwudire explained. “They are notorious for ‘rule-de-jour,’ as we call it. And we’re facing an attorney famous for union busting so we’re in fight mode.” The college has announced that it plans to lay off “about seven workers.” CUTS WERE EVEN MORE severe for the Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees where 39 members of the 317 in the local lost jobs entirely and 39 others saw their hours cut back. Joan Lowe, the president of

The state budget is in critical condition and unemployment remains at an all-time high. Those are the parameters I have to work within as the newly elected president of the CFT Council of Classified Employees. At this crossroad where we face tremendous challenges, unity and solidarity matter more than ever. We must stand together as classified brothers and sisters, as many groups of workers have done before us. In 1925, when A. Phillip Randolph organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the porters stood together for 12 years before winning their first collective bargaining agreement. In our tough times, the best defense is to be prepared. Know and honor your contract. Know your legislative representatives and engage with them. Know your local and state unions and participate in them. Solidarity does work. Randolph’s famous quotation remains as true today as it was in the 1920s: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

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TOP: JANE HUNDERTMARK

tions in hours that often hit hardest in the new performing arts center the the classified ranks and among adjunct college plans to open this year. faculty. At Cuesta College in San Luis “This is the first job I’ve had in my Obispo, the entire life that was unionI Support district initially ized,” said Anderson, who ort pp Su I Cuesta College Quality threatened to has worked at many places Faculty Education and lay off half the including the Los Angeles and Classified classified staff County and Getty MuseServices Employees at of 300. ums. “There was a lot ge lle Cuesta Co The classiof cooperation, a lot of sta’s Future Fighting for Cue fied and faculty solidarity.” unions fought back with protests, a direct mail card AT LONG BEACH CITY COLLEGE, to board members, and a union budrelations between the classified union get analysis that proved the district and district trustees and adminhad overstated its deficit. The union istration are much testier. Hurtie is still working to prevent two layChukwudire, president of the Council offs, 37 reductions in hours, and disof Classified Employees there, says trict attempts to replace permanent college managers are ignoring senioremployees with hourly employees. ity and refusing to negotiate cutbacks

SHANNON WILLSON

An injury to one…

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Community College

College of Marin teacher Tom Behr joined the union delegation that met with Rep. Lynn Woolsey.

Merger discussions underway between community college divisions of two statewide education unions DURING 2009, REPRESENTATIVES of CFT and the California Teachers Association and their national affiliates, AFT and NEA, began meeting to explore a possible unification of the community college divisions of the two statewide unions. California Teacher spoke with Carl Friedlander, president of CFT’s Community College Council and the leading advocate for unification from the CFT side, to find out how he believes unification would benefit community college faculty and staff.

First of all, what would unification of the two divisions mean? It would mean that all community college faculty and staff would be members of both CFT/AFT and CTA/ NEA. A prototype of this merged structure is United Educators of San Francisco. Every member of UESF is a member of both CFT/AFT and CTA/ NEA. Of course, UESF is a local, and we’re talking about unifying a whole

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CARL FRIEDLANDER COUNCIL PRESIDENT

Continue the fight to keep student fees low

TOP: MINDY PINES

Conservative legislators rail against tax increases but don’t see any problem raising fees for community college students. The steep jump from $20 to $26 per unit was some lawmakers’ idea of step one. During this summer’s budget discussions, there was serious talk of going to $30, $40 or even $60 per unit. The Legislative Analyst, Department of Finance, the misnamed Campaign for College Opportunity and even some Democratic legislators were aggressively promoting higher fees as a way to get “free money” from the federal government. But this federal money isn’t “free.” For those students who are eligible, it’s money that they can now use for textbook costs and other college expenses. If fees go up, the money will be shifted from students’ pockets to state coffers. We need to work hard now to prevent another round of fee increases in 2010-11.

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constituency level of the two statewide organizations. What would this change mean for community college members of the CFT? Life at the local level would not change significantly. As is the case with UESF, individual members could, for example, run as delegates to the state or national conventions of either or both organizations. However, instead of the CCC and CTA’s Community College Association, there would be a single structure that would be an integral part of both statewide unions. How would union finances work under this new arrangement? Per capitas would be split in a way that would be “revenue-neutral” for the state and national affiliates. CFT/ AFT and CTA/NEA would each get less than they currently receive per member, but the membership of both would increase, so revenue would not be lost. Why do you think this would be better than the status quo? There are many benefits of unification, but two really stand out. First, unifying the voice of community college faculty and staff would strengthen that voice. Currently CFT, CTA, FACCC and CCCI let credittaking and blame-laying distract them from forging and implementing a common agenda. The national AFT-NEA “no raid” agreement ended union representation battles between CFT and CTA, but the organizational rivalry between the two statewide unions

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Who’s who in community college unions? AFT

American Federation of Teachers, our national education union affiliated with AFL-CIO

NEA

National Education Association, a national education union

CFT

California Federation of Teachers, our statewide AFT affiliate, represents more community college faculty than CTA, as well as college classified employees

CTA

California Teachers Association, statewide NEA affiliate, represents more K-12 teachers than CFT and K-12 classified employees, but no classified in the colleges

CCC

Community College Council, division within CFT

CCA

Community College Association, division within CTA

CCCI

California Community College Independents, the umbrella organization of the dozen or so independent unions in the colleges

FACCC

Faculty Association of the California Community Colleges, a professional organization representing the interests of faculty, but not a bargaining agent

continues to sap strength and undermine progress. Today, with or without CCC-CCA unification, CTA is moving to affiliate its locals with the AFL-CIO. And let’s not kid ourselves. There’s no going around CTA in state-level California education politics. The defeat of Proposition 92, the statewide community college initiative, in February 2008 taught me that. Unifying all the community college constituencies — including CCA/ CTA— won’t get us across the finish line if “big” CTA is blocking. An important advantage of unification is that it would greatly amplify the community college voice within CTA. How do the leaders of CFT’s community college locals feel about unification? Many are skeptical. There’s lots of bad history. CFTers blame CTA for community colleges getting a raw deal on the “split” of education funds under Proposition 98, and for opposing and helping to defeat Prop. 92. What would you say to the many skeptics? I don’t know if it’s fair to blame

CTA, but even if it is, why would we want to perpetuate a status quo where we can’t shape the outcome? Unification gives us the opportunity to change the rules of a game in which we haven’t been faring very well. What lies ahead in the unification discussions? We’ve got a long road and some of the most difficult issues ahead, including more on finances, but talks have gone better than I anticipated. Representatives from both sides at all three levels — CCC/CFT/AFT and CCA/CTA/NEA — have demonstrated openness, good faith and a commitment to the process. We’ve resolved several issues I thought could be deal-breakers — the right of locals to hire their own staff, the need to keep local leaders at the center of the new organization and to affiliate with the AFL-CIO. On October 17, we’re having a joint gathering of CCC and CCA local leaders. This is certainly the most discussion that’s ever gone on between the two statewide education unions. It’s particularly welcome because it comes at a time of unprecedented threats to education workers and their unions.


Yee successfully carried a bill prohibiting retaliation against an employee for protecting a student’s freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

University

Leland Yee sheds light on scandal and secrecy at UC Fiesty legislator advocates for more workers’ voice, less bloated executive compensation

Q&A

Q Do you think the Legislature has a favorable opinion of the UC management? A Most measures that affect the

with California Senator

UC have received broad, bipartisan support. SCA21 also has a number of co-authors on both sides of the aisle. I am hopeful the governor will agree by signing SB86, SB218, and SB219.

Leland Yee

Q What drives your interest in the University of California?

Q If you could change the UC system, what is the first thing you would change?

A Throughout my tenure in the Legislature, both the UC and CSU have been plagued by scandal, poor management and working conditions, cronyism and conflicts of interest. As alumnus of these institutions, it deeply disappoints me. Unfortunately, there is little the Legislature, or the people of California, can do to stop these abuses because of UC’s unique status as a constitutionally defined entity. While similar systems in the nation share some of UC’s independence — none enjoys the near total independence of the UC.

executives, to unchecked contracting systems that have invited unethical practices and created adverse impacts for those who work at and attend UC. Much of the inner workings of the UC are hidden and decisions are made without public scrutiny.

Q What do you see as the big-

Q How have UC workers in

A I would change the culture that Leland Yee joins UC service employees on strike, advocating for worker participation in governance.

gest problems in the UC system?

particular been disadvantaged?

A The challenges range from unac-

A Those who work within the UC

countable boards of regents and trustees, bloated salary and compensation packages for far too many

Yee’s current bills SB 86 prohibits pay raises for executives when UC does not receive an increase in state funding SB 218 strengthens the California Public Records Act on campus SB 219 ensures UC employees have whistleblower protections as equal to other state employees SB 786 ensures that laws designed to protect free speech are not used to silence those who seek access SCA 21 allows California voters to decide whether the state should create a check on the Board of Regents For more, visit reformtheuc.com

system, excluding some faculty, have no voice in the governance of the system despite their stake in how UC functions. UC workers have no voice on their own public pension board — a right enjoyed by those who work under CalPERS and CalSTRS — and despite our collective best efforts, the UC Regents have no interest in providing such representation.

deaf ear. The constitutional amendment SCA21 would challenge the outdated UC structure and allow the Legislature to have the same input into UC as it has with the CSU. The Regents would still administer the university, but they would no longer be above the law or immune to the policies of our state.

BOB SAMUELS COUNCIL PRESIDENT

<

The UC sells out undergraduate education

Q What positive results could

emerge if the state gained more power over the UC?

A

First, applying open meeting requirements so that poor management decisions would have to be made in public. The terms and appointment process for the Regents could also be changed to allow all stakeholders in UC to have a real voice in its governance.

Q Why is your bill to strip the university of its constitutional autonomy necessary?

Q With $50 billion of investments, why is Yudof resorting to fee increases and furloughs?

A After years of using the platform

A It is unclear why the UC presi-

of the Legislature to encourage and cajole the UC Regents and executives to abide by the tenets of good governance, I and many others have become frustrated that the insulated and aloof administrators and governors of this institution have turned a

exists within the UC administration. The Regents and the UC president often lack a moral compass, fail to do their business with transparency, treat the UC like a private country club, and are completely unaccountable. The public deserves better.

dent has elected to damage the livelihoods of UC workers and students rather than use existing resources to offset the decline in revenues. New and existing executives continue to be offered massive compensation packages.

In a series of unprecedented moves, the UC has turned its back on undergraduate education. Using the pretext of a fiscal emergency, the UC Regents have given president Mark Yudof emergency power, and he is using this “crisis” to privatize the university system. Yudof has argued that in order to make the state budget reduction of $812 million visible on the campuses, courses will be cut, lecturers will be laid off, class sizes will grow, employees will be furloughed, and student fees will be increased. UC-AFT argues that these changes are unnecessary because the UC has a $20 billion budget and has over $50 billion of investments. Moreover, the Regents have approved millions of dollars worth of pay increases for top administrators. UC does not have a budget crisis: It has a crisis in priorities.

S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 9 C A L I F O R N I A T E AC H E R

15


You are the union…

Local Wire

Reporting Local Action Around the State

Poway teacher Michael Anella has a reputation for presiding over a fourth-grade classroom bustling with high-performing kids, year after year.

SHARON BEALS

LOCAL 2357

Midland Magic motivates…One teacher making a difference in the way children read is Michael Anella, a fourth-grade teacher at Midland Elementary School in Poway and member of the Poway Federation of Teachers. Earlier this year, Anella published the children’s book Midland Magic— A Journey Through the World of Figurative Language. He also had 7-inch stuffed dolls called Reading Buddies™ manufactured as teaching aids. “Children love to play with these,” he said “and my kids hurry back to class because they know reading time is about to happen.” Anella makes a game of teaching figurative speech by reading out loud and challenging students to listen for alliteration, hyperbole, idiom, metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification, or simile. Students make a particular hand signal to identify what they have heard. The book’s illustrations are based on pictures from the school: the library and playground look like those at Midland, the buses say Poway Unified School District, and the

16

teacher looks like who else but Mr. Anella himself. >Learn more at whisperwords.com LOCAL 1021

Charter school chooses union… United Teachers Los Angeles is in the midst of bargaining a contract for teachers at Accelerated Charter School. The South Central charter school was featured on the cover of Time magazine a decade ago. Despite its large donor base, the school soon suffered a huge turnover in staff, and rankings slipped. The school is now in year four of Program Improvement. Teachers at the school voted to affiliate with UTLA and look forward to a union contract.

C A L I F O R N I A T E AC H E R S E P T E M B E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 0 9

In memoriam…Former classified division officer Sue Doran died August 7 after suffering a medical emergency in her office at Palomar College in San Marcos. Doran, 59, was an electronic publishing specialist in instructional services, and an outspoken advocate for classified employees in her local, her state and national unions. Doran was a member and officer of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees, and negotiating team member. She Sue Doran served as secretary of the CFT Council of Classified Employees for several years and was an active participant in countless CFT and AFT professional conferences. Her husband, Joe, said that because of the heroic efforts of her coworkers in reviving her, the family members were able to say good-bye. > Memorial contributions go toward a scholarship established in Doran’s name. Make checks out to Palomar College Foundation, and note “Sue Doran Memorial Scholarship.” Mail to Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos, CA 92069.

JANE HUNDERTMARK

DON BOOMER/NORTH COUNTY TIMES

LOCAL 4522

WeAreCFT.org: Union launches online member showcase Check out the union’s new photoblog at WeAreCFT.org, where you can see CFT members from all divisions of education at work in locations throughout the state. A photoblog is like a blog, except that it’s designed primarily to display images. Photos are posted in reverse chronological order, with the most recent on the home page. To see previously posted photos, click “previous” on the navigation bar, or click on the photo itself. Though only one photo appears on each page, you can find the photos that most interest you on the Archive page that displays thumbnails of all pictures. On the bottom of the Archive page are categories and tags, on which you can click, to see, for example, community college workers only, or union members in Davis or Twain Harte or San Mateo. As time goes on, the number of tags will grow, so come back and visit every now and then. >You can comment on the images or the issues presented in the captions by clicking “Share.”

Rank & Files Darrell Costa, an English instructor at Glendale College and member of the Glendale College Guild, Local 2276, has co-written an award-winning film Dheevari Fisherman’s Daughter that won the People’s Choice Award at the Dubai International Film Festival. The film is set in a Sri Lankan fishing village, where a determined young woman tries to overcome superstition, the inequities of a traditional feudal system, and the constant cycle of poverty. Paul Karrer, fifth-grade teacher and member of the North Monterey County Federation of Teachers, Local 4008, had a 33-minute audio show published on NPR Story Corps, a project that honors lives through listening. In the audio show, Karrer, whose award-winning articles have been featured in California Teacher, interviews a former student after his release from a maximum-security prison. To hear the interview, go to tiny.cc/karrer.

Kate McDougall, an English teacher at San Jose Middle School in Novato, and member of the Novato Federation of Teachers, Local 1986, was named the Marin County teacher of the year in August. McDougall, a teacher of 35 years, said she would cry every day when she first started teaching because it was so hard. Now she comes to class prepared and with “an inner authority that allows kids to relax” and make them less likely to act out. Denise Blue, a member of the Glendale College Guild, Local 2276, has published her second book Out There, the Homeless Years, a work of documentary fiction, based on a true story, that traces Dr. Dee’s descent into homelessness. She learns the Rules of the Street, survives, and finally re-emerges as a professional woman who is able to cope with mental illness and alcoholism and reunite with family and friends.

California Teacher, September - October 2009  

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