News Releases

CFT stands with our UTLA members striking to save LAUSD public schools

For immediate release: January 14, 2019
Contact: Matthew Hardy - 510-703-5291

CFT calls on LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner to immediately settle a contract that truly invests in LA public schools

As the 33,000 teachers of the United Teachers Los Angeles walked the picket line for the first time in 30 years today, the California Federation of Teachers offered their unequivocal support for their members who are courageously taking a stand to save public education in Los Angeles. CFT joined parent, community, labor, Civil Rights, and religious leaders in demanding that LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner immediately settle a contract that fully invests in public schools.

“Instead of cutting our schools to the bone, and denying our students the essential services and resources they deserve, the LAUSD should immediately settle a contract with UTLA teachers that invests in students and fully supports educators,” says CFT President Joshua Pechthalt. “It is unconscionable that the district is sitting on nearly $2 billion in reserves, while class sizes skyrocket and schools go without nurses, counselors, social workers, and librarians.”

“The brave teachers of UTLA are striking today for nothing less than the future of public education in Los Angeles,” continues Joshua Pechthalt. “Instead of austerity for Los Angeles schools and students, it is time for real leadership from the LAUSD.”

As the strike begins in Los Angeles, teachers and school workers are asking the LAUSD to address many of the same issues that we see in our schools and colleges every day, in every corner of the state and nation. And while the LAUSD has sufficient resources to address the fundamental concerns brought by UTLA teachers, in order to fully support students from Los Angeles and across the state, our schools require more funding.

“California is the 5th largest economy in the world, but we are a dismal 43rd in that nation in per-pupil spending,” says Joshua Pechthalt. “Without fully funded schools, California students will continue to be denied the education they deserve.”

A good place to start addressing the underfunding is the Schools and Communities First initiative. Along with community and parent allies from throughout the state, the CFT was instrumental in qualifying the initiative for the November 2020 ballot. The initiative, which would restore over $11 billion per year to California’s schools, community colleges, health clinics, and other vital local services, would close a loophole in current tax law that allows wealthy commercial property owners to evade paying property taxes.

The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.

CFT applauds Governor Newsom for his commitment to public education in his first state budget

For immediate release: January 10, 2019
Contact: Matthew Hardy - 510-703-5291

Education and classified professionals call for more investment in K-14 schools through progressive taxation

The California Federation of Teachers applauded Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2019-2020 budget today, highlighting the governor’s commitment to increased funding for schools and colleges, profound investment in early education and kindergarten, further investment in public employee pensions, and his two years of free community college for all students.

According to CFT President Joshua Pechthalt, Governor Newsom’s first budget represents a deep and profound commitment to a quality public education for all California students.

“This first budget for Governor Newsom represents a sea change in how we approach early childhood and community college education. We applaud the Governor for that”, says Joshua Pechthalt. “His proposed investments in our students, our schools, and the educators and classified professionals who serve them mark a new day in California.”

While lauding the governor for his bold commitment to public education today, the CFT was quick to point out that California chronically underfunds schools and that substantial new revenues are necessary in order to give students the quality public education they deserve.

“Despite being the 5th largest economy in the world, California languishes at 43rd in that nation in per-pupil spending,” continues Joshua Pechthalt. “We look forward to working with Governor Newsom, the Legislature, and all who care about California students to raise the essential revenue our schools need through progressive taxation.”

Along with community and parent allies from throughout the state, the CFT was instrumental in qualifying the Schools and Communities First initiative for the November 2020 ballot. The initiative, which would restore over $11 billion per year to California’s schools, community colleges, health clinics, and other vital local services, would close a loophole in current tax law that allows wealthy commercial property owners to evade paying property taxes.


The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.

CFT Strongly Supports Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House

For Immediate Release: November 27, 2018
Contact: Matthew Hardy, 510-703-5291

California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt released the following statement in support of Nancy Pelosi to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives:

“Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has proven time and again that she is the right person to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi is a strong and effective leader who works tirelessly and successfully in the interests of our students, our families, and our communities.

“She has a proven track record, not only as a skilled negotiator and legislator, but as a progressive champion of public education, quality and affordable healthcare, and an economy that works for everyone.

“There is no one more qualified to lead the House of Representatives than Nancy Pelosi, and we urge Democratic members of Congress to support her to become the next Speaker of the House.”

The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.

Teachers and classified workers celebrate Tony Thurmond victory for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2018
Contact: Matthew Hardy, 510-703-5291


Teachers and classified workers celebrate Tony Thurmond victory for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Teachers and school workers also congratulate Gavin Newsom, California’s next governor

The California Federation of Teachers celebrated the election of Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction on Saturday as a resounding call by voters to protect public education. Fighting the headwinds of unprecedented spending by a handful of billionaires and mega-donors

Teachers and classified workers celebrate Tony Thurmond victory for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

in support of Marshall Tuck, Thurmond ran a campaign based on investing in all public schools and supporting all students.

“We congratulate Tony Thurmond on his hard fought victory,” says CFT President Josh Pechthalt. “California voters saw through all of the mudslinging and misinformation pushed by a small group of billionaires, and wisely decided to elect a lifelong advocate for at-risk students and a firm believer in the power and promise of public education.”

The 120,000 strong union of teachers and school workers say they are eager to work with Tony as he is set to lead California’s public schools, including advocating for more more funding for the underfunded public school system, standing up to the U.S. Department of Education under Betsy DeVos, and making sure that charter schools are held to the same standards of transparency and accountability as traditional public schools.

“With his experience helping at-risk students and his lifelong commitment to public education, Tony Thurmond is ready to get work on day one to help our schools,” continues Pechthalt. “We are looking forward to working with him to ensure that all students receive a quality public education, and that charter schools are held to the same standards of accountability and transparency as our public schools.”

The California Federation of Teachers also sends warm congratulations to California’s Governor-elect Gavin Newsom. Newsom, and his positive and inclusive vision for California, handily defeated John Cox and his bitter efforts to divide the state.

“Gavin Newsom ran an incredible campaign, based on investing in our schools and our communities, and standing up to the White House,” says CFT President Josh Pechthalt. “We were particularly impressed by his advocacy for early childhood education and look forward to working with him over the next four years to ensure that our students and communities have the world class public education system they deserve.”

The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.

CFT statement on Governor Brown signing CFT-sponsored AB 406, banning for-profit charter schools in California

For Immediate Release: September , 2018
Contact: Matthew Hardy, 510-703-5291


CFT statement on Governor Brown signing CFT-sponsored AB 406, banning for-profit charter schools in California

The following is a statement from CFT President Joshua Pechthalt on California Governor Jerry Brown signing AB 406. AB 406 was sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers and authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (AD-7) and co-authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (AD-15).

“The education of our children should not be a profit making industry. Assembly Bill 406 is a landmark piece of legislation that will stop the practice of for-profit corporations from taking scarce resources away from our students for corporate profits. AB 406 is a critical step forward to ensure that all charter schools are accountable to our students, parents, and communities. There is still much work to be done to ensure that all charter schools in California are held to the same financial transparency and accountability laws as our traditional public schools.”

The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.

California teachers denounce Janus v. AFSCME decision as an attack on their voice and on public education

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2018
Contact: Matthew Hardy, 510-703-5291


California teachers denounce Janus v. AFSCME decision as an attack on their voice and on public education 

Teachers and school employees vow to continue the fight for their professions, their students, and public education

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case. The ruling overturned decades of precedent and eliminated the ability of public sector unions to collect fair share, or agency fees.

While promoted as a case about the First Amendment rights of employees, teachers believe the Janus case is a straightforward attempt by deep-pocketed interests, with the compliance of the Supreme Court, to limit the voice of educators and other public sector workers.

“The Janus decision is a direct threat to our ability to advocate for the pay, benefits, and working conditions that we need to get our important work done,” says California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt. “By seeking to eliminate our ability to advocate for our jobs, our schools, and our vital public services those behind the Janus case directly threaten the public education system and the students and families that we serve. The decision also hurts the ability of the entire labor movement to defend vital social services such as Social Security and Medicare.”

Anticipating the setback in the Janus decision, the California Federation of Teachers and other education and public sector unions from throughout the country have engaged in a renewed organizing program over the past few years. The message in their campaigns has been straightforward: The threat is real, but if we stand together, we can prevail for our profession and our students.

“California teachers and school workers are fiercely dedicated to our students and their families because we believe in the power and promise of public education to transform lives and to lift up communities,” continues Joshua Pechthalt. “We know that the best way to protect our students and our schools is to stand together to raise standards for our profession and support for our schools and vital public services. And we are not going to back down, regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus case.”

The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.

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