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the voice of the union


September b October 2010 Volume 64, 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

VOTE! Yes on


End budget gridlock in Sacramento

CFT bill secures classroom doors

CFT picks for the General Election

Educators slimed by L.A. Times

New schools get security locks Page 5

Candidates and ballot propositions Pages 7 and 9

CFT calls out paper’s shame game Page 11


In this issue


All-Union News 3 General Election 6 Around CFT 10 Pre-K and K-12 11

Classified 13 Community College 14 University 15 Local Wire 16

  Marty Hittelman, CFT President

tanya arna iz

What we need today is some…

Talking Blues

I was up in Sacramento and all that I heard

So, if you want to fund education, let me tell you what we need,

was that unions were the problem with the evil they

We have to get together and fight corporate greed.


jane hund ertma rk

Marty Hittelman accepted the Militancy Award from the AFT Higher Education Department. It was given to CFT for its inspirational March for California’s Future.

they were looking for Superman to make things right

We have to do all we can to pass 25

“firing teachers will make kids bright”

and even then we’ll only be half alive.

Reduce funding, increase competition, teach kids to fill

We have to slide right out of Whitman’s hand and join the chorus in Jerry’s band.

in the bubbles. I looked at the TV and what did I see

It’s up to us, to make the fight

It was Wall Street Whitman paying the fee

for better education and all that’s right

She said cuts in public service is the path to prosperity

so don’t let the doomsayers put you down

and regulations are what cause disparity

and don’t leave the arguments to the media clown

She was claiming the unions are who make things bad

and don’t let the big money defeat your goals

but it’s her outsourcing jobs that made me mad.

just get your voters out to the polls. Because together we can win —

I looked at the newspaper and what did I see and we will.

They’ll expose our teachers if we don’t agree Hittelman with Tom Torlakson, CFTendorsed candidate for state schools chief.

To rank our teachers — any method will do


valid or invalid — use whatever’s new, merit pay, value added, a business model — miracles can happen.

Marty Hitttelman CFT President


ON THE COVER Elizabeth Shadish, an instructor of philosophy at El Camino College, reaches out to students about the importance of voting for Proposition 25 during weekly tabling held on the Torrance campus. Shadish is president of Local 1388, the El Camino Federation of Teachers, which represents the faculty.

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

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

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

Photo by bob riha jr

President Marty Hittelman

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

Editor Jane Hundertmark

Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Smith senior Vice-President Mary Alice Callahan executive council Velma Butler, Cathy Campbell, Kimberly Claytor, Melinda Dart, Carl Friedlander, Betty Forrester, 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

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

Editorial office California Federation of Teachers, 1201 Marina Village Pkwy., Suite 115, Alameda, California 94501 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 Email Contributors this issue Kenneth Burt, Velma Butler, Patty Cox, Carl Friedlander, Marty Hittelman, Elaine Johnson, Pat Lerman, Judith Michaels, Mindy Pines, Gary Ravani, Bob Samuels, Malcolm Terence Graphic Design Kajun Design, Graphic Artists Guild

977-M IBT 853

Cert no. SW-COC-001530

For more news from the Federation, visit 2

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Members of the San Diego AFT Guild have placed thousands of calls to its members.

around the union…

All-Union News

Los Angeles city engineers and architects affiliate with AFT Nearly 5,000 public employees join our union of professionals The Engineers and Architects Association of Los Angeles took a historic step on September 2 when the union’s board of governors voted to affiliate with the AFT. “It is a new beginning for EAA,” says the association’s president Sharon Johnson, a systems program-

professionals in virtually every City of Los Angeles department and bureau. The affiliation provides EAA with more opportunities, resources and clout, says EAA Executive Director Joe Kahraman, adding that the affiliation also places EAA where it belongs, “among a larger group of profes-

Sharon Johnson, a systems programmer and president of the Engineers and Architects Association, called affiliation with AFT and CFT a “new beginning” for the union of 5,000 Los Angeles city public employees.

…the affiliation also places EAA where it belongs, “among a larger group of professionals who have come together to improve public services.” mer at the Information Technology Agency. “We are now affiliated with a union that has represented professionals since 1916. I look forward to working with the board, stewards, EAA staff, CFT and AFT to improve our organization, communication with, and representation of EAA members.” The 5,000-member EAA represents

sionals who have come together to improve public services.” “We’re honored that the Engineers and Architects chose CFT/AFT to represent them,” says CFT President Marty Hittelman. “We will be working closely with EAA’s leadership to build member participation and strength, and to help fight, if necessary, in com-

jane hundertmark

—Joe Kahraman, executive director, Engineers and Architects Association

association, EAA grew into a full-service union over the years. The affiliation will go to a vote of the membership for affirmation.

ing battles with City Hall. Their affiliation further increases an already strong AFT presence in Los Angeles.” The organization has a long history. Formed in 1894 as a professional

— By AFT and CFT Staff

Latest state budget ever is Prop. 25 poster child

If Proposition 25 needed a poster child, this year’s budget fiasco is it. The stage was set for massive gridlock with a termed-out governor demanding pension reform and a beefed-up rainy day fund, some legislators adamantly refusing to consider any new revenues, and others unwilling to consider more draconian cuts to public services.

This fiasco was driven by the need to find enough votes for the two-thirds required to pass a budget. The long delay in reaching a deal caused serious cash shortfalls for community colleges and state-supported preschools. A budget finally passed on October 8, 100 days after the legal deadline. It calls for doubling the reserve, a measure that will go before voters in 2012 even though they rejected a similar proposal in the 2005 Special Election. Thanks to strategic lobbying by CFT, classified school employees were spared at the last minute from pension rollbacks that will hit state employees hired after November 10. Legislators suspended Proposition 98, shorting K-14 education to the tune of $4.3 billion this year, but the state must repay education when the

economy improves. The May Revision called for drastic cuts so most district budgets are based on worst-case scenarios. Funding will be better than anticipated. K-12 education will see one-time funds of approximately $275 per student and new funding for the Quality Education Investment Act. To the relief of educators, legislators eliminated the permanent revenue limit reduction in the May Revision. Community colleges will receive about $126 million for enrollment growth, funding for categoricals to partially replace last year’s federal dollars, and increased funds for workforce development and career technology. There is also increased funding for UC and CSU. Legislators did not eliminate Cal-

WORKS (the state welfare program), state-supported preschool programs, or in-home care for low-income disabled and elderly. But the governor used his line item veto to cut $622 million from CalWORKS and childcare to increase the budget reserve. As in past years, much of the budget solution relies on creative accounting, unlikely increases in federal funding, suspension of a corporate tax break, and cuts to salaries of state workers. An improved revenue projection helped close the budget gap. Given the rosy assumptions, it’s likely the new governor will face the same crisis, and the 100-day-late budget simply kicks the can down the road again… unless we pass Proposition 25 and end the tyranny of the two-thirds vote. — By Patty Cox, CFT Research Specialist

s e p t e m b e r / o c to b e r 2 0 1 0 C a l i f o r n i a t e ac h e r


Governor vetoes bill to give retirees voice on CalSTRS Board


CalSTRS chief officer and board member detail challenges ahead CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes laid out bad news at the 2010 CFT Convention. The retirement fund took a 25 percent hit, due mostly to sinking real estate investment, and the portfolio is not likely to invest its way out of the deficit despite 2010 gains in the equity market. Ehnes told delegates the CalSTRS jane hundertmark

lio, but equally concerned about the erosion of public support for public employee pensions. Widener can weather the attacks on public pension funds by right-wing ideologues and repeated Chicken Little-style op-ed pieces. What truly bothers her is that progressive allies are suddenly asking why teachers,

“Our friends now attack teachers. They tell me, ‘Our homes lost value, public programs are disappearing, all because the state has to pay your pensions.’ It’s just not true.”

Carolyn Widener, an English teacher from the Los Angeles community colleges, has held a seat on the CalSTRS Board for the past nine years.

fund would need to substantially ratchet up the contribution from employees (now 8 percent), employers (8.25 percent) and the state (2.017 percent). While the change might be incremental, he said the amounts will be more painful if delayed. The CEO debunked the myth that CalSTRS had no money to pay current pensions, but said actuarial projections show the portfolio running dry by 2044. The state, he said, is obligated to pay core pensions, but not the 2 percent annual COLA or adjustments for inflation. He questioned whether the state would foot an annual bill of $8 or 9 billion to support retired teachers. And that troubles Carolyn Widener. The long-time activist in the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, Local 1521, and nine-year member of the CalSTRS Board is concerned about the erosion of the CalSTRS portfo-

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 1 0

classified workers, and other public employees have it so good with their defined benefit pensions. “Our friends now attack teachers,” she exclaimed. “They tell me, ‘Our homes lost value, public programs are disappearing, all because the state has Jane Richie

Community college teachers elect their representative on the CalSTRS Board. K-12 teachers elect two. But the governor appoints the representative of retired teachers, and five others, to the powerful 12-member board. A CFTsponsored bill to remedy this passed the Legislature, only to be vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger on September 30. AB 1862 was carried by Mike Eng, an AFT member and Democrat from the Los Angeles area. Speaking for the CFT Retirement Committee, Cliff Liehe, a part-time paralegal instructor at San Francisco City College and member of Local 2121, said the bill would have “prevented an anti-public pension governor from appointing someone sympathetic to his position or otherwise not concerned foremost about retirees.” When the Legislature passed CFT-sponsored SB 1580 in 2002, three of the CalSTRS Board seats became elected rather than appointed. Even though this was a significant victory, the board members are elected by active members, leaving retirees, 30 percent of CalSTRS members, without a voice. Six board members, including this seat, are appointed by the governor. Three seats are held by elected state officers. CFT member Carolyn Widener has held the community college seat since 2001. After 40 years of teaching English she has retired and is no longer eligible to run. Widener warned that board membership could change radically after the November elections. California’s new governor will have control over six appointments, half the CalSTRS board, during the next year or so. — Malcolm Terence

Experts find public perceptions off the mark

CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes talks retirement to delegates at CFT Convention this spring.

to pay your pensions.’ “It’s just not true,” Widener said. “When you consider total compensation, public employees make less than workers in the private sector. So why are we being blamed? Because Americans depending on their 401ks and home equity are frightened they won’t have a secure retirement.” In September, fiduciary lawyers told the CalSTRS Board that California’s strong contract law would not allow the state to alter the “core retirement benefit.” The employee contribution rate for current members can only be raised if benefits are improved. Many public employees, such as police, fire, and city workers, negotiate retirement benefits with their employers, so employee contribution rates and benefits can be changed through negotiations. California teachers do not negotiate retirement benefits with their employers. The state sponsors CalSTRS, and only the Legislature can increase employer contribution rates. Adding to the puzzle, the CalSTRS Board may lower its assumed rate of return on investments from the current 8 percent. This would further increase the unfunded liability and bring closer the projected year when the CalSTRS well would run dry without increased contributions. Pension critics have been promulgating all kinds of solutions, mainly reduced benefits, older retirement ages, and creation of a new tier for future hires in which employees would no longer be part of a defined benefit plan like CalSTRS or CalPERS where pension amounts are determined by an actuarial formula and last for life. Instead they would be part of a defined contribution plan, much like a 401k. Widener said some fair-weather allies are now pushing a hybrid plan called a “cash balance plan” that has aspects of both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. “The bottom line,” she added, “is that we must improve retirement security for all Americans.” — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

CFT leads the way in bringing improved level of security to California classrooms

What happened to other CFT-sponsored bills this session?

Interior doors in new schools will be lockable from the inside

AB 1807 Asked districts to negotiate rehire rights (Fong, D-San Jose) Would have put community college districts on notice about the need to negotiate the right of first refusal, commonly known as rehire rights, for part-time faculty. Passed the Assembly Higher Education Committee, but not the Assembly Appropriations Committee that said the cost of implementation was too great.

The 1999 Columbine High shootings left 12 students and a teacher dead in their classrooms. Twenty-three were wounded. In such situations, schools often lock down their facilities to keep students in and perpetrators out. But within the building many doors can only be locked from the outside,

sharon beals

placing students and educators in jeopardy if the adult must go into the hallway to lock the door. On September 30, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law a CFTsponsored bill designed to address this dire threat. AB 211 requires all new school construction projects to include “classroom security locks” that allow classroom doors, as well as any rooms with occupancy of five or more persons, to be lockable from the inside. Responding to the threat of violent or potentially violent incidents on school campuses and in their immediate neighborhoods, the CFT Safe and Nonviolent Schools Committee brought this proposal

To move this important legislation forward, CFT agreed to limit the scope of the bill to new school construction and amended the bill so schools could charge the cost of the improved locks to construction grants contained in voter-approved Proposition 1D. Nonetheless, by the spring of 2009, AB 211 had stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

event of a fire or earthquake. The exit doors must be operable from the inside without a key or any special knowledge or effort, and those doors cannot be locked, chained, bolted, barred, latched, or otherwise rendered unusable. The new breed of classroom security lock allows educators to lock the doors to classrooms, offices, and other rooms quickly, from the inside.

For local unions, passage of AB 211 means that they can take more steps to protect educators and their students, and begin asserting their preferences at the collective bargaining table.

Assemblymember Tony Mendoza, a former teacher, carried the successful CFT bill seeking classroom security locks.

for action before CFT Convention in 2008. Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (D-Norwalk), a former Los Angeles teacher, agreed to introduce legislation. As AB 211 moved through the Legislature, cost was a persistent issue. A security lock costs $30 to $60, and the Office of Public School Construction estimated that construction costs would increase by $160,000 to $320,000 per project.

Almost a year later, the Safe and Non-Violent Schools Committee set up a table at CFT Convention where members could pick up and try out the security locks. With increased member buy-in and lobbying, CFT urged Senate leaders and committee members to send AB 211 to the Senate floor for a vote, where the measure passed easily in late August. Classroom security locks were developed in response to increased incidents of firearm violence in schools. The California Fire Code already contained requirements for school exit doors because occupants must be able to exit buildings or classrooms easily in the

Since teachers do not always carry their keys, the bill allows districts to decide whether the security locks should require a key or mechanisms such as a thumbturn or pushbutton that engage the lock without use of a key or any special knowledge. School districts can choose the type of security locks they prefer, as long as the locks are approved by the Division of State Architects. For local unions, passage of AB 211 means that they can take more steps to protect educators and their students, and begin asserting their preferences at the collective bargaining table.

AB 1902 Cap number of charter schools ( Ammiano, D-San Francisco) Sought a statewide cap of 1,450 charter schools, and prohibited charter school personnel with hiring authority from employing their relatives. Passed the Assembly, but not the Senate Education Committee. AB 1862 CalSTRS retiree board member election (Eng, D-El Monte) Would have changed the CalSTRS Board member representing retired members from one being appointed by the governor to one being elected by the retired members. Passed the Legislature and was vetoed by the governor. >See story page 4. AB 2482 CFT classified seat on Consultation Council (Furutani, D-Long Beach) Sought membership of the Community College State Chancellor’s Consultation Council to include two classified employees, each representing one of two different statewide collective bargaining organizations. Bill succeeded when Chancellor Jack Scott agreed and seated a classified representative from CFT without the legislation. >See full story page 13. AB 2584 Evaluation of Personnel Commission director (Torlakson, D-Martinez) Would have required the personnel commission in school and community college districts operating under the merit system for classified school employees, to conduct a performance evaluation of the personnel commission director, and authorized inclusion of classified school employees in that process. Did not pass first house. SB 1209 Death benefit equity (Romero, D-Los Angeles) Sought to increase the postretirement death benefit paid to the beneficiary of a classified school member of CalPERS from $2,000 to $6,163. Did not pass first house.

— By Judith Michaels, CFT Legislative Director

s e p t e m b e r / o c to b e r 2 0 1 0 C a l i f o r n i a t e ac h e r 5

ivan brickman

General Election 2010

ON NOVEMBER 2 THE Yes on Prop. 25: End two-thirds budget vote CFT-sponsored measure can put an end to state budget gridlock


It’s Simple. Majority Rules

ver the past 20 years, the Legislature repeatedly has failed to pass a budget on time, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions in interest payments and leaving schools, municipalities and state workers holding the bag. The primary reason? The requirement that two-thirds of lawmakers approve the budget. The supermajority mandate turns democracy on its head, handing veto power to the minority,” says a San Jose Mercury News editorial on October 6. The newspaper continues, “Proposition 25 should end budget gridlock by reducing the threshold to a simple majority.” CFT couldn’t have said it better. When approved by voters on November 2, CFT-initiated Proposition 25 will be a first step in fixing California’s broken budgeting system by allowing a majority vote in the state Legislature to pass the annual state budget. California is one of only


Bob Riha jr

YES on

At El Camino College, classified and faculty unions work together during campus outreach. Luukia Smith, left, is president of the El Camino Classified Employees, and Elizabeth Shadish leads the faculty union.

cherri senders

By Pat Lerman, CFT Field Representative

three states that require more than a majority legislative vote for their state budgets; the other 47 states have majority votes. Proposition 25 will also dock legislator salaries and their per diem payments if the budget is late, holding public officials accountable. Prop. 25 does not change the law requiring a two-thirds vote to add taxes. When opponents challenged this assertion in court, the 3rd District Court of Appeal confirmed that Proposition 25 does not change the supermajority currently needed to raise taxes. How did Proposition 25 come

about? Frustrated by perennial budget deadlocks at a time of budget shortages, CFT set out to change the system. Working in concert with other unions, more than a million signatures were gathered, qualifying the initiative for the November ballot. The two-thirds vote mandate has promoted backroom deals, including a cut in corporate taxes for a handful of the largest corporations in the state (Proposition 24 would wipe out that secret deal). In exchange for their budget votes, some legislators have demanded pork barrel spending in their districts. Some have insisted upon corporate tax breaks, the elimination of the eight-hour day, or a rollback of environmental protections. In 2009, then-Senator Abel Maldonado held the budget hostage for his personal career agenda. Support for Proposition 25 is broad and growing daily (see below). Prop. 25 has also been endorsed by newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Times wrote, “Prop. 25 is the real deal.” >For more information, go to

What does Proposition 25 do? b Reduces the vote needed to pass the California state budget from a two-thirds to a majority vote. b Brings California in line with the 47 states that require a simple majority for budget passage. b Holds legislators accountable by docking their pay if the budget isn’t passed on time. b Ends backroom deals made to get a supermajority to pass the budget.

Who supports Proposition 25? At the Los Angeles Community Colleges, classified and faculty pitch in to contact members and distribute campaign materials.


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 1 0

Jerry Brown bCalifornia State PTA bAssociation of California School Administrators AFSME bCSEA bCalifornia Teachers Association bCommon Cause bLeague of Women Voters bLULAC bSierra Club bPeace Officers Research Association of California b Scores of other public officials and unions.

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cherri senders

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Members of the Early Childhood Federation, far left and far right, talk to their Los Angeles- area colleagues and urge a Yes vote on Prop. 25. Carl Friedlander, second from right, from the L.A. College Faculty Guild does the same.

union RECOMMENDS Yes on 24: For tax fairness

On the ballot propositions…

Halts $1.3 billion in corporate tax breaks save one single job. If the tax breaks aren’t stopped, corporations could literally take the money and run while sending jobs overseas or out of state. Also, the more a corporation earns through interstate sales, the less taxes it pays. Almost no other state has this overly generous tax formula. Since public education receives nearly half of state revenues, a tax cut of this size hurts. It shifts the tax burden from enormous corporations to ordinary Californians. At a time when education has lost more than $17 billion, California can’t afford more revenue losses. >To learn more, go to

No on 26: No new two-thirds vote Don’t protect oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies


chris chaffee

roposition 26 has been called the Polluter Protection Act. The hidden backers of this initiative — oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies — have disguised their greedy motives by framing it as a consumer protection measure. In fact, Prop. 26 would shift the

Secretary Treasurer Dennis Smith speaks against Proposition 26 at a press conference.

burden of paying for environmental and health damage from polluters to the rest of us. It is aimed at overturning a unanimous 1997 California Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of a fee charged to paint producers for help to children at risk of lead-based paint poisoning. Currently state and local taxes require a two-thirds vote for passage; fees need a majority vote. Proposition 26 would mandate a two-thirds vote for certain state and local fees. Which fees would be affected? Not surprisingly, those that affect pollution-causing industries. Passage of Proposition 26 would empower a minority in the Legislature to bring public protection to a halt. It would result in costly litigation to determine its legality. And it would shift public funds away from education and other public services into paying for damage caused by irresponsible industries. >Go to



Legalizes marijuana use Allows Californians 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use.

NO 20

Stop Congressional redistricting scheme

YES 21

Preserve our state parks



NO 23

Vote! Your vote matters.


hen one state senator held up passage of the budget in 2009, Sacramento politicians and the largest corporations in the state cut a backroom deal. The ransom for a two-thirds budget vote was an annual $1.3 billion tax break for the state’s largest corporations. Passage of Prop. 24 would stop these underhanded tax givebacks from becoming law, keeping corporate taxes at current levels. The targeted tax loopholes benefit less than 2 percent of California’s wealthiest corporations, not small businesses. In exchange for the tax breaks, these huge corporations made no guarantee to create or

Would give a non-accountable 14-person commission power to redraw our state Congressional districts.

Creates funding to preserve our heritage state parks by adding $18 to the vehicle license fee, and gives California vehicles free park admission in return.

Restricts redirection of funds Prohibits the state from borrowing funds from cities and counties in times of crisis.

Don’t put the environment on hold Suspends implementation of AB 32, which limits emission of greenhouse gases known to cause global warming.

YES 24

Repeal new corporate tax breaks

YES 25

End two-thirds vote to pass budget

Repeals $1.7 billion in corporate tax breaks passed during last year’s 2008 backroom budget deal.

Changes passage of the state budget from a two-thirds to a majority vote of each house.

NO 26

No new two-thirds vote requirements

YES 27

Return redistricting to the Legislature

Redefines “fees” charged to oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies for harm to public health and the environment as “taxes,” which would require a two-thirds instead of a majority vote.

Eliminates the 14-person commission put in place by Proposition 11 in 2008, and returns Congressional redistricting power to the state Legislature.

How CFT makes recommendations >To learn about the candidates, CFT reviewed their records and campaign positions. Some visited CFT meetings to make presentations and to answer questions from members. The union’s endorsements and ballot proposition recommendations can be made by three CFT governance bodies, which one depends upon the timing necessary to impact the election. Votes can be cast by delegates to CFT Convention or State Council, to which all AFT local unions in California may send delegates, or by the CFT Executive Council.

s e p t e m b e r / o c to b e r 2 0 1 0 C a l i f o r n i a t e ac h e r


Knowing who our friends are is key to saving

PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATE The 2010 General Election provides a clear choice for California voters. As educators it is our responsibility to learn about the candidates and the issues, and to vote — either at the polls on November 2, or earlier using your

liza gershman

vote-by-mail ballot.

Jerry Brown Governor


Tom Torlakson Superintendent of Public Instruction


he Superintendent advocates for adequate school funding from the state Legislature and federal government, serves as an ex-officio UC Regent, and is a member of the CSU Board of Trustees. Two educators, Tom Torlakson and Larry Aceves, face off in this election. Both have valuable classroom experience. Torlakson is a high school science teacher and community college faculty member. He has retained his teacher orientation while learning how to get things done in Sacramento as a member of the Assembly. Torlakson is endorsed by teacher, professor and classified employee

groups, including CFT, CTA, California School Employees Association, and California Faculty Association. Aceves, who has been superintendent in a number of school districts, is backed by the Association of California School Administrators.

By Kenneth Burt, CFT Political Director


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he governor’s race provides a clear contrast: one candidate supports public education, educators, public employees, and public services; the other does not. As governor from 1975 to 1983, Jerry Brown increased financial support for public education. He gave teachers, professors and classified employees a voice on the job by signing landmark collective bargaining legislation for K-12, community college, and university employees. The iconoclastic Brown marched with Cesar Chavez, fed the hungry with Mother Teresa, and moved into a downtown loft to better understand the challenges facing people in urban Oakland. Brown’s opponent, CEO Meg Whitman — a former Goldman Sachs board member — is out of touch with ordinary Californians as

she operates in the rarified corporate world of private jets. On Wall Street she engaged in an unethical practice that was later outlawed. After a disinterest in California illustrated by her not voting for years, Whitman has spent $150 million of her money to buy the governorship. Whitman has attacked teachers and other groups of unionized employees, threatened to fire 40,000 state employees, and promised to slash public employee pensions in the first 12 months of her term. She proposes $15 billion in corporate tax breaks that will likely cut $7 billion from schools and colleges. Because education is about half of the state budget, there is simply no way to dramatically shrink the state budget without hurting students and laying off educators.

Barbara Boxer U. S. Senator


oxer was the featured speaker at the CFT Convention this spring. She has supported bills to increase student aid for college students and to prevent teacher layoffs. Her opponent, Carly Fiorina, is extremely conservative on social issues. Fiorina claims that she knows

how to create jobs as a former CEO. But her record as CEO of Hewlett Packard shows she doesn’t: She laid off thousands and shipped jobs oversees. Hewlett Packard finally fired her for failing to produce results.

the future of pubic education

ES WHO MAKE THE GRADE Gavin Newsom Lieutenant Governor

Dave Jones Insurance Commissioner

Gavin Newsom will focus on revitalizing the economy and serve as a UC Regent. As mayor of San Francisco, Newsom enacted universal healthcare for all residents. He was the only California mayor to help fund city schools, partnering with the school district and the union, and he personally called parents of truant students. His opponent, legislator Abel Maldonado, held the state budget hostage to advance his career.

The battle over who will regulate California’s insurance industry is a classic conflict between consumers and industry. This office directly affects your pocketbook. As a state assemblyman Jones led the effort to force health insurer Anthem Blue Cross to roll back massive rate hikes. As Commissioner, he will require large insurers to prove the need to raise rates. His opponent Mike Villines is financing his campaign with insurance industry money.

Debra Bowen Secretary of State

Bill Lockyer Treasurer

Secretary of State Debra Bowen put principles over politics by instituting safeguards to make California’s voting systems accurate, secure, and accessible. Bowen received the prestigious John F. Kennedy Courage Award for her first-in-thenation restrictions on flawed voting systems. She expanded voter education with creative new methods, including a voter-friendly Web site and the use of social media. Her opponent, Damon Dunn, a minister and former NFL athlete, lacks the knowledge and experience necessary to perform the job.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a stabilizing force in state finance, seeks to protect the integrity of employee pensions. He serves as a member of the CalSTRS and CalPERS Boards. A long-time advocate for education, Lockyer signed the ballot statement for CFT’s Proposition 25. His opponent, Mimi Walters, a conservative Orange County state legislator, is running on public employee pension “reductions.” She touts her experience as an investment executive at a major banking firm and her ties to Meg Whitman.

Kamala Harris Attorney General

John Chiang Controller

The attorney general is California’s chief prosecutor, responsible for enforcing consumer, civil rights, and environmental laws as well prosecuting violent offenders. The AG also writes ballot language for state ballot propositions and enforces election laws. San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris understands the connection between education and crime prevention. She believes that strong educational opportunities help prevent crime. Her opponent, L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley, would be a liability when writing ballot summaries.

“State Controller John Chiang has been a hero of sorts during California’s recent distress,” stated California Municipal Bond Advisor in March, “conserving cash flow to make sure California could cover top priority funding requirements such as education and debt service.” Chiang serves on the CalSTRS and CalPERS Boards, and has stood up for fiscal responsibility and the rights of public employees. His opponent, legislator Tony Strickland, has a long record of opposing public employee pensions and minimum wage increases.

To Govern California… Statewide offices

Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Secretary of State Debra Bowen* Attorney General Kamala Harris Controller John Chiang* Treasurer Bill Lockyer* California Senate

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Board of Equalization, #1 Betty Yee* Board of Equalization, #2 Chris Parker Board of Equalization, #3 No Recommendation Board of Equalization, #4 Jerome Horton*

(By district number) 2 Noreen Evans 4 Lathe Gill 6 Darrell Steinberg* 8 Leland Yee* 10 Ellen Corbett* 12 Anna Caballero

14 16 18 20 22 24 26

Larry Johnson Michael Rubio Carter Pope Alex Padilla * Kevin DeLeon Ed Hernandez Curren Price *

28 30 32 34 36 40

Jenny Oropeza* Ronald Calderon* Gloria Negrete McLeod* Lou Correa* Paul Clay Juan Vargas

California Assembly

28 29 30 31 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53

Luis Alejo Michael Esswein Fran Florez Henry Perea Hilda Zacarias Esmeralda Castro Das Williams Linda Jones Ferial Masry Diana Shaw Felipe Fuentes* Bob Blumenfield* Julia Brownley* Mike Feuer* Mike Gatto * Anthony Portantino* Gil Cedillo John A. Pérez* Holly Mitchell Mike Davis* Mike Eng* Ricardo Lara Steven Bradford* Isadore Hall III* Betsy Butler

54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 76 77 78 79 80

Bonnie Lowenthal* Warren Furutani* Tony Mendoza* Roger Hernandez Charles Calderon* Darcel Woods Greg Fritchle Norma Torres* Wilmer Amina Carter* Renea Wickman Jose Medina Carl Wood Douglas Dye Rosalind Freeman Phu Nguyen Jose Solorio* Melissa Fox Gary Kephart Esiquio Uballe Judy Jones Crystal Crawford Toni Atkins Mark Hanson Marty Block* Ben Hueso V. Manuel Pérez*

(By district number) 1 Wes Chesbro* 3 Mickey Harrington 4 Dennis Campanale 5 Richard Pan 6 Jared Huffman* 7 Michael Allen 8 Mariko Yamada* 9 Roger Dickinson 10 Alyson Huber* 11 Susan Bonilla 12 Fiona Ma* 13 Tom Ammiano* 14 Nancy Skinner* 15 Joan Buchanan* 16 Sandré Swanson* 17 Cathleen Galgiani* 18 Mary Hayashi* 19 Jerry Hill* 20 Bob Wieckowski 21 Rich Gordon 22 Paul Fong* 23 Nora Campos 24 Jim Beall Jr.* 27 Bill Monning*

United States Congress U.S. Senate Barbara Boxer* U.S. House (By district number) 1 Mike Thompson* 3 Amerish Bera 4 Clint Curtis 5 Doris Matsui* 6 Lynn Woolsey* 7 George Miller* 8 Nancy Pelosi* 9 Barbara Lee* 10 John Garamendi* 11 Jerry McNerney* 12 Jackie Speier* 13 Fortney “Pete” Stark* 14 Anna G. Eshoo* 15 Mike Honda* *Incumbent

16 Zoe Lofgren* 17 Sam Farr* 18 Dennis Cardoza* 20 Jim Costa* 23 Lois Capps* 24 Timothy J. Allison 26 Russ Warner 27 Brad Sherman* 28 Howard Berman* 29 Adam Schiff* 30 Henry Waxman* 31 Xavier Becerra* 32 Judy Chu* 33 Karen Bass 34 Lucille Roybal-Allard*

35 37 38 39 40 41 43 44 45 46 47 48 50 51 53

Maxine Waters* Laura Richardson* Grace Napolitano* Linda Sanchez* Christina Avalos Patrick Harold Meagher Joe Baca* William E. “Bill” Hedrick Stephen P. Pougnet Kenneth Arnold Loretta Sanchez* Beth Krom Francine Busby Bob Filner* Susan Davis*

s e p t e m b e r / o c to b e r 2 0 1 0 C a l i f o r n i a t e ac h e r


Tom Torlakson gives a hearty welcome to CFT leaders at State Council on September 25

Around CFT Frank Oppedisano joins CFT staff THE NEW FIELD representative Frank Oppedisano brings CFT a wide range of experience. Oppedisano served as executive director of the Newport-Mesa Federation, representing K-12 educators, and worked in the same job with the Coast Federation, representing community college faculty. He helped organize classified employees as an intern with AFT. Son of an Italian immigrant stonemason, he recalls childhood trips to the union hall. His mother has been an AFT member for decades, as a classified employee and a special education teacher. “I visited her special ed classroom when I was 14 years old,” he says. “I have had a tremendous respect for educators ever since.” Based in the Costa Mesa office, Oppedisano fills the job held by Mary Millet, who retired after working with CFT the last six years of her career.

CFT launches statewide Diversity Committee Delegates to the 2010 CFT Convention approved a resolution to develop a program within the CFT that promotes participation and leadership development for people of color. As a result, a Diversity Committee has been formed to make recommendations to increase ethnic minority participation at the local, state, and national levels. The committee will report its preliminary findings to delegates at next year’s convention.

Committee members include, standing left to right, Carl Williams, Lawndale; Velma J. Butler, Los Angeles; Paula Phillips, Berkeley; Carol Richie, Compton; Frank Espinoza, San Jose; Gabriel Torres, Sacramento. Seated are Dolores Sanchez, CFT; Robert Perrone, Sacramento: Elaine Merriweather, San Francisco. Not pictured: Eduardo Arismendi-Pardi, Costa Mesa; Janet Eberhardt, San Francisco; Diana Ramon, Costa Mesa.

Scholarships In July, the CFT awarded 18 scholarships to continuing college students through its Raoul Teilhet Scholarship Program. Starting November 1, scholarship applications will be available for 2011. Students enrolled in four-year courses of study are eligible for $3000; those enrolled in two-year 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, or phone the CFT Costa Mesa office at 714-754-6638


The last day to register to vote is October 18. If you aren’t a registered voter, now is the time to become one. The last day to request a vote-bymail ballot is October 26. If you have a hard time getting to the polls, this is the option for you. Your ballot must be received at the registrar’s office or at any polling place by 8 P.M. on election day. Vote in the General Election on November 2 at your local polling place. Help get education back on track and stop the cuts to education funding. Your vote will matter! AFT Collective Bargaining Conference being held November 16-18 in California is the place to be for new and experienced union negotiators. This practical conference is being held at the Hilton San Diego Beach Resort. Learn more at Division Councils of K-12, classified, and community colleges meet December 4 at the Hilton Oakland Airport.   Application deadline for high school students to apply for a CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship is January 10.

Dependents of CFT members receive union scholarships Raoul Teilhet

Mark your Calendar

to have one mailed to you. Continuing college students who received $3000 scholarships are listed below with the names of their parents or guardians who are CFT members.

Smita Mascharak, daughter of Nandini Bhattacharya, Faculty of UC Santa Cruz

Alaric Chinn, son of Jett Chinn, United Professors of Marin

Mallory Pickett, daughter of Meghan Pickett, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers

Jennifer Dallape, daughter of Kimberly FuerstDallape, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees Julie Gantz, daughter of Jeff Gantz, AFT Guild, San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges Amy Goedert, daughter of Beverly ReynoldsGoedert, Poway Federation of Teachers Sara Gonzalez, daughter of Jesse Gonzalez, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees

Erin McGowan, daughter of Cindy SheaksMcGowan, Ventura County Federation of College Teachers

Committees of the CFT meet January 29 at Los Angeles Valley College.

Eric Navaroli, son of Gina Navaroli, Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees

Alexandra Quintela, daughter of Monica Castro, Turlock Federation of Classified Employees Marcos Ruedas, son of Manual and Sandra Ruedas, Los Rios College Federation of Teachers James Rumenapp, son of Sheila Rumenapp, Ventura County Federation of College Teachers Adlyn South, daughter of Anita South, Jefferson AFT Federation of Teachers Briana Stout, daughter of Lori Stout, Carpinteria Association of United School Employees

Eva Herndon, daughter of Karla Herndon, Berkeley Federation of Teachers

Matthew Wainwright, son of Caroline Wainwright, Novato Federation of Teachers

Heather Houghton, daughter of Cara Houghton, Lompoc Federation of Teachers

BriAnna Webb-Almanza, daughter of Jerri Webb, Poway Federation of Teachers

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Legislative Reception for the new members of the California Legislature will be held in January 24 in Sacramento.

Get your CFT Pocket Calendar! If you did not get a CFT Pocket Calendar from your local union, it’s not too late to get the union’s award-winning 16-month academic year calendar. >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.

UTLA members protested at the L.A. Times on September 14 for its irresponsible publication of rankings.

Pre-K and K-12

Los Angeles Times unfairly names and shames district teachers

Laura Ricard teaches second grade at Huntington Drive Elementary School in East Los Angeles. Of 523 students, 91 percent receive free and reduced-priced lunches; 94.3 percent

In her 27 years with Los Angeles Unified, second grade teacher Laura Ricard has received excellent evaluations, but the Los Angeles Times, using discredited and unfair “valued-added models,” placed her in the “least effective” category.

says it’s unfair. Ricard continuously looks to build upon her craft, to improve her techniques and curriculum. She welcomes advice on how to become a more effective teacher. “I’m not saying go soft on me. But,” she says, “evaluate me

“Laura has a way of getting children to love learning and grow in important areas that are not measured on any standardized test. They will develop vocabulary and catch up because they love reading. I’m extremely happy to get her students in third grade.” — Victoria Leon, third grade teacher, Huntington Drive Elementary School

are Latino; 55.4 percent are English language learners (ELLs). The school’s Academic Performance Index (API) of 725 improved by 49 points in the last two years. Ricard is angry and confused. In her 27 years with Los Angeles Unified, this veteran educator has received excellent evaluations. She finds it difficult to talk about her “least effective” ranking and

on meaningful and accurate criteria that really reflect my effect on my students’ learning.” Victoria Leon is a “highly effective” third grade teacher at Huntington Drive. “I know Laura is a good teacher,” she says. “I’ve seen her teach.” Ricard says she wants her students to get a well-rounded education that includes art, music, science and other

has a way of getting children to love learning and grow in important areas that are not measured on any standardized test. They will develop vocabulary and catch up because they love reading. I’m extremely happy to get her students in third grade.” Leon was appalled by the publication of teacher rankings and fears the result it will have on the profession in general. If her ratings are to be based largely on students’ CSTs, she says she will be less likely to work with student teachers because they would affect her VAM ranking. She adds that teachers will have no incentive to work with mainstreamed students or any other children whose test data are not directly linked to a teacher’s rating. She worries that VAM is >Continued on next page gary ravani council president

subjects not tested on the California Standards Test. “I am not suddenly going to do ‘kill and drill’ and spend the whole day focused on testing. If we focus on test preparation, we lose out on a content-rich curriculum.” Leon admittedly spends time teaching testing strategies. Posted in the back of her room is a poster that reads, “How are you preparing for the CST?” California Teacher visited her class the first week of school during a lesson on multiplication. Using small cube manipulatives to demonstrate that multiplication is repeated addition, she explained to students how they could show 5 x 4 with four groups of five cubes. “But on the CST if you forget your times tables,” she pointed out, “you cannot use these cubes. What can you do instead?” She showed them how to use tally marks on scratch paper. While Leon pays attention to testing, she lauds Ricard’s teaching. ELLs, she explains, need vocabulary development to do well on the CST. “Laura


Time to end reform and begin renewal It is time to end what’s been called school reform and begin school renewal. Reform in its current incarnation (and there have been innumerable incarnations in our country’s history) is related to ideas that are politically fashionable, that deal with predetermined outcomes, are underfunded, and measure results in very narrow ways. Renewal will require a tremendous investment in human capacity. It will require a framework that facilitates collaboration and the ongoing search for improvement. It will not set forth goals and strategies in neat packages with linear implementations and simplistic measurements. Neither kids nor life come in neat, simple packages. Reform is always an effort to get someone to correct his or her deficiencies. Renewal is about making teachers responsible for their profession while giving them the support necessary to apply their own expertise and experience and maximize children’s opportunity to learn.

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Los Angeles teachers felt stunned, battered, abused and confused, as they started their school year. When focus should have been on organizing their classes and assessing new students, attention was on the Los Angeles Times publication of teacher rankings. Based on a controversial “valueadded-models” (VAM) analysis of standardized test scores over the last seven years, the paper assigned 6,000 second through fifth grade teachers a value in English and math that rated them against each other. They divided them into five equal categories from “least effective” to “most effective,” and published their findings on the Times’ Web site. Throughout the country, debate ignited on VAM’s accuracy, the role of standardized testing in teacher evaluations, and how children and the profession would be affected overall. What exactly is an effective teacher? How can we measure effectiveness? What will this mean for society in general?

mindy pines

Educators tell California Teacher about impact of discredited ranking system


mindy pines

Name and shame

>Continued from previous page paving the way towards merit pay and that once instituted, “its effect will be chilling, marking the end of teacher collaboration and morale.” Farnaz Mobasheri teaches highly gifted fifth graders at Carpenter Avenue Elementary School. Carpenter is a high-performing San Fernando Valley school in Studio City. Of 813 students, only seven percent receive free and reduced-priced lunches; 75.9 percent are white; 6.6 percent are ELL. Their API improved only slightly, by eight points since 2008, remaining at 912 in 2010 from 2009. There was a parent backlash, says Mobasheri. Parents called the principal to request room changes. Mobasheri doesn’t oppose getting the VAM data per se, but “publishing it is irresponsible. The public doesn’t have all the data. They don’t understand the margin of error…that this is such a narrow focus of what teaching and student achievement are.” Mobasheri explains that in her new class, only three students are “not advanced.” Two-thirds of her class

Ricard’s colleague at Huntington Drive Elementary School in East Los Angeles, Victoria Leon, praises Ricard’s teaching and says, “I’m extremely happy to get her students in third grade.”

scored very high on their last CST, missing three or fewer problems. She asks, “If I am ranked by how much my students improve in test scores, how can I rate anything better than average? There’s nowhere for them to go.” An educator for four decades, Susan Audap believes the CST is an inappropriate measure of student achievement, let alone teacher effec-

tiveness. Audap has devoted her career to training teachers. She founded the Park Avenue Teachers Center in LAUSD in the 1980s, has been a principal and, currently is a United Educators of San Francisco member who serves on a district-union professional development committee. Audap asks, “How do we know how children are progressing toward

becoming thoughtful problem solvers and cooperative citizens? Does CST measure that? The term ‘multiple measures,’” she explains, “is in every piece of written policy, but it is conveniently ignored. The focus, instead, has been on easy and cheapto-administer multiple choice tests.” “VAM will deepen the education divide in this country,” says Josh Pechthalt, AFT vice president of United Teachers Los Angeles. “Parents in affluent communities will use their resources to make sure their children have enriched learning experiences. Schools and teachers in the poorest communities will be under enormous pressure to raise scores, as they already are, making the education experience drearier for children with the fewest resources.” Pechthalt warned that the broader attack on public education will not go away soon. UTLA is developing a long-term strategy to engage members and parents on value-added and other key issues, he explained. “We won’t turn this around anytime soon, but eventually, students will be seen as multidimensional human beings, not widgets on an assembly line.” — By Mindy Pines, CFT Reporter

Teachers give Los Angeles Times an “F” in journalism mindy pine s

UTLA protests newspaper’s irresponsible and damaging publication of teacher rankings

One Los Angeles teacher gives the newpaper an overall grade of F, with U’s for Work Habits and Cooperation.


On September 14, approximately 1,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles closed down the street housing offices of the Los Angeles Times, marching and chanting in protest of the newspaper’s latest attacks on teachers, their unions, and public education in general. Grace Marroquin, fifth grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary joined the protest because “this system is unfair to children. A one-size-fitsall approach” to measuring success “stigmatizes children who need many types of support.” Value-added ratings are unreliable, inconsistent and counterproductive, according to a report of the Economic Policy Institute which recently gathered 20 experts, ranging from academia to the commercial

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 1 0

testing industry. EPI asserts that VAM should not be used to evaluate teachers as test-based teacher evaluations will narrow curriculum and eliminate incentives for teachers to work with the neediest students. Gregory Sotir, an eighth grade English teacher at Virgil Middle School, sees the Times’ latest actions as part of a larger agenda. He says the Times “has an anti-union history and has targeted our union in particular. They’ve tried to manipulate the public into thinking teachers are overpaid, over-benefited, and not working hard in general.” He marched to support his union and wants “the Times to publish a retraction saying their research was shoddy and irresponsible.” Even National Board Certified

teachers were ranked “least effective.” Board-certified Stacie Webster, one of two Times-rated “ineffective” teachers from West Vernon Elementary addressed the crowd in confused frustration. “The national standards rank me as excellent. But the Times says I’m ‘least effective.’” Teachers do not oppose evaluations, UTLA President A.J. Duffy told the crowd. “We are for an evaluation system that is good for kids and accurate for teachers. We want to change the system…to make sure we have a Peer Assistance and Review process that gives us a say. It is not good enough to just evaluate the teachers,” he concluded. “You have to evaluate the administrators…the parents, and you must evaluate the school system.” — Mindy Pines

El Camino’s Luukia Smith explains the importance of passing Proposition 25.


CFT lands seat on Community College Consultation Council

“The challenge… was to overturn the belief of some Council members that classified workers lacked sophistication enough to understand high level policy issues.” — Diana Ramon, new CFT representative on the Consultation Council

Diana Ramon from Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley now brings the voice of CFT classified employees to the statewide Community College Consultation Council.

was a state senator. The chancellor said the Classified Senate had also competed to fill the new seat, but, “unlike the Academic Senate, the Classified Senate is not rec-

“…strengthening the voice for the community college classified staff in the chancellor’s office was the goal and we did it!” — Dennis Smith, CFT secretary treasurer On a parallel track, Warren Furutani, a Democrat representing communities south of Los Angeles, introduced legislation mandating the new seat. Butler said supporters of the proposal staged a full court press to lobby the Legislature and Chancellor Scott. “We had senators calling Scott, assemblymen calling him, CFT officers, and the California Federation of Labor. We had a connection with Scott before he was state chancellor, and we’re going to improve upon it.” Scott’s website lists high among his accomplishments that he was named Legislator of the Year by CFT when he

works as administrative secretary for the graphics and publications department.

ognized in statute and does not exist on many college campuses. …This was a difficult decision. Both organizations are worthy…yet a choice had to be made, so CFT will add a representative to the Consultation Council.” The Consultation Council is the product of reform legislation

requiring the Board of Governors to establish a statewide process that allows all local district stakeholders to participate in systemwide policy decisions. The Council, chaired by Scott, meets monthly to evaluate and develop proposals, appoint task forces, and offer advice on issues such as legislation and budgeting. Though it is only an advisory body, the chancellor hears all views on issues firsthand so the Council is considered very influential. To fill the new CFT seat, Butler appointed Diana Ramon, member of the Coast Federation of Classified Employees, and an effective advocate on classified issues. Ramon is the local’s elected vice president at Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, where she

What is the Community College Consultation Council? The Consultation Council meets monthly to evaluate and develop proposals, appoint task forces, and offer advice on statewide issues such as legislation and budgeting. Though it is only an advisory body, the chancellor of the California community colleges hears all views on issues firsthand so the Council is considered very influential.

Ramon had lobbied the Consultation Council before the chancellor created the new seat. The challenge then, she explained, was to overturn the belief of some Council members that classified workers lacked sophistication enough to understand high level policy issues. She defended classified workers’ grasp of the issues by pointing out that she has a bachelors degree in English from UC Berkeley, and that other classified employees have masters’ degrees. In her new position, Ramon has already attended two meetings of the Consultation Council. She says the issues on the table often deeply affect the work of classified employees. The initial plan to seek the new seat was proposed by the CCE and approved as a resolution at CFT Convention in 2009. Butler credited CFT officers for their support including Carl Friedlander, who heads the Community College Council, Marty Hittelman, CFT president, and Dennis Smith, secretary treasurer. Smith called Chancellor Scott’s decision “a huge outcome” and said “strengthening the voice for the community college classified staff in the chancellor’s office was the goal and we did it!” — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

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Top: Bob Riha jr

When CFT classified leaders wanted a seat at the table of advisers for the state’s community colleges, they launched a classic campaign. They lined up support in CFT and other unions, lobbied legislators, and had a friendly member of the California Assembly introduce legislation. On August 6, their efforts paid off when Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, added a second classified seat on the council and filled it with a classified member of CFT. Scott noted that CFT had initiated the request and has the second largest representation among classified employees in the community college system. The largest representation is held by the California School Employees Association, which already holds a seat on the Consultation Council. CSEA supported the CFT proposal. Velma Butler, the president of the CFT Council of Classified Employees, said CFT is working with CSEA because both unions face the same issues. “The fight’s the same, and we look forward to working together.”

Sharon Beals

Chancellor Jack Scott grants union the second classified seat on statewide advisory panel

Community College

Phyllis Eckler, an adjunct dance instructor, phone banks in the evenings.

Faculty move lawmakers toward just staffing and compensation Legislature passes Faculty and College Excellence resolution with bipartisan support After two years and three pieces of CFT-sponsored legislation, the California Legislature has thrown its support to “Faculty And College Excellence.” Assembly Concurrent Resolution 138 expresses the intent of the California Legislature that the state’s community colleges provide parttime faculty with equitable pay and benefits, and that the colleges have 75 percent of their courses taught by faculty on the tenure track. It passed both houses on a bipartisan vote just before the legislative session ended August 31. ACR 138 is part of the AFT Faculty And College Excellence campaign that aims to pass similar bills in state legislatures throughout the nation. This time around, CFT drafted FACE as a resolution rather than a bill because of California’s dire economic


carl friedlander council president

Challenges facing CalSTRS

top: cherri senders

Community college faculty need to pay close attention to the big battles brewing over pension reform. CalSTRS shares the underfunding problem common to most major pension plans but is relatively free of the features that rally the defined benefit critics — to maximize the multiplier, for example, you need to work until 63, not 50, 55 or 60. But our retirement system faces some unique challenges: Unlike CalPERS, CalSTRS has no authority to raise employer contribution rates (only the Legislature can do so); unlike many other systems, contribution and benefit levels cannot be negotiated; and post-Medicare retiree medical coverage is the exception, not the norm, in community college and K-12 districts. So options are limited and the challenges are all too real.


situation, and because resolutions do not require the governor’s signature to be codified. Given Gov. Schwarzenegger’s track record on teachers’ rights during lay off, seniority, and collective bargaining, CFT doubted

his signature would be forthcoming. To gain support for ACR 138, college faculty rallied and marched in Sacramento, attended lobby days, testified at hearings, and visited legislators in their home offices. ACR 138 will be transmitted to the governing board of each community college district. The CFT Community College Council will push local governing boards to make FACE a reality. The resolution encourages more collaboration between administrators and faculty, who together can build equitable and sustainable staffing structures. California colleges need more full-time positions, additional support for part-time positions, and real opportunities for part-time faculty who want to move into full-time positions. Significantly, the Legislature’s approval of ACR 138 will serve as an incentive for other states to pass legislation, furthering the goals of AFT’s campaign. Nearly five years

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ago, in response to the national academic staffing crisis, the AFT began this two-pronged approach to link collective bargaining with state legislative action. While collective bargaining remains the most effective way to bring about change for individual faculty at specific campuses, legislative pressure can set the tone at bargaining tables. The national campaign is premised upon two core beliefs. First, the higher education system benefits from having a full-time instructional workforce with job protections. Second, all faculty members, whether working full- or part-time, must be compensated fairly. The CFT continues to phase in these goals through organizing, collective bargaining, and legislative advocacy. Eleven states, including California, introduced ambitious FACE legislation in 2008, setting the stage for victory in Oregon last year and in California this year. As in California, Oregon legislators stopped the bill on fiscal grounds until a working group proposed amendments allowing progress on a few issues. Oregon’s new law not only puts the goals of FACE into Oregon statute, but also gives faculty who teach at multiple colleges access to a health insurance benefit pool. It mandates that districts report the number of adjunct faculty employed, something

On the Web >To learn more, go to You can follow the campaign on Facebook at AFT’s FACE Campaign and on Twitter at AFT FACE.

California achieved in AB 420, comprehensive legislation for part-time faculty signed in 1999.

ACR 138 will be transmitted to the governing board of each community college district. The CFT Community College Council will push local governing boards to make FACE a reality. To support AB 420, Gov. Gray Davis included a line item in his budget for part-time parity. More CFT-sponsored legislation passed in recent years created two budget line items to assist districts in funding office hours and health benefits for adjuncts. These three categorical budget lines may be unique in the nation. The new statement of legislative intent embodied in ACR 138 is another milestone for our state. — By Judith Michaels, CFT Legislative Director

Chancellor cancels bogus deal with for-profit Kaplan The California Community Colleges canceled its controversial agreement that would have allowed students at some colleges to earn credit for discounted online courses at Kaplan University. As reported in California Teacher last spring, the arrangement between the nation’s largest public community college system and for-profit Kaplan drew complaints from the CFT Community College Council and other faculty groups. The CCC argued the system was using public funds to endorse Kaplan. In the end, Chancellor Jack Scott cancelled the agreement, effective September 16, saying the failure to secure UC and CSU transfer agreements for students to receive credit for Kaplan courses would harm students and the system.

Thousands of members are volunteering time in this critical election.


How the bond raters are shaping the UC agenda Moody’s says university awash in unrestricted funds despite plea of fiscal crisis


OC sT Ks


s sTaTe FUnd

T en d U sT Fees

MedICaL CenTeRs


Due to the diversified nature of its funding streams, the UC is able to claim poverty, while it brings in record profits. ments and said the university “has used its own liquidity and borrowings under taxable commercial paper to bridge this funding gap.” In other words, UC is involved in a complicated system of lending and borrowing state funds. While we do not know exactly how much money the university has lost from the state, we do know that even during the fiscal crisis, which justified furloughs and layoffs, the UC continued to increase its revenue and profits. Moody’s says UC financial resources grew from approximately $11 billion in 2002 to nearly $13 billion in 2009, including the recognition of over $2.3 billion of postretirement health obligations. Due to the diversified nature of its funding streams, the UC is able to claim poverty, while it brings in record profits. While the university clearly does not face a fiscal crisis, it does have a

very high level of debt due mostly to ongoing construction projects. While the bond raters are pushing the UC to reduce its retiree liabilities by reducing benefits, this report also shows that the unfunded liabilities are mostly an accounting figure used to justify further reductions in employee costs. If the university wants to reduce its debt and its reliance on the investment services, it is clear that it has to change its focus from construction to instruction.

— By Bob Samuels

Bob Samuels is a writing instructor at UCLA and president of the University CouncilAFT. Read his blog at changinguniversities.

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support accounted for 14 percent of operating revenues during 2009, a decline of $561 million or 18 percent. In 2010, the reduction is estimated to be an additional $637 million. While it looks like the university lost $1.2 billion dollars during the last two fiscal years, most of this money was replaced by federal recovery money, which Moody’s acknowledged. It’s virtually impossible to account for how much money the UC receives each year from the state because of the way California has been paying its bills. Moody’s detailed deferred pay-



e Res


If the university wants to reduce its debt and its reliance on the investment services, it is clear that it has to change its focus from construction to instruction. investments exceeding $10 billion. Since the UC is only paying its retiree healthcare costs on a “pay-as-yougo” basis, the university has close to a combined $16 billion in unrestricted funds and short-term investments, which is not bad for an institution supposedly facing a fiscal crisis. One thing helping the university increase its revenue is its ability to use low-interest rates to take on large amounts of debt. Moody’s reported that UC’s outstanding debt has grown from $8.3 billion in 2006 to more than $13.3 billion in 2009, a 61 per-

University of California Rolling in Dough?


cent increase. While the university appears to have unlimited access to cash, the bond raters warn that the system is plagued by the threat of regulatory changes “coupled with unique stresses on California healthcare, including unionized labor, and seismic requirements.” According to this logic, the only thing holding the university back from making more profit and taking on more debt is the fact that there are regulations, unions, employee benefits, and earthquakes. Moody’s also thinks the university can extract more money from students and says UC is likely to implement more substantial increases. They say increases will be politically driven and “the market drivers would likely allow the university to grow tuition revenues at high rates, especially if the university was willing to seek out a greater proportion of out-of-state students.” One of the central demands of Moody’s, which is matched by the UC administration, is the need to wean the university off its reliance on public funds. The report said state


The universitY trumpeted a recent bond rating report issued September 9 by Moody’s Investor Service that supported reshaping the UC pension plan. According to Moody’s, if the university wants to maintain its high credit rating, it must be willing to “curtail the benefits” or improve ongoing funding of the costs to “sustain its long-term credit quality.” Moody’s says the university is fiscally healthy because it remains one of the premier higher education systems in the world, serving over 220,000 students, conducting over $3.7 billion of research annually, and generating more than $5 billion of net patient revenue in 2009 at its five academic medical centers. Moody’s does not mention that the medical centers do not want to share their profits, and the research grants may already be costing UC money. Instead, the bond raters stress how UC is rolling in unrestricted funds. According to Moody’s, UC has a “sizeable balance sheet that remains highly liquid.” It lists $3.5 billion of unrestricted financial resources ($5.9 billion excluding post-retirement health liabilities) and short-term


You are the union…

matthew hardy

Local Wire

Reporting Local Action Around the State

about closing the achievement gap between the haves and have-nots, we must start by addressing preschool and school readiness.”

Rank & Files Adrienne Zanini, an elementary teacher from the Jefferson Elementary Federation of Teachers, Local 3267, was honored by the San Mateo County Labor Council for her 38 years of teaching and union activism. A long-time local president, she held many positions in her Daly City-based union and sat on the labor council’s executive board.

LOCAL 1521

UESF not waiting for Superman…During screenings of the the controversial film Waiting for Superman, members of United Educators of San Francisco were out front, wearing vivid Super Teacher t-shirts. They offered literature to audiences which explained, “You are about to watch a powerful film that will evoke strong emotions. Unfortunately, though heart-wrenching, this film offers a very limited view of the problems facing our schools.” The leaflet listed questions for viewers to consider after seeing the movie, including, “Why didn’t the film show the successes of most of our public schools?” and, “What are you going to do to improve education for all?” The educators engaged audience members in conversations about innovative and successful programs in the city’s public schools through which the union has cooperated with the district to improve instruction for all students. > Go to, for ideas and tools for discussion about how local unions are taking the lead in improving teaching and learning.

LOCAL 2199

Eating pie for education… Faculty, students and staff gathered on the UC Santa Cruz campus October 7 as part of the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. To draw people to the rally a group of bikers made its way through campus in the morning. They were followed by pom-pom waving “radical cheerleaders.” Then came pale-faced zombies carrying signs such as, “Witness the death of public education.” The event organized in part by Faculty of UC Santa Cruz concluded


with a faculty-enacted “Who’s Eating Your Tuition Pie-Eating Contest” skit that dramatically illustrated how executive compensation is gobbling up UC funding.

LOCALS 6192 AND 1078

Berkeley saves 20 jobs…Nearly 200 parents, children, staff, teachers, and government officials rallied at the Berkeley Unified district offices on August 5 after the school board authorized layoffs of preschool and child care staff.

LOCAL 1475

Weingarten at L.A preschool… Emphasizing the need for universal access to early childhood education for disadvantaged children, AFT President Randi Weingarten visited Los Angeles’ Kedren Nickerson Gardens Head Start Center on August 19. The center serves low-income African-American and Hispanic students, most of whom reside in the adjoining public housing development, and employees are represented by the Early Childhood Federation. “Too many of our most disadvantaged children are falling through the cracks and showing up to kindergarten already behind their peers,” Weingarten said. “If we want to get serious

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 1 0

Austin White, Valerie Sherer Mathes and Julia Bergman,

tanya arnaiz

Local 61

College students get political… Los Angeles community college students are interning in a Los Angeles College Faculty Guild program that immerses them in electoral politics. The 54 interns learn organizing skills during 36-hour training sessions provided by the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute with the Los Angeles Trade Tech Center. Then they are off to register students to vote, organize rallies for school funding, meet with legislators, and work on labor organizing campaigns.

Berkeley Federation president Cathy Campbell leads a rally to save jobs.

Funding cuts proposed by the governor would have forced the closure of several early childhood programs that serve hundreds of children. The Berkeley Federation of Teachers and the Berkeley Classified Council of Employees rallied to shine a light on the victims, Berkeley children. At the August 18 school board meeting, union members and parents successfully urged the board to save programs for low-income students. As a result 20 jobs were retained.

members of San Francisco Community College Federation of Teachers, Local 2121, combined their talents to publish City College of San Francisco, part of the Campus History series by Arcadia Publishing. Based on Austin’s research, historian Mathes and librarian Bergman added stories and anecdotes. The book contains 204 photographs and images, most never seen before.

Aaron Braxton, a 14-year Los Angeles teacher, member of United Teachers Los Angeles, Local 1021, and performer of a show called Did You Do Your Homework? won in August the 2010 NAACP Theatre Award for Best One-Man Show. The show traces one substitute teacher’s journey through the bureaucracy of an inner-city school.

Dennis and Hene Kelly, career educators and union activist members of United Educators of San Francisco, Local 61, were honored by the San Francisco Central Labor Council on October 14 for their dedication to all things union. Dennis is now president of UESF and a vice president of the AFT. Hene is chair of the CFT Retirement Committee and an elected member of the San Francisco County Democratic Party Central Committee.

California Teacher, September - October 2010  

Vote! Yes on 25

California Teacher, September - October 2010  

Vote! Yes on 25