News Releases

The following statement was released by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt regarding the State budget agreement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 14, 2013
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The following statement was released by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt regarding the State budget agreement:

This year’s budget begins to restore years of funding cuts to public education and services. It wouldn’t have happened without Proposition 30. While other states are still struggling, or even moving in the wrong direction with tax cuts and program cuts, California is showing the way forward with fair, progressive taxes to fund our schools and services. While we have a long way to go before we have the full resources that give access to the best education possible for all our students, from early childhood through the great public universities, this budget is a good start.

The governor’s Local Control Funding formula will help school districts and students who need the most help. It is a reform that has been a long time coming, and we are confident that as it is implemented we will be able to work out any problems for the benefit of the students.

While the increase in funding to community colleges allows more students to return to the system, counseling and other student services have been slashed to the bone. In the CSU and UC, a tuition freeze this year obviously helps, but years of increases have left students and their families with unsustainable levels of debt.

While celebrating a modest return to budget sanity, we can’t forget that Prop 30 only brings us about half way to full restoration of funding. We look forward to working with the governor and legislature in the coming year to find fair revenue solutions to fund California’s future.

In memoriam: Raoul Teilhet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
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In memoriam: Raoul Teilhet

It is with deep sorrow that the California Federation of Teachers announces the passing of former CFT president Raoul Teilhet.

Raoul Teilhet, a Pasadena high school history teacher who believed collective bargaining offered the path to dignity and respect for public school employees before laws existed allowing it, and served as president of the California Federation of Teachers in successful pursuit of that goal, died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on June 5 in Los Angeles. He was 79.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said, “Raoul Teilhet was a creative leader. I had the pleasure of spending many long evenings with him solving education problems and discussing how we could make California and its schools better for everyone. I’ll miss him.”

When Teilhet began teaching in the late 1950s, he said he “didn’t have the least intention of organizing a union, or becoming a member of one.” He would later joke that he “thought that AFT was the other end of a boat.” But when an American Federation of Teachers organizer called a meeting in 1960 in a nearby town, Teilhet was one of a handful of teachers who signed the charter founding the Pasadena Federation of Teachers, and he agreed to serve as its first treasurer. Within a few years he was elected local president, then a member of the statewide CFT Executive Council, and CFT president in 1967. Teilhet spoke out loudly and early against the Vietnam War when few labor leaders were willing to do so. Likewise, when State Senator John Briggs placed a measure on the state ballot that would have banned gay teachers from California classrooms, Teilhet debated him across the state and helped turn the tide against the Briggs Initiative. Under his leadership the CFT grew from 6,000 members to nearly 40,000 by the time he stepped down in 1985. And his forceful advocacy was one of the main reasons why the California state legislature passed, and Governor Jerry Brown signed, the Educational Employment Relations Act in 1975, legalizing collective bargaining in California public education.

Teilhet is survived by his wife, Carol Rosenzweig Teilhet.

CFT Presses Forward with Complaint Against Accrediting Agency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 31, 2013
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CFT Presses Forward with Complaint Against Accrediting Agency

Says Commission’s Response Lacks Substance

The CFT is not surprised by the brief and dismissive reply issued yesterday in response to our third party comment to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

“The accreditation process is extremely important in ensuring effectiveness and trust for public education at all levels. The dismissal of our complaint as ‘without merit’ by ACCJC is further proof that the agency overseeing community college accreditation lacks transparency and any capacity for self-critical analysis,” said Joshua Pechthalt, CFT president. “We are extremely troubled by the way ACCJC has steered the accreditation process away from those values.”

The CFT will continue to push to return the agency responsible for accrediting community colleges in California to transparency and accountability to the public.

The ACCJC’s six-page response ducks most of the complaint's substance. In response to the complaint’s documentation of violation of federal regulations, the ACCJC simply says, it “is not a court of law,” and ignores the substantive issues raised.

Ultimately, the ACCJC is unwilling to hear any criticism, as it places more than one in five community colleges on sanction, diverting precious resources from the job of educating students to “compliance” with its demands.

“The students of California’s community colleges and the taxpayers who support them deserve far better,” said CFT President Pechthalt, one of the signatories to the complaint. “We will do what we can to make sure that the accreditation process for California community colleges helps and doesn’t harm public education.”

The CFT requests the facts from Community College Accreditors (ACCJC)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 20, 2013 
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The CFT requests the facts from Community College Accreditors (ACCJC)

Calls for Release of Information in City College of San Francisco Case
The California Federation of Teachers has followed up its recent “complaint” with the Accreditation Commission for Junior and Community Colleges (ACCJC) with a request for additional information. In a legal letter to the Commission, the CFT, through attorney Robert J. Bezemek, is requesting materials that may prove relevant to its complaint, in printed and electronic form, stipulating that these materials must continue to be preserved.

“Given the seemingly arbitrary way the commission has acted of late – misapplying its own rules and procedures while violating federal and state law -- we want to do everything we can to make sure the public has access to all the relevant information so that an informed opinion can be reached,” said Jeff Freitas, Secretary Treasurer of the CFT.

In the April 30 filing, the California Federation of Teachers and its San Francisco affiliate, AFT Local 2121, protested the ACCJC’s placement of City College San Francisco on a “show cause” sanction in 2012. The document demonstrates that given the agency’s malpractice no sanction, let alone “show cause,” should have been imposed on CCSF. It also notifies the ACCJC and the US Department of Education (DoE) that in the view of CFT, the accrediting agency is in violation of federal and state law as well as its own policies, and has overstepped its authority in a number of ways. The agency is currently undergoing its own review by the DoE, and the CFT is presenting the complaint as information useful to that process.

To view the information request, third party comment, and other articles related to this unfolding story, go to cft.org/accjc.

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