the voice of the union
CaliforniaTeacher c a l if o r n ia
f ed er a t io n o f t ea c h er s , A f t
February b March 2010 Volume 63, Number 3â€‚
a f l -c io
Join the March.
March 5 to April 21. 250 miles. Bakersfield to Sacramento.
Get petitions for Majority Vote Ask your family and friends to sign Page 6
Meet CFT marchers making 48-day trek Be a marcher, follow march online Pages 8 & 9
When work hurts after the layoffs Pain of losing hours, colleagues Page 13
In this issue
All-Union News 3 Why We Teach 10 Around CFT 11 Pre-K and K-12 12
Classified 13 Community College 14 University 15 Local Wire 16
Marty Hittelman, CFT President
Our message to the governor and legislators: As we march, we will only grow stronger!
We are fed up with the direction our state and country are taking. We want government that serves our shared needs.
ON THE COVER Nearly 30 CFT members of San Diego’s AFT Guild joined the start of the March for California’s Future on March 5 in Bakersfield. Even though their bus got a flat tire, and their box lunches did not materialize, their spirits were soaring. “The solidarity is just amazing,” said biology instructor Michael Golden. They are especially supporting their colleague Jim Miller, who dedicated himself to walking the entire 260 miles.The AFT Guild represents educators in the San Diego college district and faculty in the nearby GrossmontCuyamaca district. Pho to by bo b rih a, jr
O n March 5 , the CFT kicked off the “March for California’s Future” at a huge rally in Los Angeles. (See opposite page.) Then, along with our coalition partners, we rode in buses to Bakersfield, where we rallied again before starting a 48-day march through the Central Valley to Sacramento. The CFT organized this massive effort to express outrage, and to educate the public about the crisis California is facing and what can be done about it. Schools and colleges have lost more than $18 billion in funding over the last two years, and the governor proposes cutting another $2.4 billion. The governor wants to reduce the number of people who receive In-Home Supportive Services by 87 percent while cutting the wages of in-home workers to $8.60 per hour. He wants to cut benefits to the aged, blind, and disabled by $300 million. He wants to cut childcare. Yet he calls for no sacrifices from the very wealthy. A few individuals and corporations are hoarding resources that could benefit so many Californians. They have profited enormously but do not pay their fair share of taxes. For the governor and the legislators
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. Preside nt Marty Hittelman Secre tary-Tre asurer Dennis Smith se nior Vice-Preside nt Mary Alice Callahan exe cutive co uncil Velma Butler, Cathy Campbell, Kimberly Claytor, Melinda Dart, Carl Friedlander, Betty Forrester, R osa María García, Gus Goldstein, Miki Goral, Marc Houle, Carolyn Ishida, Dennis Kelly, Jim Mahler, Elaine Merriweather, Dean Murakami, Linda O lsen, Joshua Pechthalt, Gary R avani, Zwi R eznik, Laura R ico, Francisco R odriguez, Sam R usso, Bob Samuels, Luukia Smith, Kent Wong, David Yancey
who have voted to cut services without raising revenue, we have a message: “Bring some sanity to your budget actions. We will not go away. As we march, we will only grow stronger.” Every person has the right to a job, decent healthcare, safe neighborhoods, quality education, environmental sustainability and a peaceful, secure planet. We are fed up with the direction our state and country are taking. We want government that serves our shared needs. Americans have marched for change before. bIn 1932, a thousand veterans, many unemployed and homeless, converged on Washington, D.C. The “Bonus Expeditionary Force” grew to over 17,000. The House of Representatives responded, authorizing $2.4 billion for the veterans’ bonus certificates, but the measure was ultimately killed in the Senate. bIn 1965, 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, Alabama. When they arrived, they were 25,000 strong. Five months later President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. bFrom March to April in 1966, Cesar Chavez led striking farm workers
340 miles from Delano to the steps of the state Capitol. That march and subsequent boycott led to the first contract for the United Farmworkers. Many of us have marched against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. And we are marching again — this time to fight for California’s future. In 1942, folk singer Josh White joined poet Langston Hughes to address racism and the war against fascism in the song “Freedom Road.” At the end of the song they declare: United we stand, divided we fall, Let’s make this land safe for one and all. I’ve got a message, and you know it’s right, Black and white together unite and fight. That’s why I’m marching, yes, I’m marching, Marching down freedom’s road. Now we march with our brothers and sisters in other unions and organizations who believe in a healthy public sector financed by a progressive tax system. And as we march, we know we are in step with history’s great lesson: The people united will never be defeated! Persevere,
CaliforniaTeacher (ISS N 0410-3556) is published four times a year in September/O ctober, November/ December, February/March and April/May by the California Federation of Teachers, 2550 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 400, Burbank, CA 91505, and mailed to all CFT members and agency fee payers. Annual subscription price: $3 (included in membership dues). For others: $10 per year. Periodicals postage paid at Burbank and additional mailing offices.
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Edi tori al o ffice California Federation of Teachers, 1201 Marina Village Pkwy., Suite 115, Alameda, California 94501 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors this issue Jim Araby, Tanya Arnaiz, Kenneth Burt, Velma Butler, Megan Dias, Patty Cox, Carl Friedlander, Marty Hittelman, Lance Howland, Elaine Johnson, Deborah Kaye, Judith Michaels, Mindy Pines, Gary R avani, Bob Samuels, Malcolm Terence, Sandra Weese, R osanna Wiebe, Kent Wong, and the March for California’s Future Graphic Design Kajun Design, Graphic Artists Guild
977-M IBT 853
For more news from the Federation, visit www.cft.org 2
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Tina Fletcher and R ebeca Alvarez sign petitions for Majority Vote.
around the union…
for everyone. Some of us came here to work on the docks, some came to work in the movies, some came to work in the fields. It came to be the California Dream. “California created institutions that
Bo b R ih a jr
A boisterous asse mbl y of 1,500 supporters crowded into Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Los Angeles to launch the March for California’s Future. Mood shifted from union meeting to revival meeting as speaker after speaker praised CFT, the creative force behind the 48-day march up the Central Valley.
CFT members cheer on the marchers at the launch of the march in Los Angeles on March 5.
CFT President Marty Hittelman, greeted with tumultuous applause, thanked the “brave walkers” for their dedication, the CFT officers and staff for believing in the march, and partner unions AFSCME, SEIU and CSEA. Chants of ‘Si Se Puede’ ushered in the president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Maria Elena Durazo. She spoke for those in the room when she said, “We came because California had something
Join the March! >Learn how you can participate in the March for California’s Future. See pages 8 and 9.
made that dream possible, including some of the finest colleges and universities in the world. Workers could share in the wealth they produced.” “But those times are gone,” she said. “We need to tell our elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, that on behalf of our grandchildren, we all have a right to the same dream.” Durazo called on native Angeleno, and Colombian, Josh Pechthalt, a leader of United Teachers Los Angeles and a CFT vice president. “I’m honored to be part of the CFT group that came up with this idea,” he said. Doug Moore, the leader of 60,000 home care workers in the Central Valley, called it “a people’s march.” His union, the United Domestic Workers,
joined the movement early. “We must stand as one, in solidarity and tell our representatives, enough is enough.” CFT’s Jim Miller, a teacher at San Diego City College and member of AFT Local 1931, is marching the whole distance. “I’m not here marching to save my piece of the pie. I’m here to save domestic workers, save state parks. We are here to take it to Sacramento to say when you cut education, when you cut public services, you are not a friend of California.” The closer was Laphonza Butler, president-elect of a 190,000-member union of home health care workers, SEIU-ULTCW (United LongTerm Care Workers). First she thanked CFT. “I want to recognize and appreciate the CFT, who had the courage to press forward and put this event together.” Then Butler went on to bring down the house with her union revival speech.
“This is not a march. I know the sign says that, but I think this is the launch of a journey.” — Laphonza Butler, SEI U-ULTCW
“This is not a march,” she declared. “I know the sign says that, but I think this is the launch of a journey. I’m also convinced the destination is not Bakersfield, or Sacramento, or that fun place called Chowchilla. I’m convinced the place we are trying to get to is Justice. And Glory. You will find those on the map right next to Dignity.” Butler pledged that her union would be with the marchers for the next 48 days. “Put on your walking shoes, pick up your bullhorns, and start this walk to justice.”
Educators, staff, students, parents and
other supporters throughout California came together as one to cry out “enough is enough” in the March 4 Day of Action in Defense of Public Education. O ne educator, Jamie Carlson, Jamie Carlson, a literacy coach at a literacy coach Emerson Elementary in Berkeley, at Emerson leafleted parents before school. Elementary School in Berkeley, was among her Berkeley Federation of Teachers colleagues who leafleted before school to inform parents about the crisis and what they can do to help. Carlson was taking part in the Day of Action because she believes in how the entire education community was joining together, to make a statement. “We have to support education because it’s our future. We have to educate our citizens to handle the problems of the future. And,” she added, “we have to educate them well.” O ne goal of the day was to connect the crisis in public education with the need to fully fund education and raise revenues by closing tax loopholes. To achieve that, educators like Carlson took to the streets, leafleting before school at children’s centers and K-12 campuses, conducting rallies, walkouts and teachins at universities and high schools, and rallying at government centers. Protestors also took to cyberspace, blogging, “twittering,” “facebooking” and communicating however else they could to protest cuts to education and vital community services, and to demand equitable solutions from the governor and the state Legislature. To p:j ane h und er tmar k
Broad coalition of unions and community groups launch 48-day march
Thousands protest budget cuts on March 4 mindy pines
L.A. rally kicks off a journey towards justice
— By Jane Hundertmark, Editor
Febr u ar y/March 2010
Jim R ose, from the O xnard Federation.
CFT brings in the money experts to talk about state finances T here’s nothing like hearing about finances from those who collect the money and write the checks. CFT members learned firsthand from three money experts on January 22 at its Budget Conference held at the Hilton Oakland Airport. The conference was open to all members and hosted by the CFT EC/K-12 Council.
Phil Ting, Assessor-Recorder, San Francisco As an assessor, I see exactly how unfair Proposition 13 is every day. I see the loopholes and can’t get rid of them. It’s the law and I took an
John Chiang, State Controller Gov. Arnold first cut taxes when he ended the Vehicle License Fee. Last year we gave a billion dollar tax cut to corporations. We can argue our taxes are too high, but some things are not taxed at all.
The fastest growing component of our state budget is debt service. This is crowding out our ability to finance education and other services. The governor and the Legislature wait too long to make decisions. It’s like borrowing too much on your credit card, and having bounced checks with big charges. You just get farther behind. Today I told the governor that we would run out of money. I try to keep a $2.5 billion cash cushion because our revenues are so volatile. O n March 30, we fall below the cushion. April 1 we go into the red.
I may need your help if the governor threatens payments to school districts, especially in rural districts, which don’t have enough bandwidth in finances to cover missed payments. Even though you are the Number 1 protected payment, we are close to going off a cliff. You have to be ready to battle if funds to education are withheld. If we do the right thing and reestablish the moral ground, we can win in California. >Visit the controller’s Web site at sco.ca.gov
oath to uphold the law.
Most people think Prop. 13 only applies to homeowners, not hotels like this one, or Disneyland or Great America. Prop. 13 did three things. It froze the value of your home and all properties to 1975 prices. It said the tax rate cannot be more than 1 percent of assessed value, which can go up only 2 percent per year until the property is sold. Last, it allowed
the two-thirds vote required to pass a state budget. We ask ‘Should this hotel be treated the same as your house?’ We want to treat commercial and residential differently, and continue to protect homeowners. If we change this, California could raise up to $7.5 billion in revenue. Statewide, the assessment roll has declined by 2.4 percent, equaling a decrease from $100 billion to 80 billion. That is the core problem of our declining funds. We can’t cut our way out of this mess, so we have to raise some revenue. California makes up its deficits by borrowing and we are spending money we don’t have. >To learn more, go to closetheloophole.com
Jean Ross, California Budget Project I am running out of words to describe the problems we are facing. It’s all very depressing.
For the year we are in now, the state is missing half the money it needs to pay its bills. What would your life look like if you lost half the income you needed to pay your bills?
The problem is when you have years stacked up like this in a row. Every year since 2001, the state has faced a budget shortfall. O ther states were doing great when California was not doing well. We didn’t have those good years to put some money away. Then the economy fell apart in ways we have not seen before since the Great Depression. We don’t need more cuts, but the reality is there will be cuts and they will be ugly.
We have been cutting and cutting since 2001. Your job is to help the Legislature increase revenues. Where do we get the money? Extend the temporary tax increases that were approved last February. The oil severance tax is a reasonable thing. I think we ought to be looking at reinstating the top tax brackets for the wealthiest Californians. It is going to be a very unpredictable year. >To see in-depth analysis, go to cbp.org
The governor’s new budget proposal: “It’s déjà vu all over again”
pho tos: sh aro n beals
Who would ha ve thought that Yogi Berra’s “It’s déjà vu all over again” would apply to California’s budget fiasco? Gov. Schwarzenegger called yet another special legislative session to deal with the latest $20 billion shortfall outlined in his January budget proposal. Once again, his cuts target the most vulnerable populations and emphasize the critical need for increased revenues. Democrats found a way to shave $5 billion, but refused to consider more cuts to health and human services and education until release of the budget revision in May, hoping new revenues lessen the shortfall.
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The governor proclaimed he would “protect education funding” in his State of the State address and announced a “fully funded” COLA for the first time in years. But in an especially cruel twist, the projected increase is negative 0.38 percent. His call to change a sales tax on gasoline to an excise tax could impact the Proposition 98 calculation for funding education. Revenue from the sales tax is included in the calculation, but not from an excise tax. The governor asks for more federal dollars, saying California needs its “fair share.” If the funds don’t come through, he proposes more
cuts, triggered automatically. K-12 schools The governor avoided more mid-year cuts by tapping undistributed dollars, including funds intended for K-3 class size reduction. Under the familiar guise of providing flexibility to K-12 districts, the governor proposes eliminating Education Code protections affecting seniority, substitutes, and layoff notices, as well as contracting out. He calls for $1.3 million to be cut from “administration,” but it’s not clear how that would be realized or monitored. Community colleges The governor proposes funding for an addi-
tional 26,000 students. This would benefit colleges facing unprecedented enrollment, and already educating many students over their funding caps. Remember, this is only a proposal. In May, the governor releases his revision. The Legislature is required to place a balanced budget on his desk by June 15. But if past practice continues, Yogi Berra will be right — it is highly unlikely the legislators will agree on a package of tax increases and spending cuts to meet their deadline — again. — By Patty Cox, CFT R esearch Specialist
>See page 6, Majority Vote solution
UC Santa Cruz grads include the CFT’s George Martinez, left, and Josh Pechthalt, right.
Honduran teacher, poet and organizer Waldina Mejia.
Worldwide attacks on educators and their unions examined Dana Frank, left, organized the conference on global perspectives. Speakers included Lois Weiner, a union officer turned professor.
St eve D iBar to lo meo
A ccording to Pauline Lipman, the “Chicago Model,” as articulated by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, features the neo-liberal roots of privatization and marginalizing of unions. She said Duncan’s first act was to promise help to Detroit’s drastically underfunded schools on the condition that they embrace the Chicago Model. In Chicago, that included top-down mayoral control, closing neighborhood schools and opening charters, and the loss of thousands of teacher jobs. When schools were closed, students were often bussed to distant neighborhoods. Turf wars flared and violence resulted in student deaths. Duncan’s Detroit deal would also allow mayoral control. The city would need to raise test scores, tie teacher pay to scores, and close schools. Lipman likened this formula to writer Naomi Klein’s model of disaster capitalism. In that model, a government (such as the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile) seizes on the
disorder of the moment to impose economic change that would not otherwise be tolerated by the public. Lipman, a professor of education at the University of Illinois, was one of numerous speakers at a UC Santa Cruz conference titled “Teachers’ Unions, Education and Social Justice — From the Local to the Global.” The January conference was organized by history professor Dana Frank, an AFT member, and head of the UCSC Labor Institute. In opening
remarks, Frank said teachers and their unions all over the world are fighting attacks on education. These attacks are deliberate and coordinated, she said, and blame teachers for student outcomes beyond their influence, like poverty and class. These issues were explored further by Lois Weiner, an education professor from New Jersey and a union officer when she taught in Hayward. Weiner described a Merrill-Lynch report that viewed schools as potential marketing opportunities. That report dismissed the social safety net as an impediment to markets. It said governments were wasting their money educating people because society didn’t need a highly educated workforce, or a highly educated pro-
fessional teaching staff. In this scenario, teachers would follow scripts and, if they asked for more compensation, would get fired. She cited examples from Chile and Senegal where this approach was tested.
These attacks are deliberate and coordinated, and blame teachers for student outcomes beyond their influence, like poverty and class. —Dana Frank, UCSC Labor Institute In closing, Waldina Mejia brought stories of Honduran teachers leading the citizen uprisings that opposed last summer’s coup against President Manuel Zelaya. A teacher and prominent poet in her homeland, Mejia said 25 of the 200 teachers in her school were active in the struggle and that teachers had been arrested, disappeared and killed. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT R eporter
Women’s History Month
CFT honors the 2009 historic Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act significantly less than men doing the same job. A federal jury ruled in her favor but Goodyear appealed, and in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ledbetter—and other workers—had no right to sue for a remedy in cases of pay discrimination more than 180 days after the first paycheck, even if
“What happened to me was not only an insult to my dignity; it has real and meaningful consequences for my ability to care for my family.” — Lilly Ledbetter The act corrected the U.S. Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding the timely filing of pay-discrimination claims. The bill is named after the Alabama woman who, after working nearly 20 years at a Goodyear Tire plant, discovered she had been paid
she didn’t discover the pay discrimination until years later. Based on the Supreme Court’s misguided ruling, hundreds of pay discrimination cases were thrown out of court. The AFT had long supported Lilly Ledbetter’s quest to ensure that all workers receive equal pay for equal
work. At the AFT Convention in 2008, Ledbetter’s advocacy was recognized when she was given the union’s 2008 Women’s Rights Award. “What happened to me was not only an insult to my dignity; it has real and meaningful consequences for my ability to care for my family,” Ledbetter said at the awards breakfast. AFT President Randi Weingarten said the AFT has “always fought for fair pay, especially for many members who work in education and healthcare — jobs traditionally held by women and, therefore, historically underpaid. We commend Lilly Led-
better for her unfaltering commitment to fairness and equality for all workers.” Now, the AFT, along with Ledbetter, are working to win congressional passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen enforcement of the Equal Pay Act. — By AFT Staff
Tools for Teachers The AFT has compiled resources for Women’s History Month including Library of Congress lesson plans for middle school students and an interactive Web site allowing high school students to analyze roles of women from 1800 to the present. >Go to aft.org/yourwork/ tools4teachers/women/index.cfm. >For a summary history of the suffrage movement, go to http://archive.aft.org/ tools4teachers/women/suffrage.htm
Febr u ar y/March 2010
to p: St eve D iBar to lo meo
A s par t of Wo men’s History Month, CFT reflects on last year’s milestone in the fight to win equality for women in the workplace when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law — the first bill-signing of his new presidency and a signal that the issue of fair pay is one of his administration’s priorities.
CFT sponsors new Help put CFT’s Majority Vote measure on ballot legislation to bring equity, representation Your individual effort can help change California’s flawed budget process T he CFT has launched a major effort to reform the dysfunctional budget process in Sacramento with the goal of ensuring an educationfriendly, on-time budget. In recent years, a handful of conservative legislators have repeatedly blocked the budget’s adoption until they gain economic or policy concessions. Last year, they gained more than a billion dollars in special interest tax
AB 1807 Job security for adjuncts (Fong, D-Mountain View, and Nava, D-Santa Barbara) R equires community college districts to place the names of temporary faculty employed 67 percent or less on a reemployment preference list. Provides listed employees with rights of first refusal to teaching assignments.
ture to pass a state budget by a Majority Vote (50 percent plus 1). California is one of just three states that requires
Help put an end to state budget gridlock! Sign the petition to put Majority Vote for the state budget on the November ballot.
Matthe w Ha rd y
AB 1982 Accountability for charters (Ammiano, D-San Francisco) Addresses the cap on charter schools, procedures for authorizing them, and accountability.
AB 2482 Classified representation in college governance (Furutani, D-Long Beach) R equires the Community College Board of Governors to include on its consultation council two classified employees, representing two collective bargaining organizations. AB 1862 Elect retiree on CalSTRS Board (Eng, D-Monterey Park) Allows retired members of CalSTRS to elect the CalSTRS board member who represents retirees, instead of that member being appointed by the governor.
Carry-ov er bill s fro m 2009 AB 211 Safe classroom door locks (Mendoza, D-Artesia) R equires new construction school projects to include locks allowing doors to classrooms, and rooms with an occupancy of five or more persons, to be locked from the inside. AB 2584 Classified role in Commission Director evaluation (Torlakson, D-Martinez) R equires biennial evaluation of the Personnel Commission Director and inclussion of classified employees in that process. (Formerly AB 379)
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a two-thirds legislative supermajority (67 percent) to pass a budget. Along with Majority Vote, the initiative aims to motivate legislators. On the premise that six months is long enough to prepare a budget, the initiative proposes taking away legis-
Collecting signatures 101: Make them count H ere’s ho w to do it! Download a petition at cft.org, along with the legal requirements to make sure the signatures on your petition will be counted. For example, each petition should have the county name filled in at the top of the form before gathering signatures. If you are getting a signature from someone from another county, you must use a different petition. Only registered California voters may sign a petition. After signatures
are gathered, you must fill out and sign the Declaration of Circulator section on the bottom of each petition. Use a blue or black ballpoint pen only. No kidding, it’s true! Don’t use pencils, felt-tipped pens or pens with different colors. >To be counted, petitions must be returned no later than April 2. Mail to James Araby, Statewide Affiliate Political Organizer, CFT Bay Area Office, 1201 Marina Village Dr, Suite 115, Alameda, CA 94501.
INITIATIVE MEASUR E TO BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO THE VOTERS The Attorney General of California has prepared the following circulatin of the chief purpose and g title and summary points of the proposed measure: 09-0057. CHANGES LEGISLATIVE VOTE TWO-THIRDS TO A REQUIREMENT TO SIMPLE MAJORITY. PASS A BUDGET FROM RETAIN TAXES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMEND S TWO-THIRDS VOTE REQUIREMENT necessary to pass the state FOR MENT. Changes the legislativ budget from two-third e vote requirement fails to pass a budget s to a simple majority. bill reimbursement for salary by June 15, all members of the Legislatu Provides that if the Legislature re will permanently forfeit and expenses for every Summary of estimate day until the day the Legislatu any by re passes a budget bill. government: Unknown Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state changes in the content requirement for passage. and local of the state budget from Fiscal impact would lowering the legislativ Legislatures. Minor reduction depend on the composit e vote ion and actions of future in state costs related budget bill is passed after to compensation of legislator June 15. s in years when the NOTICE TO THE THIS PETITION MAY BE CIRCULATED BYPUBLIC A PAID SIGNAT OR A VOLUNTEER. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO URE GATHERER All signers of this petition ASK. must be registered in ____________________
New Registration New Registration
________________ County. 1. Print Your Name: ______________________ ___________________ Residence Sign As Address ONLY: ___________ ______________________ Registered To Vote: ___________ ______________________ _______ City: ___________ _______________ Zip: 2. Print Your ___________ Name: ______________________ ___________________ Residence Sign As Address ONLY: ___________ ______________________ Registered To Vote: ___________ ______________________ _______ City: ___________ _______________ Zip: 3. Print Your ___________ Name: ______________________ ___________________ Residence Sign As Address ONLY: ___________ ______________________ Registered To Vote: ___________ ______________________ _______ City: ___________ _______________ Zip: 4. Print Your ___________ Name: ______________________ ___________________ Residence Sign As Address ONLY: ___________ ______________________ Registered To Vote: ___________ ______________________ _______ City: ___________ _______________ Zip: 5. Print Your ___________ Name: ______________________ Residence ___________________ Sign As Address ONLY: ___________ ______________________ Registered To Vote: ___________ ______________________ _______ City: ___________ _______________ Zip: ___________
ATION OF (to be completed in circulator’s own hand
This column for official use only.
I, __________________ after above signatures have been obtained) _________________ , am a voter or am qualified (print name) to register to vote in California. is __________________ My residence address ___________________________ _____________ . I circulated (address, city, state, zip) this section of the petition each of the appended signatures being written. and witnessed Each signature on this genuine signature of the petition is, to the best of person whose name it my information and belief, purports to be. All signatures dates of __________________ the on this document were _ and __________________ (month, day, year) obtained between the _. (month, day, year) I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California Executed on _________ that the foregoing is true _____________ , _________ and correct. (month and day) __ , at __________________ (year) __________________ _____________ . (place of signing) __________________ _________ (complete signature indicating________________________ full name of circulator) For Processing Use Only
Return to: Circ. Number
ACR 138 Faculty and College Excellence Act (Nava, D-Santa Barbara) States intent that part-time and temporary faculty receive comparable benefits and pay to full-time faculty, and that the colleges increase the number of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty. (Formerly ACR 31)
breaks even as the state was cutting money for schools and colleges. They have also tried to eliminate the 8-hour day and worker lunch breaks. The CFT and its partners hope to put a proposition on the November ballot that would require the Legisla-
This initiative is an important first step in reforming the state budget process, yet it does not attempt to change the supermajority two-thirds vote required to pass taxes. Majority Vote for the budget will eliminate the ability of anti-education, anti-worker legislators to hold the process hostage. Otherwise, this handful of legislators will continue to control the state budget, ensuring the continued decline of public education and other vital social services. You can help return democracy to our state budget process! Get your friends and family to sign the petition to put Majority Vote on the November ballot.
SB 1209 Equitable death benefit for classified (Romero, D-Los Angeles) Increases the post-retirement death benefit paid to the beneficiary of a classified member of CalPERS from $2,000 to $6,163. (Formerly AB 1477)
lators’ salaries and expenses for every day the budget is late. CFT is partnering in this effort with AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), the California Professional Firefighters, and the California School Employees Association. The California Faculty Association, which represents professors in the CSU system, also supports the measure.
New bill s in 2010
D uring the second year of this two-year legislative session, CFT lobbyists continue to work on priorities set at Convention. Some bills will continue this year under a new number or a new author.
CFT EC/K-12 Council President Gary R avani takes time with Torlakson.
R osa María Torres, an early childhood educator from Lawndale, with Tom Torlakson.
California Teacher interviews CFT-endorsed candidate for state superintendent of instruction
Candidate Tom Torlakson talks about issues, experience T o m T orlakson
is a former high school science, health, and ecology teacher, as well as track and cross-country coach. He has also taught community college students, and now is a state assemblyman representing Contra Costa County. Torklakson has carried numerous CFT-sponsored bills and CFT has supported most education bills he has put forward.
What can we do about the UCL A report showing high-poverty school districts suffer disproportionately from cutbacks? These findings did not surprise anyone. State budget cuts are going to impact high-poverty districts more severely, and funding for programs to help low-income families has been severely cut. The first thing we must do to climb out of this hole is stop digging. The cuts to public education funding must stop. We must not accept being 47th or 49th in the nation in per pupil spending. Proposition 98 is supposed to be the floor, not the ceiling for school funding. Despite “revenue limit income” aggravating disparities, can we equalize school funding? Students should not be disadvantaged because of where they live. One of the reasons we need to significantly increase our investment in education is to resolve equalization issues. It is nearly impossible to revise the funding formulas and reallocate existing education funding.
How can we remedy the current instructional imbalance in which reading and math dominate? We must fix the imbalances in what we measure. The subjects on which we focus our testing are the subjects on which we focus our instructional resources when funding is being cut so severely. We need to develop the whole child. I am pursuing legislation to broaden accountability measures to include attendance rates, graduation rates, opportunities schools provide for college or career preparation, and opportunities beyond the core academic curriculum. Do you see Race To The Top as driving positive school outcomes or as more top-down restructuring? I voted for a “California” focused bill that was sensitive to community needs and included more accountability for charter schools. I opposed both SB 5X 1 (Steinberg, D- Sacramento) and SB 5X 4 (Romero, D-Los Angeles). The bills were linked and included policy changes — such as open enrollment and eliminating enhanced accountability for charter schools — that were not necessary to compete for RTTT funds. I believe this legislation will take California public education in the wrong direction. The authors and the governor suggest parents should be allowed to send their children to other schools in other districts, regardless of where they live. They call this choice. I don’t consider this true and fair “choice” because it abandons the community public schools most in need of parental involvement and reform.
Tom Torlakson is one of the few legislators in Sacramento who has been a teacher and has spent time in the classroom, experience that has helped shape his education proposals in the state Legislature.
Do you see demographic factors as important in the school achievement debate? Absolutely. Many children face serious challenges at home or with their health. Lower-income schools face more challenges as the economy goes into decline. We should be increasing investment in programs that support teachers and students, including safe after-school programs, gang intervention and violence prevention programs, enhanced career technical education classes, funding more counselors, and ensuring access to healthcare for all students. What do you see as the appropriate role for charter schools in California? Responsible charter schools can encourage innovative instruction, and best practices and successes of charters should be shared with all schools. At the same time, charters must be subject to adequate oversight and demonstrate success, like any other public school.
With no quick remedy for chronic underfunding, how can we leverage resources to enhance student and school success? Better instructional resources, more professional development, and additional support personnel are crucial for the success of our students. In addition to increasing revenues, I have proposed ways to strengthen Proposition 98, foster partnerships among school districts and other government entities, and lower the threshold required to pass a parcel tax. What is your position on using test scores to evaluate teacher effectiveness? Standardized tests have their place in California’s public education system, but they are a diagnostic tool and should not be used for determining compensation for teachers. Many factors impacting a student’s results on standardized tests are not within the control of individual teachers. Our teachers must not be penalized for teaching the students who have the greatest educational needs.
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How has your experience as a teacher affected your work in the state L egislature? I saw the challenges kids face when they are sick, malnourished, depressed or obese, and I know we must address these problems to fully fight the achievement gap and dropout rate. As a coach — and knowing that crime triples in California between 3 and 6 p.m. in communities with no safe places for students to go — I was able to convince fellow legislators to create the largest network of state-sponsored after-school programs in the nation.
250 miles. 48 da ys. March 5 to
J oi n the his tori c Mar ch for C alifor nia’s F uture Reclaim the promise of quality public education and services
In-home care workers from partner union UDW, the United Domestic Workers, join the march.
The union of Cesar Chavez, the United Farmworkers, brings a strong valley presence.
CFT member s Mar chi ng for Califor nia’s Future Hear from those dedicated to walking the whole distance. >To learn about marchers from other unions, go to fight4cafuture.com.
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mile march that will last 48 days. The march culminates with a rally at the State Capitol on April 21. A handful of AFT members and other union members have committed themselves to walking the whole distance (See below). Hundreds more have volunteered to walk part of the way. You can sign up to march by visiting fight4cafuture.com, and follow the action online through the Web site, Facebook and Twitter. Along the way, marchers will collect signatures to put the Majority Vote measure on the ballot (See page 6). They will register voters, hold rallies, teach-ins and town hall meetings, and visit legislators. Instead of making tough choices, a minority of legislators and our governor think the “solution” to California’s budget deficit is deep and destructive cuts to essential services: schools, parks, libraries, infrastructure, safety net services and other
Bo b rih a J r
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s you read this, hundreds of marchers are already trekking up California’s great Central Valley. Educators, in-home care workers, nurses, firefighters and students have united behind the goal of getting our elected leaders to return to the values that made this state great. California is at a crossroads, and the choices our elected leaders make will determine whether we restore California’s promise or watch the dream slip away. CFT and a diverse coalition of labor, education, community, business and faith groups who believe that we can’t afford to destroy our future have embarked on this historic march, following in the footsteps of Cesar Chavez. The long march began in Bakersfield on March 5 after a kick-off rally in Los Angeles (See page 3). That day, hundreds of committed union members bussed to Bakersfield to join in the first historic steps of the 250-
vital public institutions. The consequences will haunt our state for generations. Classrooms will be more crowded and less safe, neighborhoods less clean and more dangerous. College and university fees will skyrocket, turning our commu-
Anna Gr aves
David Ly ell
Retired ESL adult educator and former clinical social worker Berkeley Federation of Teachers I am marching because we need to restore the most basic services we expect from our government. In 1965, when I graduated from high school, California’s education system was considered the best in the country. Now at Berkeley Adult School, where I taught, they are cutting English classes for those who need them the most. In 1978, when Proposition 13 passed, we did not have this epidemic of homelessness. We didn’t have cardboard villages under bridges and people sleeping in parks. O ur society deserves better than this.
Reading specialist and teacher at Renaissance Continuation High School in Watsonville Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers I am marching because I believe the only hope for education is for us to get out in the streets and educate people about how we fund public education in California. We’re down to seven nurses in my school district of 19,000 students. The administration is cutting custodians, office staff and counselors too. We have no more money for materials such as paper, PE equipment and art supplies. Music and arts programs have been cut. Class sizes have gotten larger. O ur current policies are driving students to prison instead of college.
Substitute teacher in the L os Angeles Unified School District United Teachers Los Angeles Educatio n is the fo undatio n of every successful society, yet no other area of life is as politicized. Teachers and students face misunderstanding or worse due to the sensationalized actions of a few, and teachers are continually told what to do. We substitute teachers are often overlooked as well. Yet, we maintain the cohesive atmosphere of learning established by the regular teacher. I wish our elected leaders recognized that “fixing” education begins with adequately funding it, and that we start celebrating educators instead of demonizing them.
il 21. Bakersfield to
State Capitol April 21
Elk Grove April 17
Dillard April 16
Escalon April 8
Modesto April 6
Livingston April 3
Planada March 30
Reedley March 19
Tulare March 13
Delano March 9
nity colleges and public universities into distant dreams instead of bridges to the middle class. But budget cuts are not inevitable: They are the result of political choices. We cannot allow a minority of legislators to enact budgets that
destroy rather than build. Rather than showering more tax breaks on the wealthiest millionaires and most profitable corporations, elected leaders should invest in our future. That’s why we are marching. We need you to be a part of the change.
Gavin Rile y
English and L abor Studies teacher at San Diego City College AFT Guild, San Diego and GrossmontCuyamaca Community Colleges I am marching to make a California that works for all of us. I want to be able to afford to put my son, Walt, through college without destroying my retirement. I don’t want the families of children in public schools to pay out-of-pocket for arts, music, library materials and sports. I don’t want my students to worry about dropping out of college for economic reasons. If, to borrow a line from Dr. Martin Luther King, our futures are inextricably bound to the future of our neighbors, then it’s time to realize that if we don¹t invest in the future of all Californians, we will all suffer.
Retired secondary teacher living in L os Angeles ABC Federation of Teachers I hav e been invol v ed in California public education since 1950 starting as a student, followed by 37 years as a secondary school teacher, and working with my local union as an advocate. O ur once envied and frequently copied education system, which was the foundation of California and provided opportunity to succeed for all, is being dismantled by shortsightedness. Today, legislators are talking about reducing the number of school days. I am marching because it might be the only way we can restore California’s commitment to education, and to reverse the direction while we can.
Allensworth March 10
McFarland March 8
Shaftner March 6
Bakersfield March 5
Los Angeles March 5
WH AT CAN YO U DO ? Walk in this historic march, follow the march online, and gather signatures for Majority Vote Put o n yo ur walk ing sho es! Y ou can sign up to march at fight4CAfuture. com. Y ou can follow the march online through the Web site, Facebook and Twitter. And at home, you can help collect signatures for CFT’s Majority Vote ballot measure! >Sign up to march and follow the march: fight4CAfuture.com >Download petitions for CFT’s Majority Vote measure: cft.org (Click on Political) >Be a fan on Facebook: March for California’s Future >Be a follower on Twitter: twitter.com/march4CAfuture >See pictures on flickr: marchforCAfuture photostream >Watch videos on Youtube: youtube.com/user/march4CAfuture CFT and partner organizations are sponsors of the March for California’s Future. Dozens of labor, community, and faith-based organizations support the march.
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Why We Teach
A n occasional series
In Tenenbaum’s class, science for non-majors comes to life Science instructor hopes knowledge will help students make informed decisions for Earth
Laura Faye Tenenbaum Adjunct physical science instructor Glendale Community College
pho to i llus tr atio n: NAS A/J PL-Caltech/T. Wy nne
t wasn’t until her college freshman year that Laura Faye Tenenbaum became interested in science. Now, an adjunct physical science instructor at Glendale Community College near Los Angeles, Tenenbaum teaches science to non-majors who enroll in her classes merely to satisfy breadth requirements. She hopes to motivate her students to become scientists or at least help them to understand science, so they can make informed decisions about matters that affect our planet. “My job,” explains Tenenbaum, “is to show that much of today’s science is interdisciplinary and to expose students to the variety of possibilities. It’s essential to use techniques that bring science to life,” she says, recalling that in high school, she was bored by science. “To reach students, you must speak in their language, find the media they relate to.” Furthering her own media skills, Tenenbaum joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab as a faculty fellow upon winning a Pasadena City College/ Glendale Community College Career and Technical Education Community Collaborative grant. As an education program specialist and member of the climate change communication team, she is in charge of the JPL Web site (http://climate.nasa.gov) and integrates it into her classroom instruction. Tenenbaum believes “the marriage between multimedia and science is the way to go,” and her work at the propulsion lab is wedded to her
teaching. “The site is smokin’ hot,” she says. “It gets kids going. There are bells and whistles…animations, video tutorials and interactive features to help students visualize climate change and earth science concepts.” Her students participate on the site. They evaluate it, ask questions, and “feel they’re a part of something bigger than themselves.” While hoping the relevancy of global climate change will attract students who may not otherwise be interested to the sciences, she also takes her students on tours of the jet
Abo ut this series: Day in day out, CFT member educators from early childhood to the university are making a difference, reaching students and changing lives. Despite budget cuts that are devastating schools and colleges throughout California, and affecting all jobs in education, CFT members are putting their students first and continuing to hone their craft. What motivates them? What is their educational philosophy? How do they practice their craft? What is their vision for the future of education? In this issue, California Teacher introduces “Why We Teach,” an occasional series to feature teacher members and recognize excellence in education.
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propulsion lab. In one case, this led a student to apply and be hired for a position there.
“To reach students, you must speak in their language, find the media they relate to.” Tenenbaum welcomes other tools her students already use. If during class, someone asks something she cannot answer, she will ask students to look it up on their phones, and email her the answer right then and there for immediate feedback. “I don’t have to say I’ll look it up and get back to you.” Because she saw how much her students viewed YouTube videos, she integrates those, too, into her classes. At first she’d seek out and show videos related to topics discussed in class, then she asked her students to look for videos and email her the links for extra credit. Tenenbaum found
that by showing the best few videos students sent at the beginning of class, students were more motivated to arrive on time, and they received a valuable summation of what was taught in previous classes. Now her students make their own videos. Tenenbaum who has taken moviemaking classes, explains she started bringing cameras into the lab section of her class. Students would film each other doing experiments. Or they’d go about campus and “ask man on the street type questions to find out what the average person knew.” Sometimes she invites scientists for her students to interview and videotape. Her students in classes, which are at least half female and more than one-third Latino and other minorities, “feel they’re participating in their own learning,” explains Tenenbaum. “This breaks down the stereotype that girls or black kids or other minorities can’t do science…because there you see it. Everyone’s doing science together. And science is not boring.” Tenenbaum is excited to be teaching today. “There’s a lot of funding now for engaging a new generation of students in the sciences. We’re right on the cutting edge of bridging multimedia gaming techniques and bringing it into the classroom. And it totally works” as evidenced by her students’ interest in the JPL site. “When you see a girl who walks into class as a freshman who never liked science… and all of a sudden she’s participating and asking questions, sending you links and videos, you know she’s learning deeper than just giving an answer. She’s going above and beyond the class.” — By Mindy Pines, CFT R eporter
On the web >Go to http://climate.nasa.gov, the Web site of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, winner of a 2009 Webby Award.
Classified members Janet Eberhardt and Paula Phillips.
Around CFT Five CFT leaders visit Vietnam to forge relationships among unions
Mark your Calendar
Tw el ve union leaders from the United States, including four from the CFT, visited Vietnam in December to develop friendships and improve communication between unions and workers in the two countries, especially among education unions. The basic right to join a union is protected in Vietnam’s constitution, and union density is very high in the state enterprise sector. About 50 percent of workers in the private and foreign sectors are organized. The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, established in 1929, succeeded in organizing over 1 million new workers into unions during the past five years, including many private sector workers. As the national trade union federation of Vietnam, it has over 6 million members, and relations with unions in over 120 countries. However, as a result of old Cold War policies, the AFL-CIO still does not have formal relations with the Confederation. The U.S. delegation met with leaders of the Confederation, as well as
The March for California’s Future runs from March 5 to April 21, culminating in a giant rally at the State Capitol. Learn more at fight4cafuture. com and at cft.org. See pages 8 and 9 of this issue. The annual CFT Convention is being held March 19-21 at the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles. Go to cft.org for information.
university, education, and provincial labor federation leaders. The delegation visited two universities, a garment factory, and a ceramic tile factory. During the visit, Kent Wong, the director of the UCLA Labor Center, presented his new book, Organizing on Separate Shores: Vietnamese and Vietnamese American Union Organizers. It is the first publication to tell the stories of Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American union organizers.
Vietnam transitioned from a socialist to a market economy in 1988. Since then, this country dominated by state-run enterprises has shifted to a mixed economy with an expanding private sector fueled by foreign investment. The GDP growth rate in 2008 exceeded 7 percent. Leaders of the Vietnamese education unions will visit California April 6–12 to meet with union leaders. Welcome events are planned in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. >For more information, contact Kent Wong at 213-480-4155 ext. 204.
Carolyn Ishida joins CFT Executive Council mindy pines
She spent four years O n top of her workearning a law degree load as a speech therapist while working at Santa Paula Elemenfull-time as a spetary, Carolyn Ishida has cial day classroom spent over a quarter centeacher because she tury working for her “wanted to learn local union. She recently more about conbecame a vice president tracts, and to be able of the CFT and joined the The Santa Paula Federation’s to apply law skills to CFT Executive Council. Carolyn Ishida is a new CFT help the union in Ishida has served in vice president. negotiations.” every office of the Santa Upon her return, Ishida joined the Paula Federation of Teachers — as negotiations team, and later became secretary, treasurer, and vice presichief negotiator. She’s been the dent of negotiations. She became the local’s president for the last seven first female president in the 1990s, but years. “I absolutely love the feeling stepped down to go to law school.
of being able to help teachers,” she said, “to enforce the contract, and make sure the district abides by its responsibilities.” Ishida calls the union “the best support system you will ever have in your career.” Helping educators gain the recognition they deserve is key, she says. “Our teachers are overworked, underappreciated, and they deserve better.” A Japanese-American, Ishida is also concerned about a lack of Asians in both her school district and union. She hopes to see more Asian faces in both the teaching staff and union leadership roles.
The Joint AFT/NEA Higher Education Conference will be held March 25-28 in San Jose. Go to aft. org for details. Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day on March 31. Join the March for California’s Future that day and plan a lesson about Chavez that week. For ideas, go to cft.org. The EC/K-12 Council L obby Day is April 5-6 at the State Capitol in Sacramento. For information, email Gary R avani at email@example.com. The annual Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel Conference hosted by AFT will be held. April 8-11 at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. To learn more, go to aft.org. Standing Committees of the CFT meet Saturday, May 1 at Los Angeles Valley College. Division Councils for the K-12, classified and community colleges meet May 14 at the Hilton O akland Airport. State Council, where delegates from local unions decide issues before CFT, meets the next day on May 15 at the Hilton O akland Airport. The CFT’s L eadership Institute, a three-day intensive designed for teams of union leaders, will be held June 28-30 at UCLA. Contact the CFT Training Department for information, 714-754-6638.
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The U.S. delegation included education union leaders Marty Hittelman, CFT President; Carl Friedlander and Kent Wong, CFT Vice Presidents; executive director of the Los Angeles AFT classified local, Sandra Lepore; and president of the California Faculty Association, Lillian Taiz.
Mobilize for the community colleges on March 22 at the State Capitol in Sacramento.
EC/K-12 Council Lobby Day April 5-6 % See page 11 Calendar
Barbara Kimmel from the O xnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees.
Pre-K and K-12 CFT memorandum helps locals who have signed on to RTTT
Local unions wary of Race To The Top regardless of approach $4.35 billion to be granted on a competitive basis. In the judging, more points will be awarded if the local union has signed on. RTTT requires districts and states to link teacher evaluation to student testing and favors student transfers out of “low-achieving” schools. It
At first T ed R usso described the rank-and-file reaction delicately as “many vocal negative responses.” Then he paused and restated how teachers in the Petaluma Federation of Teachers reacted to his decision to sign on to the Obama administration’s competitive grant — Race To The Top. “I’ll put it plainly,” he said. “Certainly, they have a noose ready for me.” Russo made only a hedging endorsement of RTTT. It was a decision that faced unions, K-12 districts, and state governments throughout the country. Some states, like California, signed on while others, like Texas, took a pass. The bait is a share of
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I testified at the California Assembly hearing on R ace to the Top where Gloria R omero’s draconian R TTT bill was voted on. There must have been over a hundred people with students in tow to testify for the bill, and very few to testify against. Most of those testifying identified with a Los Angeles group called “Parent R evolution.” I sat there feeling a sense of déjá vu all over again. And then it came to me: A healthcare town hall meeting I had attended this summer. This was the Tea Party movement mutated into education protest. There are multiple indications that there are numbers of “mad-ashell-and we’re-not-gonna-take-itanymore” types out there who lack a focus for their anger. O n issues of education, it’s time for us, as educators, to articulate the revolution.
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for six months, “and that’s not much money to sell your soul.” Sage questioned the use of STAR testing of students to evaluate teachers. Students aren’t really accountable for that test, she explained, so they don’t always take it seriously. She also questioned RTTT provisions that mean enough parent signatures can remove staff in some schools, and others that promote charter schools “even though the data show charters aren’t as good as they’d like us to think.”
“It comes out to about $10 a kid, and that’s not much money to sell your soul.” —Theresa Sage, Morgan Hill
Petaluma Federation president Ted R usso said there is much to be wary of in R TTT, and the local had only agreed to negotiate the issue.
gar y ra vani council president
We need to be the leaders
separate track during negotiations, and will withdraw its support if agreement isn’t reached. The district agreed, and Russo submitted a modified version of the Memorandum of Understanding prepared by CFT to help locals bargain Race To The Top. Jeffrey Boxer, the Los Angeles-
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Editor’s note : At press time, the O bama administration announced that 15 states and the District of Columbia are finalists for R TTT funding. California did not make the list. The laws that were passed in January leading up to California’s application must remain on the books.
could create more charters and start merit pay systems, and even close low-achieving schools if parents collect enough signatures.
“There are certain places where we’ll draw lines in the sand, but that won’t be on what we’ll talk about.” — Ted R usso, Petaluma
based labor attorney who wrote the MOU with input from CFT leaders, calls RTTT “a disaster.” They say you have to bargain it, he explained, “but once you accept the money you are stuck. Eventually a district could go to impasse. What if they play hardball? This is all more scapegoating of teachers and the educational system.” Boxer also called the amount of money being offered “a drop in the bucket” for cash-strapped schools.
Russo has been president of Local 1881 for a year and a half, but a negotiator for the past decade. He said there is much to be wary of in RTTT, and the local had only agreed to negotiate on the issue. “There are certain places where we’ll draw lines in the sand, but that won’t be on what we’ll talk about.” Local 1881 has put RTTT on a
Inadequa te funding was the biggest reason that Theresa Sage, new president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, used to lobby against signing on to RTTT. She convinced the district’s new superintendent, who then convinced the school board not to sign. “It comes out to about $10 a kid,” said Sage, who’s headed Local 2022
Both Russo and Sage said that in the past their locals had difficult labor relations with their respective districts. Sage said Morgan Hill’s new superintendent “listened to our position and researched the issues himself. When he presented to the school board,” she said, “he also presented the Federation’s opposition.” Russo said his local once had collegial relations with the Petaluma district, but tensions have grown along with the budget woes. “It’s very hard for the sides to maintain a positive attitude toward each other. Who are we most upset with? It’s the state and the cutbacks, not the district, but sometimes those lines get blurred.” In its advisory to locals, CFT warned that RTTT could affect every subject of bargaining in the state Educational Employees Relations Act including assignment of duties, evaluations, transfer, reassignment, training, school calendar, days and hours of employment, compensation and discipline. CFT did not sign on to the state’s application for Race To The Top funding, but advised local unions to do what they thought best in their districts. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT R eporter
Jackie R ussell serves happy customers at Branciforte Middle School in Santa Cruz.
Classified Workers feel the pain of reduced hours and lost positions
Food service employees who won outsourcing battle now struggle to get work done in less time much the same. Her office is slowly filling with boxes and stacks of documents. She hasn’t had time to file much in five months. Sometimes she takes an hour of comp time to catch up with the stream of purchase orders and other financial transactions but laments, “I could collect the comp time but then who’d do my job here? It frustrates me when people ask if I’ve done their paperwork yet. I used to take pride in getting things done quickly.” Brown wonders what the situation will be like long-term. Meanwhile, administrators at the Santa Cruz district are bracing for an expected $5.1 million of additional cuts next year.
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— By Malcolm Terence, CFT R eporter
Cooks Marina Taylor, left, and Jackie R ussell lost a half-hour per shift. “That’s the PG&E bill or a week’s groceries,” says R ussell, who already moonlights at housecleaning two days a week.
transition because she’d attended so many school board meetings to lobby for the change. Once she even brought board members green beans grown in her own garden, and announced she knew how to cook them. Her union is the Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees and Joan Lowe, its president, said that 71 members of the 350-member local were
“I don’t know why they cut my job. What’s the plan? How do you distribute books, collect books, have kids pay for books, in only a couple of hours a day?”
hired from nearby UC Santa Cruz impressed the food service workers and the kids alike. His ideas stressed both nutrition and taste. One innovation was the Crazy Quesadilla, which featured chicken, black beans, cheese and cabbage, all served on a whole wheat tortilla. Russell took personal pride in the
— Tina Small, wearer of many hats
laid off, although 24 of those had their positions at least partially restored. In all, 49 workers had their hours cut. Lowe complained that no administrative positions were reduced or cut, unlike past years where managers shared in the pain. “We get the feeling we’re disposable, until they find the need.”
One example is Tina Small. She had been a full-time textbook clerk at Harbor High until that position was cut at all three district high schools. After 25 years with the district, she was shifted to a part-time position as an instructional tech in Special Ed just to keep her health benefits. But last August, she said, “the principal realized somebody had to manage the books.” Small bargained for two additional hours per day to manage what had been an eight-hour position and confessed that she has fallen weeks behind in data entry. She gestured to the jumbled stacks of books in a small room and said, “I don’t know why they cut my job. What’s the plan? How do you distribute books, collect books, have kids pay for books, in only a couple of hours a day?” Another classified worker feeling the crunch is Jeanie Brown, an accounting tech at Santa Cruz High. Her seven-hour position was shrunk to five but the workload remained
vel ma butler council president
Education: California’s gold Making changes to improve funding for education in California will take the efforts of all divisions of the CFT, and beyond. The March for California’s Future does just that. Classified employees will be there, walking in solidarity with our faculty brothers and sisters, and working with all union members and communities involved. O ne of the greatest challenges facing this movement is getting the word out on progressive tax reform. We must talk to our own members, constituents, families, neighbors, and communities and explain that California does not have a spending problem. It has a revenue problem. A fair tax system will put California back on track to provide the kind of quality education the children of all working families deserve. These changes required to restore public services in California can only be achieved with the support of all union members. Get the word out, demonstrate, and educate.
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T he cooks a t Brancifor te Middle School were placing plump chicken ἀllets into rolls for the upcoming lunch hour. They could forget, at least for a while, the nearly 100 classiἀed workers throughout the Santa Cruz district who this year were cut in hours or laid off entirely. While happy that the district has backed away from an experiment in outsourcing food prep, they now have fewer hours than before to get their work done. Budget cuts at schools across the state have been drastic, but in Santa Cruz they fell heavily on the classified ranks. One of the Branciforte cooks was Jackie Russell who, like food service workers across the district, had her hours cut by a half hour a shift. “That gets to be a lot in a month. That’s the PG&E bill or a week’s groceries. I’ll have to get a second job,” said Russell, who already moonlights at housecleaning two days a week. She said the district tried outsourcing to save money but the students hated the food and janitors each day hauled away barrels of uneaten lunches. Then the district hired another food service manager and Russell, who’s worked in the district since 1992, thought, “We’re getting another new manager. Whoop-di-doo.” But it turned out that the chef
L.A.’s Don Sparks and Carl Friedlander join the Long March.
Chancellor’s office cuts private deal with Kaplan University Unions and faculty groups shocked by lack of consultation and seek discussion and review T he CFT C o mmunity College Council has pressed the statewide chancellor’s office for further explanation of a controversial agreement that threatens to open the door to expanded privatization within the California community college system. A memorandum of understanding, dated November 24, 2009, between the community college chancellor’s office and Kaplan University, an online college-course business, went public when Kaplan issued a press release on February 8. Under the agreement, California students could take Kaplan courses to fulfill community college requirements. Graduates of the community colleges could receive reduced tuition if they transfer to Kaplan to pursue an online bachelor’s degree. Friedlander, president of the Com-
carl friedlander council president
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The L egislative Analyst’s call to raise community college student fees to $40 — an increase of over 50 percent — is the opening salvo in what’s sure to be a major push to shift the costs of education on to the backs of our students. So put on your walking shoes, grab your picket sign, and be sure to join the March for California’s Future working its way up through the Central Valley to Sacramento. This is one way to fight for progressive taxation and adequate funding, not just for community colleges but for all of public education and other vital public services. When you’re closer to home, work with your students to contact and meet with local legislators in the district to deliver the same message. Nobody’s better than our students at explaining why big fee increases are such a terrible idea, and the legislators need to hear them loud and clear.
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“The impression that’s given is that community colleges are making these public-private agreements, and this is a terrible impression. It’s a foot in the door.” — Dean Murakami
munity College Council, and of the 4,500-member Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, said the memorandum outlines a two-year contract with a 30-day notice provision for either party to back out of it. “For the unions, there are bargaining issues and contracting out issues,” he explained. “This controversy will certainly give a public airing to the academic integrity and treatment of employees by for-profit colleges.” The Council’s northern vice president, Dean Murakami, made inquiries in his district when he learned of the Kaplan memorandum in early February. Murakami, president of the Los Rios Federation of Teachers, found out that Kaplan representatives had already visited Los Rios campuses in the Sacramento area between November, when the memorandum was signed, and February, when the deal went public. Kaplan signed an agreement with campus articulation officers and student services representatives. That agreement, concluded without Los Rios’s chancellor or vice chancellor knowing about it, governs the transfer of credits between the college and Kaplan. “Kaplan is very aggressive about this,” said Murakami. “It is already in
place at Los Rios without any transparency. College staffers are telling students about Kaplan offerings, in effect providing free advertising. That’s very bothersome.” What’s more, Kaplan teachers will teach online courses that could potentially be taught by on-campus staff instead. “The number of students that may actually do this could be small, but the principle is still the same,” Murakami said. “The impression that’s given is that community colleges are making these public-private agreements, and this is a terrible impression.” He worries that it will encourage Sacramento ideologues who are motivated not by improving education but by promoting privatization in any guise. “It’s definitely a foot in the door.” According to Orange County-based union leader Dean Mancina, the agreement might complicate student finances because of regulations that students cannot receive financial aid from two institutions simultaneously. Mancina, president of the Coast Federation of Educators, said he is talking to campus counselors about this and other troubling aspects of the Kaplan memorandum. “Kaplan University, while it is
accredited, does not have a reputation of taking good care of its students,” Mancina added. Not only are union leaders concerned, but the Academic Senate and college administrators are also. At the Community College Consultation Council in mid-February, Chancellor Jack Scott offered to hold a future meeting to go over the issues with interested college representatives. Scott was apologetic about the lack of earlier notification. “We have this Consultation Council as a vehicle for the chancellor to discuss these types of issues with a broad-based committee of representatives from the college system,” Mancina added. “It’s problematic that he didn’t take it to the Council first.” The last decade has witnessed tremendous growth by for-profit schools such as Kaplan and Phoenix University. But there are quality online programs throughout the community college system, and students can take any of these for less money than they pay for Kaplan courses. At Consultation Council, officials talked about the possibility of compiling a central database of online courses available in the sprawling system. “We have an overall concern about giving the imprimatur of the California community college system to a for-profit institution,” said Friedlander. “What guarantees are there of academic integrity and quality of classes?” — By Lance Howland, CFT R eporter
University Lecturer describes new unity movement building at UC Berkeley Solidarity Alliance works to battle misconceptions about funding and defend education as a right
with Lecturer and Campus Organizer
ence organizing campus events?
A I co-chair the Solidarity Alliance, comprising representatives of the major unions on campus, student leaders, campus political parties, grad student organizations, various independent student organizations, and several committed faculty members.
Michael C ohen teaches a range of seriously over-enrolled classes at UC Berkeley, including Intro to American Studies, Race and American Film and a course on Work.
A This crisis has called on everyone.
Q What do you hope the protests can accomplish? A The actions can forcefully reassert the argument that public education is not a luxury, but a democratic right which must be available to all, and that education and intellectual innovation are the greatest vehicles for positive social change. We need to change the way our schools are funded and to realign California politics by undoing Proposition 13, bringing majority rule to Sacramento, and raising revenues by taxing the wealthy, oil extraction and corporations. As the chant goes, “no cuts, no fees, education should be free.”
Q What is the main message you think the public should get? A First, that public education must be defended and expanded in the face of this crisis. Equally important, that only through organized resistance does the world change for the better. We will not be rescued by President Obama, the Democrats, Tea Parties or anyone else. We have to take responsibility and make our own history.
Q H ow did you get involved in the protests and rallies at Berkeley? I teach many students of color, community college transfers, parents, and working class students. I see them struggling in school not because they can’t do the work, but because of the crushing financial burden of paying for college. A growing number work far too many hours at bad jobs to pay their bills. Any substantial fee increase can force these hard-working, ambitious students to drop out or take on more loans.
bunch of privileged crybabies. California’s crisis is more political than financial. In this richest of states, the crisis lies in failed tax and budget policies and in an appalling lack of democracy, with a two-thirds requirement to raise revenues or pass a budget. The greatest misconception is that our problems have no reasonable solutions, that the state is broken and defeat inevitable.
ings, I believe what we are doing as campus activists has been done in the best interests of not just UC, but the people of California. Much has taken place independent of the Alliance, most prominently a series of student occupations that led to frightening instances of police brutality. We have supported those willing to employ non-violent direct action tactics.
“For the first time, we are all, students, workers and faculty, in this together.” Facing both worker furloughs and tuition increases, campus organizer Michael Cohen says his family wonders if the children will ever be able to attend UC.
The unions provide us a powerful statewide infrastructure and dozens of experienced leaders. The faculty bring prestige and trenchant analysis. And while the students bring large numbers and moral credibility, they are also the most creative, energetic, and unpredictable elements of the mix. The Alliance is committed to the solidarity of students, workers and faculty against the privatization of UC.
Q What actions has the Solidarity A lliance taken? A We organized the massive September 24 walkout, as well as the three-day strike to oppose the Regents’ student fee increases in November. Organizing these events has been exhausting, terrifying and exhilarating. While there is always risk in these undertak-
Q What has been the attitude of the students? A For thousands of students, these events have offered their first experience with public protest and collective action. One of the best moments came on September 24 when our big march first stepped off campus and onto the streets of Berkeley. An electric charge pulsed through the crowd and a spontaneous cheer went up as 5,000 students got their first real taste of people power.
Q What do you think the mainstream press has gotten wrong? A That there is no alternative to budget cuts, austerity, and diminished expectations. That students, union workers and professors are just a
bob S a muels council president
Defend higher education While students face a 32 percent fee increase, they are also being told to tolerate diminished quality of education. Classes are getting bigger, courses are being eliminated, teachers are being laid off, and tutoring services have been canceled. Libraries have cut hours and some are threatened with closure. Journal subscriptions are being canceled, and fewer books bought. Course eliminations and burgeoning class sizes result from the university’s saving money by laying off its most vulnerable teachers. Lecturers and graduate students now teach over 50 percent of the undergraduate credit hours, yet they are not eligible for tenure and are the first to be eliminated when there is a budget reduction. Unless students, faculty and parents unite to fight the downsizing of undergraduate education, the quality of all higher education will be destroyed.
Febr u ar y/March 2010
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Q C an you describe your experi-
You are the union…
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L ocal Wire
R eporting L ocal A ction A round the State
LOCAL s 6322,1936 &1293
Teacher actions prevent preschool closure Fast action yields results…A quickly organized rally to prevent Community Preschool from being sold, yielded big results when, in mid-January, the owner of the preschool, Sunnyvale Congregational Community Church, announced the sale had fallen through. Church officials also said the program, including union jobs, will stay in place until the end of the school year, and that any new owner must offer employment to workers at the preschool. More than 100 parents, kids, and teachers rallied just four days before Christmas to protest the sale and mid-year elimination of its successful program. The mayor of Sunnyvale joined protestors and the event garnered major media coverage. The church has invested thousands of dollars in fighting the union since the workers voted unanimously to form their union in 2008. LOCAL
A djunct wins back job… Thanks to the efforts of Adjunct Faculty United, Arlene Brackett, a part-time dance instructor at Cypress College, has won grievances filed on her behalf against the North Orange County Community College District, which agreed to a settlement. Brackett, who was awarded Cypress College Adjunct Teacher of the Year in 2009 and was selected by the students and the campus as their nominee for Orange County Teacher of the Year, found herself inexplicably penalized last year. Even though she was supposed to receive preferred consideration for assignments, she
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was given one less class than she requested. She also received an unsatisfactory evaluation, largely, she was told, because she didn’t volArlene Brackett unteer enough extra hours to the dance program. “Thanks to the resolute stand of the union, publicity in our newsletter, flyers distributed on campus by union activists, and other activities, we were able to successfully resolve the issues,” said local president Sam Russo.
No more cuts!… 400 teacher members of the Poway Federation of Teachers donned black t-shirts and packed the school board meeting on February 22 to fight proposed pay cuts and increasing class sizes. Local president Marc Houle, speaking to the board and four superintendents, said, “This cut will not fall on the backs of board members, or on superintendents. This cut will fall on the backs of the people behind me wearing the black shirts, and the students they serve.” Houle said the proposal tells teachers “that while we are exploding your class size and cutting your pay, we hope you will continue to spend your own money to purchase classroom supplies, because we have slashed budgets there too.”
Rank & Files sh aro n beals
Preschool teacher Linda Medwin and her grandchildren rallied to save the preschool.
Political action ramps up… With an eye on important board of trustees races at year’s end, Adjunct Faculty United has doubled the number of members participating in COPE (Committee for Political Education), and contributions from members have increased by 150 percent. Similarly, the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers in Watsonville has nearly doubled the number of educators contributing to COPE in efforts to win school board races this fall. Through successful political action, local candidates have learned if they want to be elected, they have to talk to the Pajaro teachers. Coming off a successful fight-back campaign in 2008 against Measure U, the Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees is mobilizing forces to win board races and working with its Central Labor Council to make sure candidates are labor friendly. >If your local union wants help mobilizing for political action, contact Jim Araby, CFT State Affiliate Political Organizer at 510-523-5238 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luukia Smith, a classified employee at El Camino College in Torrance, and president of the El Camino Classified Employees, Local 6142, hopes to bring the trusted voice of educators to the board of trustees in the Long Beach Community College District. Smith, also a CFT vice president, is running for a seat on the Long Beach board. She helped organize her AFT union a decade ago, about the same time classified employees in Long Beach organized their AFT union. Go to luukia4trustee.com.
Paul Karrer, fifth-grade teacher and author, and member of the North Monterey County Federation of Teachers, Local 4008, has an essay in the newly released Teacher Tales, 101 Inspirational Stories from Great Teachers and Appreciative Students. This new edition in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is about why educators have committed themselves to helping their students. Karrer writes about the rewards of teaching challenged students in his “burg” that is mostly a “Latino worker-breeder-feeder for the wealthier communities nearby.” Kimberley Claytor, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers, Local 4794, was elected to the executive council of the O range County Labor Federation. Claytor, also a CFT vice president, will now be able to take the voices of educators to the 150,000-member Federation, and with the power of the Federation, help move a concerted education effort in O range County.
Fanshen DiGiovanni, who teaches non-credit ESL and Conversation, and is a member of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, Local 1521, and the Glendale College Guild, Local 2276, cowrote the screenplay “Passing.” The play was a finalist at the Femme Film Festival that took place in Los Angeles.
Marching for California's Future