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Inside CFT: CFT members were in the State Capitol this week

CFT members were in the State Capitol this week urging lawmakers to support our schools

Dozens of CFT members were in the State Capitol this week to meet with legislators and their staff on our core priorities this year. Among the critical issues discussed throughout the day were the need to protect Prop. 98 funding for our schools in the state budget, and to pass AB 938, the CFT-sponsored legislation that would commit the Legislature to raise TK-12 funding by 50% by 2030 in order to raise salaries for classified and certificated employees.

Teams of CFT members also urged the legislature to support AB 2088, which would give current classified employees in K-14 schools the right of first refusal for additional jobs in their districts, and SB 1388, which would prohibit community college districts from keeping excessive reserves, among other bills.

CFT members were also among the many workers who spoke out in front of the state Office of Health Care Affordability Board, successfully getting the board to approve a statewide health care spending target of 3%. Details here.

Thanks all for a great day! Pictured above, CFT members are all smiles as they are about to meet with State Senator Maria Elena Durazo.

CFT members get to work at Early Childhood Education Summit

Last week, CFT members, activists, and leaders held an Early Childhood Education Summit in Burbank, to take a deep dive into the world of early childhood education. Joined by AFT trainers, those assembled had an ambitious agenda, which included how best to support dual language learners, how states can access new federal funds for childcare, and professional development on supporting students from infancy through three years old.

According to CFT EC-TK/12 President Steve McDougall, a central theme running through all the discussions was the need to continue organizing early childhood education staff, who despite the critical importance of their work, are among the most underpaid and undervalued workers in education. “From improving healthcare benefits, to increasing wages, to demanding respect for all workers, there is no better way to close the student achievement gap than to invest in and support early childhood education workers,” said Steve.

Workplace Readiness Week starts Monday in California high schools

Last year, CFT sponsored AB 800 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. Authored by Assemblymember Liz Ortega, AB 800 mandates that the first week in May is now “Workplace Readiness Week” for 11th and 12th graders in California public schools. AB 800 is a mandate, making next week a historic first: a designated time to provide this crucial, potentially life-saving and up until now missing real world education.

To help teachers in the classroom recognize this important week, the CFT Labor and Climate Justice Education Committee brings you a new five-day curriculum (an hour a day) designed for delivery in U.S. History, Government, and Economics classes. The curriculum was created by Nicolle Fefferman, a veteran LAUSD high school social studies teacher, in collaboration with the Young Workers Education Project and UCLA Labor Center. She has provided you with an instructional pathway, complete with brief student readings, short video clips, roleplays and suggested commentary with Canva slide decks. This instruction meets the mandate, but more than that, it is teacher-friendly and engaging for the students as they learn their rights.

CFT News in Brief

Remember to RSVP for the May 21 Classified Day of Action in Sacramento. Momentum is growing as we approach the May 21 Classified Day of Action in Sacramento. Join CFT members from throughout the state at this important event, where we will celebrate classified workers and their critical contributions to our students and schools. RSVP here.

Celebrate May Day next Wednesday. Central Labor Councils are planning actions up and down the state for May 1, to celebrate International Workers Day! This year’s May Day actions stress solidarity across sectors as workers push for higher wages, stronger contracts, and the right to join a union and fight back against corporate greed. Click here to find an action near you. May is also Labor History Month, and to help recognize this important month in your classroom, you may draw on the materials created by the Labor and Climate Justice Education Committee.

CFT supports new California universal healthcare bill. CFT President Jeff Freitas joined nurses and California elected officials this week for the introduction of AB 2220, which would establish the framework for a single-payer, state-run coverage system called CalCare to control health care costs for all Californians. In his remarks at the rally introducing the bill, Freitas spoke of the difficulties faced by CFT members in gaining access to quality, affordable healthcare. Details on the bill here.

Honoring former SPI Delaine Eastin. We are sad to report that former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin passed away this week. A trailblazing education leader and advocate, Eastin was honored by CFT President Jeff Freitas in this statement.

May 2 Know Your Rights training and GSA issues survey. GSA Network staff and CFT member leaders are offering a Know Your Rights training to middle and high school staff and students who work with GSAs and Trans, Queer, and Two-Spirit +(TQ2S+) clubs in California. The next training will take place on May 2 at 4:00 p.m. For more information on the training, and a link to a GSA issues survey, click here.

ArtCenter faculty contract finalized. Congratulations to the faculty at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, who now officially have their first contract following the ArtCenter board’s approval of their collective bargaining agreement. The contract includes many significant victories that will benefit the ArtCenter faculty, including guaranteed annual raises and step increases, an improved and transparent process for promotions, a grievance procedure, and a clear and transparent process for evaluations.

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