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April 27, 2011

In this issue: CFT and CTA Week of Action 9-13, General Membership Meeting on Budget Cuts and Negotiations May 5th, RALLY in San Francisco May 13th! and more…

BFT Membership Meeting, Thursday May 5th

Are you angry that education and social services funding in our state continue to be slashed while the wealthiest Californians pay less in taxes than they did under Governor Pete Wilson? Are you angry about cuts to our Adult School and Preschool programs, and about proposed class size increases and furloughs next year? Are you ready to take action? Please attend a General Membership meeting on Thursday, May 4th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Adult School multipurpose room to hear about negotiations, proposed budget cuts for next year and effective ways you can take action to defend public education in our state.

Statewide Call to Action: May 9th-13th

May 9-13, 2011 will be a joint CFT and CTA week of escalating action ending in seven regional rallies across the state on May 13th. Public education and social services are in a state of emergency in California. We must all take action to persuade the legislature to act on its own to extend the current taxes and to begin to provide a progressive taxation system that provides for the basic of a civilized society in our state.

BFT and BCCE Members to Leaflet BART Stations May 10th 4:00pm

Mark your calendars! All members are asked to join in as BFT and BCCE, and hopefully other BUSD Unions, leaflet at all three Berkeley BART stations on Tuesday May 10th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is a fun, easy, and quick way to inform the public about the importance of generating revenue to pay for education! People like to hear from their teachers in the community! Please wear your BFT t-shirt.

Rally on May 13th in San Francisco!

Seven regional rallies are planned throughout the state. Join your union brothers and sisters in San Francisco at 4:00 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza. We need to make a loud noise that day! Every single person makes a difference, so please attend. Wear your BFT t-shirt.

Sit-In at the State Capitol, Friday May 13th

Wish you could join union members in Wisconsin? The next best thing is to sit in at our people’s house! During the week of May 9-13, CFT and CTA members will occupy the Capitol to send a very clear message to legislators that we want them to pass tax extensions to prevent an additional $4 billion cut to education spending. BFT will pay for a sub and your train fare to the Capitol to join any day of the weeklong sit-in. Please call BFT at 549-2307 for details if you are interested in participating.

Teachers of Color Social, Friday April 29th

BFT Teachers of Color Network is sponsoring a social event THIS FRIDAY, April 29th at 4:30 p.m. at Thalassa Billiards, 2367 Shattuck Ave., for teachers of color in BUSD. Join us for snacks, solidarity and fun. No pool experience necessary.

2010-2011 Proposed Budget Cuts: Budget Advisory Committee at Work

The Budget Advisory Committee has been working hard to make sense of the ever-changing information about the state budget. Tax extensions that would prevent a $14 billion deficit will not be on a June ballot, but can still be passed by the legislature. As we wait to find out if these taxes will be extended, the committee has looked at several different scenarios for next year’s budget. Please attend the May 5th BFT membership meeting for more details.

Amgen Scholarships Available for Science Teachers Pursuing National Board Certification

The Amgen Foundation is awarding $1.5 million in scholarships on a first-come, first-serve basis for science teachers pursuing National Board Certification, the most prestigious credential in the teaching profession. First priority will be given to science teachers teaching ages 11-18. If funding remains available, scholarships will also be awarded to elementary teachers teaching students ages 3-12 who are responsible for science instruction. Click on for more information.

Nominations for BFT Officers Open March 24th – May 5th

Elections for BFT executive officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) will be held this spring. Nominations opened at the March 24th general membership meeting and will close at the May 5th membership meeting. Contact BFT at 549-2307 if you need another nomination form.

BFT Awards Several Social Justice Learning Grants/Celebrate Harvey Milk Day

Several BFT members have been awarded Social Justice Service Learning Grants that have provided books, materials to plant strawberry plants, and guitar accompaniment for a play about Cesar Chavez. We applaud teachers who have shown creativity while teaching about social justice and we encourage members to apply for any type of social justice grant, for teaching opportunities such as celebrating Harvey Milk Day on May 22nd. For an application, click on “Social Justice Learning Grants” on the BFT website where you will also find resources for teaching about Harvey Milk and Cesar Chavez.

Are You Interested in a Job Share Next Year?

If you are a K-5 teacher interested in a job share for 2011-2012, please contact BFT at 549-2307 or so that we can connect you with other teachers seeking job shares.

California Federation of Teachers Convention Attended by BFT members

Thank you to 6 BFT members who represented our local at the CFT convention in March in which we elected Joshua Pechthalt, of United Teachers Los Angeles, as CFT president, and Jeff Freitas, former Carpinteria local AFT president and CFT lobbyist, as secretary treasurer. With a strong mandate for fair tax policies and sensible education policies rather than “blame the teachers” attacks masquerading as reform, their election signaled a strengthening of the statewide union’s direction initiated by outgoing president Marty Hittelman over the past four years. Thank you Marty Hittelman and secretary treasurer Dennis Smith for your years of service.

Calendar of Coming Events

April 29thTeachers of Color Social
May 5thBFT General Membership Meeting at 4pm at Adult School
May 10th Leaflet at BART stations
May 13thSit-in at state Capitol/ San Francisco Rally
May 22ndHarvey Milk Day     
May 23rdMalcolm X’s Birthday Holiday
May 23rdStaff Development Make-up Day