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November 8, 2012

In this issue: Huge Election Victories - Thank You BFT Volunteers!, Chicago Teachers Union VP to Speak In Berkeley on November 15, General Membership Meeting on December 6th With Negotiations Focus, BUSD Illuminate Trainings, and more….

Labor/Community Alliance Passes Prop. 30 and Defeats Prop. 32!

The powerful alliance of labor and key community partners, such as ACCE, the Courage Campaign and California Calls, succeeded in defeating BIG MONEY and passing Prop. 30 and defeating Prop. 32 on Election Day. These are huge victories for our members and our state. In the last 10 weeks, over 175 BFT members showed their dedication to public education in California by volunteering to get the vote out and educate voters about the important issues. Members volunteered their time precinct-walking, phone banking, leafleting, talking to other members, writing letters to the editor, and distributing signs. All of this hard work helped create alliances with local organizations, and created a presence in the community that help us with our ongoing contract campaign. Thank you for working tirelessly!

Help Support Our 2012-13 Contract Campaign on November 15th

All BFT members are encouraged to support our fight to negotiate the best possible contract by attending our first contract campaign event on Thursday, November 15th, 7:00 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School's auditorium. A leader of the Chicago Teachers Union will speak to us about CTU’s very successful campaign and what we can learn from their struggle. This event is also sponsored by the United Educators of San Francisco and the Alameda Teachers Association. Join us in solidarity!

General Membership Meeting on December 6th

BFT will hold a general membership meeting on Thursday, December 6th, at 4:00 p.m. at the Berkeley Adult School multi-purpose room at 1701 San Pablo Avenue. All BFT members will have an opportunity to receive information and to give input on the 2012-13 BFT/BUSD negotiations. Members of the BFT Negotiations Team will be on hand to listen and answer questions. We will also be discussing ways to mobilize our members in support of contract negotiations. All members are encouraged to attend and bring their thoughts and ideas!

Did You Change Columns This Year? Check Your October Paycheck Carefully

Did you know that every year 3-4 BFT members recoup thousands of dollars in back pay because they take the time to check their paycheck stub? Errors in your paycheck also affect your bonus. BFT recommends that you check to make sure your new position on the salary schedule is reflected in your paycheck. An easy guide to check your paystub, and salary schedules are available on the BFT website. If you were not paid correctly, use the Help Guide (also on the BFT website) to find the most effective way to solve the problem.

November 15th Deadline to Turn in Transcripts for Salary Schedule Advancement

If you have completed new units and plan to advance on the salary schedule and you have not already done so, you must turn in your official (sealed) transcripts of the new units to the Human Resources office by November 15th. Be sure to get a receipt.

BFT Recommends Checking Your Employee Information Verification Form

All employees should have received an Employee Information Verification Form from BUSD via postal mail. BFT recommends carefully checking the information on this form. Temporary and Probationary teachers are especially encouraged to confirm that information such as hire dates are correct. A quick guide for checking your form is on the BFT website.

BUSD To Offer Additional Illuminate Trainings

The Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment office will offer trainings on Illuminate, the new data collection system, during Winter Recess on January 3rd and 4th, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Participants will receive a $100 stipend per day. Please look for more information coming soon.
Created A Great Lesson You’d Like to Share With Others? Looking For A Great Lesson?
The American Federation of Teachers has created an online tool for teachers to share their lessons, at no charge. You can easily search for lessons by subject, topic, grade, type and format and all lessons have been rated and reviewed by other teachers. This is a great resource for teachers to collaborate! Visit this fantastic resource at

Slight Increase in Your CFT COPE Monthly Deduction

In order to raise funds to fight for the passage of Proposition 30, defeat Proposition 32 and other ongoing political activity, an increase in the monthly contribution to CFT’s COPE fund was approved at the California Federation of Teachers Convention in March 2012. If you are a fulltime teacher, you will see an increase from $2.00 to $4.50 beginning in October paychecks, and ongoing for two years.

AFT Resolution: Testing Should Inform, Not Impede, Teaching and Learning

At the AFT Convention in July 2012 delegates passed a resolution stating: “The current generation of low-level, high stakes tests—and their extreme misuse as a result of ideologically and politically driven education policy—has not improved our schools”. AFT’s position echoes BFT’s position that useful assessments, not ineffectual standardized tests, should support instruction. The resolution goes on to say “We believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and align with curriculum rather than narrow it; that are developed through collaborative efforts... that are focused on measuring growth and continuous development instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn…” Members can view the entire resolution on the BFT web site.

What Are My Rights in the Evaluation Process?

An easy-to-use FAQ with the answers to this question, along with many others, is available on the BFT website under “Resources-FAQ’s”.

Calendar of Coming Events

  • November 12 - Veterans Day Holiday
  • November 15 - Learning Lessons from the CTU Strike: 7pm at Longfellow
  • November 15 - Deadline For Transcripts
  • November 21-23 - Thanksgiving Holiday
  • December 6 - General Membership Meeting Focused on Negotiations