Friday, March 16, 2018

ABCFT - Week in Review - March 16, 2018

ABCFT - Week in Review - March 16, 2018

In case you’ve missed previous Weeks in Review, you can find all of them here: ABCTeachernews To find previous editions, just click on “Blog Archive” which is the menu on the right and click on the specific week.

(ABC Federation of Teachers)

In Unity
ABC Federation of Teachers

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More Pictures and Stories From Across the District About the 17 Minute Student Walkouts

From Elliott Elementary - Students Showing the Community that Safety Matters
30 fifth and sixth graders organized during lunch and walk "in" today.
More Pictures From Cerritos High School
CHS Teacher Vicki Yamashita reports, “Principal Pat Walker (CHS) could not have been more supportive of this walkout.  I worked closely with him to coordinate things. The student leader, Lauren Waites, also did a fantastic job organizing.
Brian Rodriguez, our new teacher for multi-media, also supported the student organizers and created this promo which was shared on multiple media platforms, including C-High TV (our daily broadcast).”
Thanks to all the contributors for sharing your pictures and stories.

ABCFT TEACHER LEADERS PROGRAM: Tanya Golden TL Facilitator Profile here

On Monday after school, the Teacher Leaders met to discuss community relations. We were honored to have LaQuisha Anderson, ABCUSD’s PTA Council President as our guest speaker. Ms. Anderson shared with us the many activities and services that PTA offers to students and community members. PTA has a Parent Center at Hawaiian Elementary, opened last fall, which provides internet access, computers, a food pantry and soon to host a 4 week technology class for parents. They are in the process of selecting scholarships for ABCUSD seniors and preparing for a District Film Festival to be held at Whitney on May 20th.

We want to be good community partners with our PTA and they are looking for volunteers to teach the technology, read scholarship applications, help at the Film Festival and at the Parent Center. If you or someone you know is able to volunteer for one of these important activities please contact me at or contact PTA here---> ABC Council PTA

The work did not end with our guest speaker, inspired by Ms. Anderson, the TL’s brainstormed and identified other community members and created a plan on how to best support our PTA. We spent the rest of the evening building our writing skills in regards to advocating for public education, students, and our right to have union representation in our workplace. The Teacher Leaders are also, completing their action research and we will spotlight all of their hard work at our Showcase on Friday, May 18th. You are welcome to come support our TL’s at our Showcase. Details will follow at a later date.

This Monday the ABCFT Negotiating Team met with ABCUSD for another round of talks on the Master Contract. We are hoping that we can conclude the negotiations shortly after Spring Break.

A special thank you to the eight or so members who came to the general meeting last Friday to discuss the tentative agreement. Your comments and questions were very helpful.

As we shared in our email earlier this week, the ratified Tentative Salary Agreement will be voted on by the School Board on Tuesday, March 20th. Once it is approved we will have a better idea of when you will see the adjustment to your salary and the one time or off schedule monies.

Three Fedde Students Engaging Former President Jimmy Carter
HAWAIIAN GARDENS (CBSLA)   — Three middle class students in Hawaiian Gardens are working on a documentary about the Iran hostage crisis and the Middle East.
The seventh graders at Fedde Academy had some questions for former President Jimmy Carter. What to do? They checked resource books, and finally figured why not just write him a letter?
They did. To their surprise, Jo Kwon reports, he wrote back.
National Women Month Resources

The National Women’s History Project recognizes and celebrates the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing informational services and educational and promotional materials.
What is the National Women’s History Project?
The National Women’s History Project, founded in 1980, is a non-profit educational organization committed to recognizing and celebrating the diverse and significant historical accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs. To learn more about National Women’s History Project, click here.
Check out the excellent document they have put together on

Curriculum Link of the Week
Everyone needs a planbook that is tech friendly but sophisticated enough to be cutting edge for today’s classroom teacher. Take a look at to help your classroom organization, stay on top of your curriculum pacing, standards, and student lists. offers man helpful tools that can help make a teacher planning easier and more comprehensive. Check it out.

Teacher Planbook
  • Supports weekly, two-week, A/B, and cycle schedules
  • Plans can be viewed by day, week, month, or class
  • Customizable lessons with up-to ten unique sections
  • Schedule classes for full year, terms, or defined range
  • Standards available for all 50 states, 75 national and international frameworks, 100 districts and dioceses, and growing!

Sharing resources and ideas are what keeps our classrooms innovative, interesting, and organized. Each week,  ABCFT will highlight an education resource that we heard was great for teachers. If you have a website, book, or training that you found helpful in your classroom let us know at so we can share it with everyone.

If you send an idea or link and we use it in the Review, we will send you a Starbucks gift card for the helpful hint.

  PRESIDENT’S REPORT - Ray Gaer video profile here
Every week is packed with action across the district as we hurtle towards Spring Break. Elementary Teachers have just finished the second trimester and secondary teachers are looking at the quarter ending prior to the break. Thank you to all of the members who voted on the tentative agreement for salary this week. Your voice was heard and the ABCFT leadership appreciates your patience over the span of our negotiations. We will continue to strive to be transparent and receptive to the needs of members in our negotiations.

Over this past week I attended/worked with unit members in representations, contract resolutions, email/text/phone call questions, site concerns, and mediations. Here are a couple of highlights from my week:

On Monday, I sat with the negotiating team as we continue to work on Master Contract language. We spent most of the day debating language for online classes and their impact on teachers and students. It is important that both organizations understand the vision of online classes and their impact on our educational system.  I expect we will finishing up the Master Contract once we can come to an agreement on technology. Your thoughts on the issue of online classes are always welcomed.

On Tuesday, Ruben Mancillas, Arlene Riddick, Tanya Golden and myself fought the traffic of Los Angeles to attend the Workers Congress for the Los Angeles County Labor Federation.  Below is the summary of activities that were planned culminating in an election of the newly elected leadership. Having a voice at the County Federation gives ABCFT a voice at the County level and provides ABCFT with trainings and helpful union information on organizing and labor actions that support Working Families.

“We are expecting nearly 1,000 workers to join us at our Workers’ Congress next Tuesday, March 13! We’ll be hearing from labor leaders on today’s most pressing issues and swearing in our new Executive Board members. Speakers include Mayor Garcetti, Randy “Ironstache” Bryce running against House Speaker Paul Ryan, DACA recipient Astrid Silva, and Karine Jean Pierre, Senior Advisor and National Spokesperson for”
On Wednesday and Thursday Membership Coordinator Tanya and I met with Nurses and EIP teachers (these are teachers who work with Head Start age special education students).  ABC as a district has more nurses than most of the surrounding districts because there numbers are protected by the Master Contract. However, ABC is having a tough time recruiting nurses  because of the pay discrepancy in comparison to other districts so this is something that ABCFT is actively trying to address with the district.

Everyday this month we are preparing the delegates and ourselves for the CFT State Convention which happens later this month. As we get closer and after the event we will have expanded coverage of the events and ABCFT delegates who attend this year’s convention.

Thank you for all you do with our students and for supporting  each other as a YOUnion.
As always, have a great weekend and we will see you back here next week.

In Unity!

Ray Gaer
ABCFT President

Darn Arizona...again.


The researcher, Jacquelyn Ollison, in collaboration with the California Department of Education Deputy Director Glen Price, is investigating the effect "compassion fatigue" has on teachers, the relationship it may have to attrition, and supports needed for teachers.  Results from the research may provide a path for new policies to better support teachers, etc. We receive all of the results of the research upon completion -- and I will be sure to share it with you.

The researcher is asking for our help by asking teachers to compete a very short survey (about 10 minutes) regarding their experience.   A draft explanation for you to use with your members is attached. You can copy and paste it into an email, and make any necessary changes before distributing.  The explanation contains the link to the survey.  

CFT Delegates from ABCFT will join students, teachers, and other community activists in this historic march for safety in our nation’s schools - let your voice be heard. Come and join us at the march behind the ABC Federation of Teachers banner.


AFT President Randi Weingarten Calls for Passage of the STOP School Violence Act of 2018
WASHINGTON—The AFT sent a letter to Congress today to express support for H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. AFT President Randi Weingarten also issued the following statement:
“Safe schools require more than words or thoughts and prayers. This bill is a solid step toward helping schools be safe sanctuaries for teaching and learning—but there is much more work to be done. We must invest in prevention: mental health supports for students and educators, more counselors, after-school activities, and programs like peer counseling, wellness programs and other social supports. Equally important, we need commonsense gun safety legislation that is supported by huge majorities of Americans, even gun owners.
“Today, teachers and school personnel around the country are supporting student-led walkouts to make clear that we will not rest until we see action to stop gun violence in our schools. I was honored to join students at New York City’s Leadership and Public Service High School for their walkout to Zuccotti Park. These kids are fighting for their lives. They aren’t intimidated by the NRA, and unlike the White House, they are committed to change. To them, enough means enough, and I am inspired by their actions and unity to make change happen. It’s time to value our children more than guns.
“We will not rest until we see action—and that includes, as the students said today, helping people to register to vote and voting for people in November who stand with students, parents and teachers, not the gun industry.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.

AFT Report Reveals Asset Managers’ Hypocritical Assault on
Workers’ Retirements
WASHINGTONA new edition of an influential report published by the American Federation of Teachers exposes Wall Street asset managers who earn millions in fees from defined-benefit pension plans while simultaneously taking actions that can undermine their very existence.
“Ranking Asset Managers: A Retirement Security Report on Money Managers for Pension Fund Trustees” (sixth edition) [LINK], distributed this morning at the Council of Institutional Investors’ Spring Conference, includes a “watch list” of managers who earn fees from investing workers’ defined-benefit pensions while also working behind the scenes to diminish or eliminate those plans.
Workers’ retirement security should not be a Wall Street gamble. Our immediate goal is to make sure the public, our members and public pension trustees are aware of the named managers’ actions. Our long-term goal is retirement security for all.
Disturbingly, some named asset managers have supported initiatives that may harm the retirement security of defined-benefit plan participants, to whom trustees have a formal fiduciary duty.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Asset managers can’t have it both ways. Trustees have a fiduciary duty to ensure workers’ capital is invested in a fiscally prudent manner. Managers, who make a living as defined-benefit plan investors, cannot, in the next breath, attack those same plans. The AFT will continue to liaise closely with the AFT Trustee Council to identify how best to safeguard workers’ retirement security from those who would prefer to undermine it.”
The sixth edition of “Ranking Asset Managers” exposes managers who assist think tanks, political committees and other organizations attacking defined-benefit plans through legislative action and other political tactics. Bellwether Education Partners, the Reason Foundation and the Illinois Policy Institute are among those named for the first time because of their hostility to these plans.
The report again documents the activities of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who continues to benefit from defined-benefit pension plans while also agitating for their dismantling, as well as the Manhattan Institute, the Show-Me Institute and StudentsFirstNY.
Transparency yields accountability. In the years following the release of the AFT’s first watch list, several investment managers have severed ties with anti-defined-benefit organizations. For example, Rex Sinquefield quit the board of Dimensional Fund Advisors, an investment company he founded, and partners at AQR Capital Management and Court Square Capital Partners left the board of the Manhattan Institute. Over the last few years, several fund managers—after being included on the AFT’s watch list—have pledged not to donate to organizations that undermine retirement security.
The report concludes with the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems’ “Code of Conduct for Public Pension Service Providers,” a set of voluntary ethical guidelines designed to protect the interests of plan participants and beneficiaries, along with a set of recommendations for pension plan trustees wishing to consider secondary factors as part of their decision-making process.
The AFT will continue to periodically update this 2018 edition. A guide for trustees on gun-related investments in their portfolios and the steps pension funds and other investors have taken to address this risk is also in the pipeline.
The full report is available here.

Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten:

----- NATIONAL NEWS -----

Teachers’ unions wait as Supreme Court hears Janus vs. AFCSME
Teachers’ unions are awaiting verdicts as the U.S. Supreme Court this week heard arguments in a case that could see public sector unions lose the right to collect fees from non-member public workers. The California Teachers Association (CTA) faced a similar case from an Orange County teacher in 2016, where the court split 4-4 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Union members fear that under the Supreme Court’s current alignment, unions will lose the rights to collect funding in the current Janus vs AFCSME case, which leader of the CTA Eric Heins has termed “a blatant political attack.”
DeVos says interview was edited to make her look bad
Days after she was criticized for struggling to answer questions about school performance and education policy during the CBS news program ‘60 Minutes’, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suggested her comments had been edited to make her look bad. “So, now that I have the opportunity to speak unedited, I’m not afraid to call out folks who defend stagnation for what it really is: failure, ”she said, while highlighting that U.S. students are ranked 40th in math, 23rd in reading and 25th in science compared to other countries. DeVos also backed President Trump’s plan for the Department of Justice to partner with state and local law enforcement to provide firearm training for school personnel on a voluntary basis. “Programs like this exist in a number of states including Florida, Texas and Ohio. Additionally, we will support the transition of military veterans and retired law enforcement into new careers in education,” she said

Judge sides with transgender teen
A Maryland federal district judge has ruled that a Maryland school policy blocking a transgender teenager from using the boys’ locker room unlawfully singled him out because it did not apply to anyone else at the high school and harmed his health and well-being, and has denied a motion from the school board to dismiss the teen’s lawsuit challenging the policy. “I am extremely happy with the court’s decision, and think it is a great step in the right direction,” the teenager said.

DeVos commission to change Obama school discipline rules
A new Federal Commission on School Safety, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is to consider, among other issues, repealing the Obama administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies. DeVos said that the commission “is really the first step in a more lengthy process” to make schools safer. “Everything is on the table," she said.” Meanwhile, DeVos has admitted President Trump could have set a better example to the nation’s children when he called NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ moderator Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a bitch” over the weekend. “I would probably use different language myself,” DeVos said. “I think we all have an opportunity and a responsibility to be examples to our kids.”

DeVos pressed on public school policies
During an interview on CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ show, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seemed to struggle to explain why public schools in her home state of Michigan have performed poorly despite school choice policies she’s championed. “In places where there is a lot of choice that’s been introduced, Florida for example, the studies show that where there’s a large number of students that opt to go to a different school or different schools, the traditional public schools actually, the results get better as well,” DeVos said. “Has that happened in Michigan?” interviewer Lesley Stahl asked. “I don’t know. I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better." DeVos replied. Later on, DeVos, an advocate of promoting school choice initiatives, acknowledged public schools in Michigan need to do better.

White House vows to help arm teachers
The White House has said it wants to help provide “rigorous firearms training” to some school teachers but has backed off President Trump’s call to raise the minimum age to purchase some guns to 21 years old from 18 years old. The idea of arming some teachers has drawn sharp opposition from the National Education Association (NEA), the country’s largest teachers lobby. Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a, president of the NEA, said that “bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms.”

----- STATE NEWS -----

Tens of thousands of Californian students join National Walkout
Tens of thousands of students across California walked out of class on Wednesday in a protest for stricter gun control laws following last month’s Parkland shooting. The LAPD asked thousands of students engaging in “peaceful dialogue” not to leave campus during the walkout, while students stood in formation to spell “Enough” on sports fields and held banners with the names of the 17 victims of last month’s Parkland shooting. In San Francisco, 400 students gathered outside the City Hall to protest, chanting “Enough is Enough.” Students in San Diego released doves and lay on the floor in protest, while state officials joined protestors at a Sacramento high school close to the Capitol building. Meanwhile, Viacom TV channels including Nickelodeon and MTV went dark for 17 minutes from 10am, with the broadcaster saying it was “standing with all the students& rdquo; involved.
DeVos criticizes “indecipherable” California School Dashboard
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a veiled attack on the California School Dashboard – the state’s new color-coded report card system, which was revised for federal approval in January –whilst expressing wider dissatisfaction with states’ efforts to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Obama administration’s ESSA gives states more freedom to set their own school-scoring systems to ensure that schools are held to account for their performance relative to local context. Although praising Gov. Jerry Brown for backing “local empowerment” of schools, DeVos seemingly took aim at California when regretting several states’ choices regarding ESSA, including one who “took a simple concept like a color-coded dashboard and managed to make it nearly indecipherable”.

New bill would levy fee on gun sales to fund school safety
Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) has introduced a bill that would see Californians who buy guns or ammunition pay a new fee to fund more counselors and safety officers at schools. The bill follows a shooting last month that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. California school resource officers are already armed, state-certified law enforcement officers are assigned to a number of high schools; the new fee, the amount of which has not yet been decided, would allow more high schools to decide whether they want a safety officer on campus. In a statement, Mr Cooper said: “It sickens me to think about all the kids who have lost their lives in the school shootings that are plaguing our country. Arming teachers is not good public policy and shouldn’t be considered.”

California lagging on science education standards
A report from the Public Policy Institute of California claims that the implementation of the state’s new science education standards has been set back by teacher shortages and a lack of supplies, among other obstacles. The study examined 204 school districts across California at the end of the 2016-17 school year about their progress in rolling out the Next Generation Science Standards, which were adopted in 2013. Also being used by 18 other states, the new standards focus on hands-on science projects and large scientific concepts that cross multiple disciplines, such as cause and effect, motion and stability, and matter and interactions.
Assembly committee hears ways to support STEM programs
The Assembly Committee on STEM Education has heard that one of the biggest challenges facing the state is ensuring that ethnic minority students have equal access to STEM subjects. Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), who heads the committee, said last week that , in 2015, only 18% of black students and 17% of Latino fourth-graders were proficient in math, with the numbers dropping to 14% and 13%, respectively, by the eighth grade. He has introduced Assembly Bill 2186, the California STEM Grant Program, offering extra funding to expand and develop high-quality STEM programs to increase student access and to recruit and retain math and science teachers

California’s total population ranked 25th in country for education attainment
California has been ranked 25th for educational attainment in the country, in a new survey by WalletHub that analysed states’ total educational achievements across the population. The state ranked last in the country for the percentage of adult population who had graduated from high school, but came 1st place for having the lowest gender gap in educational attainment. California was found to have the 14th most educated workforce in the country, falling behind Northeastern states led by Massachusetts.
----- DISTRICTS -----
San Diego teachers on work-to-rule
San Diego USD teachers were set to participate in a work-to-rule action yesterday, to pressure district officials to reconsider their demands during contract negotiations. The educators have requested a 2% rise retroactive to the start of the current school year, and a 2.5% increase next year, along with caps on class sizes, extra nurses and counselors, and reduced caseloads for special education staff. Negotiations on the new contract, already nine months overdue, will resume on March 22nd.
School staff consider strike against LAUSD contracts
Thousands of Los Angeles USD staff who are members of the Service Employees International Union are voting between now and March 23 on whether to authorize a strike in protest of the district’s proposed terms for new employment contracts. Cafeteria workers, school bus drivers, special education assistants and others are accusing the LAUSD of “bad-faith bargaining” and unfair labor practices, and seek an increase to the currently proposed 2% wage rise. LAUSD chief labor negotiator Najeeb Khoury said that the district had to “take into account our structural deficit” when negotiating employee’s contracts, but the union says that despite a year of negotiations, “no significant movement has been made on key issues including wages and staffing shortages.”

Contract talks resume in Pajaro Valley
Pajaro Valley USD officials will today meet with the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, having reached “tentative agreements” on a number of provisions in an ongoing contract dispute. However, the two parties remain split on the matter of teacher compensation.The district says it cannot afford such demands as a retroactive raise for the 2016-2017 school year; however, the union contends that the district historically underestimates its ending fund balance, and keeps its reserves needlessly high when they could be used for such things as salary increases.



College students back free speech, if it doesn’t offend them
A survey released by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation shows that U.S. college students generally endorse the ideals of free speech and campuses that encourage the discussion of a variety of ideas, but once that speech begins to infringe on their values, they’re likely to support policies that place limits on speech. When forced to choose, a majority of students said that diversity and inclusivity were more important than free speech. “What you see is a generation that’s struggling with really deep questions about how to be a pluralistic society and a pluralistic campus and how to be an open society and an open campus,” said Sam Gill, from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.