Brothers and Sisters,
I wanted to update you on some major statewide leadership changes which took place at the annual CFT convention this past weekend.
Both of our locally endorsed candidates for the two top CFT officer positions, Marty Hittelman for President, and Dennis Smith for Secretary-Treasurer, defeated long time incumbents with each receiving approximately 60% of the delegate vote.
This represents a sea change in the leadership of the CFT.
As our statewide affiliate, the CFT has been in financial trouble for some time, largely due to a lack of solid leadership at the top. I feel we have also lost our position of prominence on statewide issues.
The election of Marty and Dennis will put us on a smarter and more accountable financial course, as well as enhance our influence politically.
I have pasted in below the speeches given by Marty and Dennis at the convention regarding their candidacy. They were both very moving to hear.
SPEECH OF DENNIS SMITH:
Hello to all of my sisters and brothers at this Convention; I thank you for the opportunity to address you.
I stand here to ask that each of us reflect on the current state our union¹s financial affairs .
CFT¹s financial house is in disorder and we are weakened in our ability to respond to the issues of our members and their locals.
Public education is under siege in California and in this nation and the CFT finds itself in a particularly vulnerable position to respond to that siege
In auditing, there are degrees of assurance to be had. The highest level is the audit for compliance to GAAP. Just two years ago, the CFT had is first ever such audit. FIRST EVER!
The results were breathtakingly bad!
It gets worseŠ. We¹ve sold off most of our real estate, our debt was 134% of our assets. What we now owe to creditors is more than the assets that we currently own.
Our cash flow from operating activities was negative by more than $3 million dollars and not coincidentally, we borrowed more than $3 million dollars during the same time period.
How can we do the work of our union if our financial house is in such disarray?
We need reliable , relevant , and timely information so that when we make decisions and take actions we can be sure of our financial condition.
CFT needs a Secretary-Treasurer with the technical skills, the work ethic, and the leadership ability to help our organization to stem this financial tide.
I ŠhaveŠthose skills , that work ethic , and that leadership ability .
Specifically, I have been a business and accounting teacher for 30 years.
I passed the CPA exam twenty-five years ago and I practice what I teach.
I have been a faculty leader at local and state levels including serving as the treasurer for my own local and for the Statewide Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.
I continue to be the leader of a very effective negotiating team in my own District and I have been honored to serve my faculty colleagues for three terms as the president of our union .
I know the challenges local leaders face and I am committed to working with each of you and your staff or your CFT field representative to build our strength where our members live and work .
As the soon to be past president of the Faculty Association of California Community College, I¹m proud to say my name will appear on the ballot for the Community College Initiative which is promoted by a coalition led by the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild and our California Federation of Teachers.
My professional connections come from years of experience working at the local, regional, and state levels and I regularly appear before Legislative hearings and political press conferences to speak out for educational and labor issues.
I have a strong background in collaborative decision making . Based on trust, competence, and consistency; I have built effective relationships across all of our CFT Councils, with other CFT Officers, with CFT Staff, and most important, with many of you .
We find ourselves stressed on a daily basis
Š Stressed by attacks on public employee retirement ,
not enough full time higher education faculty,
over reliance on underpaid contingent faculty ,
inadequate student funding,
contracting out of our classified support services,
diminishing healthcare for everyone ,
political micromanaging of early childhood education , and assessment measures gone wild .
CFT has the best and most active members, local leaders, and professional staff of any union but it will soon be impossible for the CFT to function as an effective organization if we are failing financially.
I have the experience, the professional connections , and the will to make the changes we need in this organization.
I am a tireless advocate and a strong voice for the core issues of CFT members.
And I ask that you believe in me and cast your vote for Dennis Smith as Secretary-Treasurer of our CFT.
We need change and I am that change.
SPEECH OF MARTY HITTELMAN:
MY NAME IS MARTY HITTELMAN AND I AM RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE CFT. I BELIEVE THAT I HAVE THE COMBINATION OF
$ SKILLS, AND
NECESSARY TO LEAD CFT TO BECOME A MORE DYNAMIC AND EFFECTIVE AGENT OF POSITIVE CHANGE.
CFT, WITH ITS BROAD SCOPE OF MEMBERSHIP, FROM
$ PRE-SCHOOL TO THE UNIVERSITY, INCLUDING
$ CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES,
$ PARA PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES,
HAS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN THE STATE AND IN THE NATION.
WE SHOULD USE THIS STRENGTH TO OUR ADVANTAGE.
AND WE NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER, INDEPENDENT OF WHAT LEVEL OF EDUCATION WE ARE INVOLVED IN, OR WHAT OUR PARTICULAR JOB TITLES ARE.
WE MUST LIVE BY THE OLD ADAGE THAT AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL.
FIRST A SHORT SUMMARY OF MY EXPERIENCES THAT QUALIFY ME FOR THIS POSITION: I HAVE SERVED MY LOCAL
$ PRESIDENT TO VICE PRESIDENT TO GRIEVANCE OFFICER
$ NEGOTIATOR TO EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
$ I AM CURRENTLY THE SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF THE CFT
$ CHAIR OF THE CFT¹S LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE,
$ PRESIDENT OF THE CFT COMMUNITY COLLEGE COUNCIL AND
$ CFT REPRESENTATIVE TO US LABOR AGAINST THE WAR AS WELL AS THE EDUCATION TASK FORCE ON HEALTH CARE AND THE CALIFORNIA HEALTH CARE COALITION.
WE ARE WORKING TO REDUCE THE COST OF HEALTH CARE WHILE INCREASING THE QUALITY.
$ NATIONAL AFT¹S HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAM AND POLICY COUNCIL.
MY WIDE RANGE OF EXPERIENCES, BOTH LOCALLY AND STATEWIDE, HAVE PREPARED ME TO FORCEFULLY AND EFFECTIVELY CARRY OUT THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CFT PRESIDENCY.
I BELIEVE THAT WE, IN THE UNION MOVEMENT, MUST BE A MAJOR FORCE IN THE CREATION OF A CIVILIZED SOCIETY.
WE KNOW THAT THE LIVES OF OUR MEMBERS AND OUR STUDENTS DO NOT BEGIN AND END AT OUR WORK SITES. THE ISSUES OF OUR SOCIETY –
$ THE WAR IN IRAQ;
$ UNIVERSAL SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE;
$ THE ENVIRONMENT;
$ A WOMAN¹S RIGHT TO CHOOSE;
$ THE FREEDOM TO MARRY, INDEPENDENT OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION-
ALL PROFOUNDLY IMPACT OUR MEMBERS AND THEIR STUDENTS. UNIONS ARE A CRUCIAL PLAYER FOR PROGRESSIVE POLICIES.
THAT SAID, THE CFT HAS TWO OTHER MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES – HELPING LOCALS FUNCTION AT FULL CAPACITY AND CREATING THE STATE ENVIRONMENT THAT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE WORKING AND LEARNING CONDITIONS IN OUR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THESE CORE RESPONSIBILITIES.
THE LEGISLATURE, THE PUBLIC AND THOSE WE NEGOTIATE WITH NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT OUR WORKING CONDITIONS ARE THE LEARNING CONDITIONS OF OUR STUDENTS.
THE CFT NEEDS TO BE A LEADER IN THE FIGHT FOR QUALITY EDUCATION IN CALIFORNIA. PART OF THAT EFFORT INVOLVES IMPROVING THE WORKING CONDITIONS OF ALL OUR MEMBERS.
WE KNOW WHAT WILL IMPROVE EDUCATION, AND IT ISN¹T MORE TESTING IN THE GUISE OF ACCOUNTABILITY. IT ISN¹T ONE STANDARDIZED TEST THAT DETERMINES WHETHER 13 YEARS OF EDUCATIONAL WORK WILL END IN A DIPLOMA OR NOT.
$ WE MUST ORGANIZE AND AGITATE FOR ADEQUATE FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM PRE-SCHOOL TO THE UNIVERSITY
$ WE NEED TO DEMAND ON THE JOB RESPECT TOWARD OUR CLASSIFIED MEMBERS. RESPECT IS SOMETHING THAT ALL WORKERS DESERVE, WITHOUT REGARD TO JOB CLASSIFICATION
$ WE MUST CONTINUE TO PRESS FOR PAY EQUITY, BENEFITS, RIGHTS TO CONTINUANCE OF EMPLOYMENT, AND RESPECT FOR PART-TIME AND NON-PERMANENT EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES.
$ WE NEED TO DEMAND PRE-SCHOOL FOR ALL
$ WE MUST DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM SO THAT WE CAN BE FREE TO SEEK THE TRUTH
$ WE MUST PRESS FOR DIVERSITY IN ENROLLMENT IN OUR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND FOR DIVERSITY IN EMPLOYMENT AT ALL LEVELS OF EDUCATION
$ AND WE MUST CONTINUE TO DEFEND OUR PENSIONS PLANS. WE WON THE FIRST ROUND OF THAT BATTLE, BUT I AM SURE IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST ROUND.
THE ILL CONCEIVED NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND PROGRAM IS FOUNDED ON THE FALSE PREMISE THAT MOST TEACHERS AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES ARE NOT DOING THE BEST JOBS THAT THEY CAN, UNDER THE CONDITIONS IN WHICH THEY WORK.
WITH THAT AS ITS PREMISE, IT IS NO SURPRISE THAT PROGRESS IN QUALITY IS ONLY SEEN AS RESULTING FROM A PENALTY SYSTEM. PUNISHMENT THEN BECOMES A WHIP TO FORCE SCHOOLS TO EXHIBIT ³PROGRESS.²
IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SAY THAT THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND AVERAGE YEARLY PROGRESS REQUIREMENTS DO NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN MORE AND LESS SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS.
IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SAY THAT THE MONEY HAS NOT BEEN PROVIDED TO MAKE CHANGES IN LEARNING CONDITIONS POSSIBLE.
WE NEED TO ATTACK THE ENTIRE TESTING AS EDUCATION HOAX THAT HAS BEEN FOISTED ON THE PUBLIC. THE SO-CALLED ³OUTCOMES BASED² ACCOUNTABILITY IDEOLOGY HAS EVEN BEGUN TO APPEAR AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL. THIS BRAND OF ³ACCOUNTABILITY² HAS EVEN BEEN PROPOSED BY SOME OF OUR CLOSEST ALLIES.
WE MUST BE STRONGER IN OUR OPPOSITION TO POLICIES THAT FORCE EDUCATORS TO ³TEACH TO THE TEST² RATHER THAN ³TEACH TO THE STUDENT.²
THE ³ONE SIZE FITS ALL² DESIGNS OF THESE INITIATIVES DO NOT SERVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE DIVERSE POPULATION OF STUDENTS THAT WE SERVE IN CALIFORNIA – AT WHATEVER LEVEL OF EDUCATION THEY ARE ENROLLED IN.
THAT IS NOT TO SAY THAT THE CFT SHOULD NOT EMPHASIZE THE ACHIEVEMENT OF HIGH STANDARDS . WE SHOULD. BUT IN ORDER TO HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT, WE MUST BE AT THE TABLE WHEN DECISIONS CONCERNING EDUCATION ARE MADE.
WE NEED TO
$ ORGANIZE OUR MEMBERS,
$ EDUCATE THE PUBLIC, AND
$ AGITATE FOR THOSE THINGS THAT WE KNOW WILL MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE –
$ SMALLER CLASS SIZE,
$ MORE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES,
$ RESEARCH BASED QUALITY CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY,
$ QUALITY MENTORING AND SUPPORT FOR NEW EMPLOYEES,
$ ADEQUATE FACILITIES,
$ SAFE WORKING AND LEARNING CONDITIONS,
$ ADEQUATE COMPENSATION, AND
$ EMPLOYEE CONTROL OF OUR INSTITUTIONS.
WE NEED TO PROMOTE THESE EFFORTS IF WE ARE TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN THE BEST EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES AND THUS PRODUCE QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL. OUR STUDENTS ARE DEPENDING ON US.
I HAVE TAUGHT MATHEMATICS AT BOTH THE HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE LEVEL. LATELY I HAVE BEEN TEACHING A COMMUNITY COLLEGE COURSE IN MATHEMATICS FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS.
SO I BELIEVE IN THE IMPORTANCE OF MATHEMATICS IN A PERSON¹S EDUCATION. BUT, I DON¹T THINK THAT MATHEMATICS AND ENGLISH ARE THE ONLY IMPORTANT SUBJECT¹S IN ONE¹S EDUCATION. WE SHOULD BE ADVOCATING FOR A BROAD LIBERAL ARTS CURRICULUM.
THE CFT NEEDS TO BE MORE ACTIVE IN DEVELOPING STRONG SUPPORTIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER UNIONS AND WITH OUR COMMUNITIES. SOME OF OUR LOCALS HAVE DEVELOPED ON-GOING RELATIONSHIPS WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS.
WE NEED TO LEARN FROM THEIR EXPERIENCES, SO THE PROCESS OF OUTREACH CAN BE ACCELERATED.
WE NEED TO DEVELOP DAY-TO-DAY WORKING RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER UNIONS INCLUDING CTA, CSEA, AND SEIU. WE HAVE BEGUN TO DO THIS WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH CARE BUT WE MUST EXTEND IT TO OTHER AREAS OF COMMON INTEREST.
IN PARTICULAR, WE NEED TO, WITH UTLA AND UESF¹S HELP, DEVELOP A BETTER WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH CTA.
MY SUCCESS IN WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP HAS PREPARED ME FOR SUCH AN EFFORT.
AND WE HAVE TO STRENGTHEN THE CFT – BOTH ORGANIZATIONALLY AND FINANCIALLY.
CFT HAS A VERY TALENTED AND EXPERIENCED STAFF, BUT WE NEED TO TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THE CURRENT STAFFING STRUCTURE IN ORDER TO BEST SERVE OUR LOCALS.
CFT PRIDES ITSELF ON DEVELOPING THE STRENGTH OF ITS LOCALS. WE MUST MATCH THAT DESIRE WITH THE REALITY OF PROVIDING THE SUPPORT AND TRAINING OUR LOCALS REQUIRE TO MAXIMIZE THEIR REPRESENTATION EFFORTS.
WE NEED TO EDUCATE OUR NEW MEMBERS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR UNION IN THEIR PROFESSIONAL LIVES.
AND CFT HAS TO
$ HANDLE ITS FUNDING MORE EFFECTIVELY.
$ MONITOR EXPENSES MUCH MORE CLOSELY.
$ WE NEED TO LOOK AT ADJUSTING OUR EXPENDITURES SO AS TO MAXIMIZE OUR SERVICE.
MY EXPERIENCE IN BUDGET DEVELOPMENT AND MONITORING AT THE LOCAL DISTRICT AND STATE LEVEL HAVE HELPED PREPARE ME TO HELP MANAGE THE CFT BUDGET.
I AM READY TO LEAD THE CFT IN BECOMING A MAJOR VOICE OF EDUCATORS IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND IN THE NATION IN SUPPORT OF QUALITY EDUCATION.
WITH MY SOLID AND SUCCESSFUL PAST EXPERIENCE, IN ADVOCACY, I AM READY TO LEAD CFT TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE FORCES FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE IN CALIFORNIA.
A VOTE FOR ME IS A VOTE TO MOVE THE CFT FORWARD TO BECOME THE AGENT OF CHANGE THAT OUR MEMBERS NEED. I ASK FOR YOUR VOTE.