RANK & FILES, Feb-Mar 2017

Megan Gross, member of the Poway Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2357, and special education instructor at Del Norte High School, was named as one of the four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. Gross teaches an autism spectrum disorder day class and is an advocate for fully integrating students of different ability levels into classroom and school activities. She was previously honored as one of the five California Teachers of the Year.

“Megan has worked diligently to end the social and physical isolation of people with intellectual and development disabilities,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “I am proud to have her represent California.”

The National Teacher of the Year will be announced this spring.

Janice Lobo Sapigao, a part-time English instructor at Skyline College and member of the San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1493, published a documentary poetry collection microchips for millions about the exploitation of immigrant women in the Silicon Valley — those like her mother, an assembly line worker there. The book, published by the Philippine American Writers & Artists, Inc., uses binary code, the Filipino language, personal observation, and scholarship, to draw out the social layers of a global commodity — the microchip. Learn more and order the book. 

David Mielke, teacher of sociology and psychology at Culver City High School, president of the Culver City Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1343, and a CFT vice president, was the guest on the radio show Dr. Peter Breggin Hour on the Progressive Radio Network, where he discussed an alternative view of psychology and the issues that arise from teaching psychology from that point of view. Breggin has questioned the use of drugs to treat what he believes are family or social issues. Mielke gave vivid examples of the disabling effects of diagnoses such as ADHD, and how they can push students toward learned helplessness and self-doubt. Listen to the January 18 show or download the podcast. 

Christian Clifford, a teacher of theology at Serra High School in San Mateo, and a member of the San Francisco Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2240, has written a third book about California’s colonial history — Meet Pablo Tac: Indian from the Far Shores of California — the story of a Native Californian Catholic. Pablo Tac (1822-1841) was Luiseño Indian, born and raised at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, located in present-day Oceanside. Learn more about his unique story. 

Paul Karrer, a retired elementary teacher and member of the North Monterey County Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 4008, recently had his 14th story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Random Acts of Kindness. The book features “101 Stories of Compassion and Paying Forward” including Karrer’s story “Faith Restored.”

Steve Harris, a retired member of the ABC Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2317, and an elected school board member in the Centralia Elementary District since 2012, worked with district stakeholders to pass a school bond in November. After touring the Union Iron Workers Training Center in La Palma with a representative from the Building and Construction Councils, the board voted to hire union labor, bringing journeyman construction skills to district upgrades, as well as living wages, health benefits, and safe working conditions to the workers.

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