News Releases

CFT Supports Case Contesting Trump Executive Order

For Immediate Release: March 27, 2017
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Union Joins Amicus Brief Challenging Policies That Could Harm Students

The California Federation of Teachers has joined an expansive group of public schools, districts and other education associations in filing a friend of the court brief in the case of County of Santa Clara v. Donald J. Trump, et al.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the enforcement of a recent Executive Order signed by Trump targeting “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The order signed in January grants the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to unilaterally deny federal funds that support critically-needed basic services to any jurisdiction they deem to be a “sanctuary jurisdiction.”

“The Executive Order transforms schools from inclusive, safe spaces to places of fear and uncertainty, ultimately undermining our entire public education system,” the amicus brief states. “[It] is causing sweeping, profound, and irreparable harm to our children and their families, our public education system, and ultimately, the future of our country.”

The Executive Order signed by Trump could withhold billions of dollars in federal and federally contingent funding from jurisdictions and cause irreparable harm to communities.

“President Trump’s unilateral Executive Order harms not just communities, but children,” said CFT President Joshua Pechthalt. “We are concerned for our students and the communities within which we work. The students of California should be focused on their education instead of fearing that they, their parents, or their loved ones may be the victim of an ICE raid. Schools should be safe havens for all students. This Executive Order undermines our ability to teach and for our students to learn.”
The full amicus brief can be read here.

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

On Steve Zimmer’s Runoff in the LAUSD Board of Education Race

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2017
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STATEMENT FROM THE CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS:

“Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education President Steve Zimmer came only a few percentage points shy of winning his reelection bid outright on Tuesday. With a large plurality vote, Zimmer heads into the runoff with strong support from the community, parents, teachers, support staff, and pro-public school and community school advocates. This near-victory and across-the-board backing is a reaffirmation that voters in Steve Zimmer’s district have confidence in his leadership and the positive direction our schools are pursuing. It is also a rejection of the flood of money from pro-charter school interests and the negative ads they ran against Steve Zimmer.

Steve Zimmer and the unions backing him are not anti-charter despite the rhetoric from the charter school community. But parents, students and education workers deserve full transparency and accountability whether the school is a charter school or not. When wealthy charter school backers spend millions to unseat an effective and well-regarded school board member the entire education community suffers.”

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The California Federation of Teachers represents 25,000 community college faculty and several thousand community college classified employees in thirty colleges around the state, including at Compton College. In all the CFT represents 120,000 faculty and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. More info: www.cft.org.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye to California’s Community College Accreditor

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2017
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Statement by CFT president Joshua Pechthalt:

Over the past several years, as public understanding has grown regarding the destructive role played by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) in the California community college system, so has momentum to remove the agency from its position as accreditor. Over the next three days the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI)—the oversight body for higher education accreditation of the US Department of Education (USDOE)—is meeting in Washington D.C., and one of its tasks will be to determine whether the ACCJC should continue to be the accreditor of record for California community colleges.

An overwhelming body of evidence says “no.” Last year NACIQI, confronting the long list of documented abuses by ACCJC of its responsibilities, and after hearing from the diverse stakeholder organizations that sent speakers to testify before NACIQI, expressed its concern by recommending to the USDOE an unprecedented six month extension of ACCJC’s authority to accredit (normally five years).

Stakeholders who agree that fair accreditation in California requires moving to a new accreditor include the California Community College Board of Governors, State Chancellor, district chief executive officers, the statewide faculty academic senate, and faculty unions, among others. The California state auditor found that the ACCJC suffers from a lack of transparency, an inadequate appeals process, and treats colleges inconsistently, among other problems. The California Superior Court found the ACCJC had broken four laws in the agency’s decision—since reversed—to disaccredit City College of San Francisco.

The primary requirement for an accreditor is that it is “widely accepted” by the community it oversees. This is no longer true of the ACCJC. NACIQI should recommend to the USDOE that it assist California in planning to transition to a new accreditor.

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The California Federation of Teachers represents 25,000 community college faculty and several thousand community college classified employees in thirty colleges around the state, including at Compton College. In all the CFT represents 120,000 faculty and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. More info: www.cft.org.

A Step Forward for Compton College

For Immediate Release: February 14, 2017
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Statement by CFT president Joshua Pechthalt:
The announcement that Compton College’s Board of Trustees will be running the school for the first time in ten years is a welcome development. The state Chancellor, the Department of Finance, and governor agree that the school has made tremendous progress addressing the problems the school faced more than ten years ago. The proposed timeline for full restoration of accreditation, by 2020, is more reasonable than the 2026 timeline that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) gave the college last year. Nevertheless, while these are positive steps forward, Compton College, a historically Black college, will have gone more than a decade without accreditation. It’s time Compton College is fully accredited and complete authority for the school returned to the community.

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The California Federation of Teachers represents 25,000 community college faculty and several thousand community college classified employees in thirty colleges around the state, including at Compton College. In all the CFT represents 120,000 faculty and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. More info: www.cft.org.

On the Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

For Immediate Release: February 7, 2017
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STATEMENT FROM THE CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS

On the Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

Despite an unprecedented surge of opposition and protest, the United States Senate voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as the nation’s 11th Secretary of Education on Tuesday. The California Federation of Teachers is extremely disappointed in the confirmation of this unqualified candidate to lead our nation’s education system.

Teachers, classified workers, students, parents and policy makers from both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly opposed the confirmation of Betsy DeVos. Her lack of skills, knowledge and direct experience with public education is deeply unsettling and bodes poorly for our students. As Ms. DeVos’ substantial political donations to the very Senators who voted for her are part of the public record, her advancement signals the dangerous role money is playing in policy development. California’s six million K-12 public school students and three million public college and university students deserve better.

That Mike Pence became the first Vice President called upon to cast a tie-breaking vote on a cabinet nominee speaks to DeVos’s lack of broad support. It is unfortunate that someone so openly anti-public education is running public education. The California Federation of Teachers will continue to stand with students, their families, and the broader public to fight for quality public education and against the disastrous policies of the Trump administration.

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

CFT opposes the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch

For Immediate Release: February 1, 2017
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STATEMENT FROM THE CALIFORNIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS

CFT opposes the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch

President Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee doubles down on the approach he has taken with his other selections. Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch is a conservative disciple of the late Judge Scalia and a proponent of the Supreme Court as a defender of the original interpretation of the Constitution—a Constitution that was drafted to protect the interests of white slave owners. Judge Gorsuch has advocated against gun control, against the Affordable Care Act and against Roe v Wade—the landmark decision that gives a woman control over her own body. Neil Gorsuch should be rejected by the Senate.

Unlike the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, which requires a simple Senate majority, Supreme Court appointments require 60%. DeVos’s committee confirmation earlier today demonstrates clearly that a track record opposing the mission of the agency she is tapped to lead and remarkable ignorance of its policies are no impediments for the Republican majority. DeVos’s large financial donations to several Senators who voted for her represent an obvious conflict of interest that should have caused them to recuse themselves; but they didn’t.

Trump’s announcement of his nomination of Neil Gorsuch indicates he is attempting to put in place a justice who will approve his likely unconstitutional executive orders. Gorsuch views favorably the Supreme Court’s 2014 ‘Hobby Lobby’ decision, which tossed out language in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to pay for their employees’ contraception coverage.

This nomination will require Republicans reaching across the aisle to confirm. Devos’s confirmation shows the willingness of the Republican majority to rubberstamp reactionary politics, privilege and wealth, and ignore fairness and core American values. A Supreme Court justice must be a fair-minded individual willing to consider facts, law, and the needs of people over profits and corporate agendas. The Senate must reject the nomination of anti-choice, pro-corporate Neil Gorsuch.

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

Media contact

If you are a reporter or have a media inquiry, please call CFT Communications Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at 510-579-3343.