May 22nd Day of Action and Rally in Sacramento

AFT 1493 members, Paul Bissember (at left), Eric Brenner (second from left), Rika Yonemura-Fabian (third from left), and Katharine Harer (second from right), at the May 22nd Day of Action and rally at the state capitol.

AFT 1493 members Paul Bissember, Eric Brenner, Rika Yonemura-Fabian and Katharine Harer joined thousands of educators, students, and allies from around the state on May 22nd for a Day of Action at the state capitol. The rally helped push the CA Assembly to pass #AB1505, moving California one step closer to restoring control back to local communities to decide whether charter schools are the right fit for their students!



Supporting Students and Securing Much-Needed Funding for Public Education

Throughout the nation, teachers, parents and communities are rising up for the public education our students deserve and against those want to privatize our schools. Educators, lawmakers, parents, students and community groups are fed up with the blatant attacks on public education and the chronic underfunding of our public schools.

Protecting Public Schools

The unregulated growth of corporate charter schools by billionaires who look at students and see dollar signs has been draining resources from our neighborhood public schools.

  • AB 1505 ensures local communities control the authorization and renewal of charter schools and allows local school boards to consider the economic, facilities and academic impacts of a charter school applicant on students in neighborhood public schools.
  • AB 1506 establishes a cap on the unregulated growth of charter schools in California.
  • AB 1507 prevents charters from operating outside of the district that authorized them.

Securing Much-Needed Funding

California ranks 44th in the nation in the amount of money it spends per student.  This lack of investment makes no sense considering California is the 5th largest economy in the world.

Since the Great Recession and billions in budget cuts, educators and communities have worked to restore education funding. We’ve made some great strides, but still have a long way to go to erase this chronic underfunding.  Recent studies show California students and schools need an additional $30 billion to help all students succeed. For years, education funding has taken a hit and missed out on billions, thanks in part to corporate loopholes, tax inequality, and an outdated tax structure. We have to address these inequities and fast.

The Schools and Communities First initiative would eliminate an unfair corporate property tax loophole and raise $11 billion annually for schools, community colleges and vital community services. The measure, which has qualified for the November 2020 ballot, would close a loophole in Proposition 13 that has allowed corporations to keep their property taxes artificially low. The measure maintains property tax protections for homeowners, small business owners and agricultural land.






Forum on “The National Teacher Strike Wave”
Saturday, April 13, 2019, 3-5pm, Malcolm X Elementary , Berkeley
hosted by CA Educators Rising , United Teachers of Richmond, & Berkeley Federation of Teachers

3/2/19 Update:
Tentative settlement in Oakland teachers’ strike (S.F. Chronicle Agreement announced (OEA)

On Thursday, February 21st teachers and educators in the Oakland Education Association (OEA) went out on strike for reasons nearly identical to the historic UTLA strike in January. OEA has been in negotiations for 18 months fighting for a living wage, smaller class sizes, and more support for students.

Like so many others across the country, Oakland teachers are standing up for themselves and for their students. The recent strike wave among K-12 faculty and staff—from West Virginia to Arizona, Los Angeles to Denver—is invigorating the labor movement, energizing teachers, and fueling a new national conversation that blames chronic underfunding and privatization for the crisis in public education.

Higher education faces similar threats and challenges. Most public colleges and universities—whose budgets are balanced on the backs of underpaid and under-respected contingent faculty—are constantly pressured to narrow their mission and to shape curricula to meet  “productivity” goals and market demands instead of students’ interests and needs. Despite reduced course offerings, higher education still leaves many of our students saddled with a lifetime of debt.

The Oakland teachers strike is a fight that affects us all, and many AFT 1493 members have expressed an interest in supporting it. Here are some ways you can help;

The most important action supporters can take is to walk picket lines with Oakland teachers.  Click here if you are able to join the picket line.  Once you sign up, you will be contacted by the CFT with opportunities to join other CFT members in solidarity actions.

March 1st Update:

Friday, March 1st picket support:

7am – 10am:
Peralta Elementary 
460 63rd St, Oakland, CA 94609 
1:30pm until we SHUT IT DOWN!:
La Escuelita Elementary
(1050 2nd Ave. Oakland, CA 94606)

The school board is having yet another special meeting to pass budget cuts for next school year. Let’s show up in a major to shut their meeting down because there is no business as usual until they settle a fair contract!

AFT 1493 VP Katharine Harer shared why she was out on the picket line on day 7 of the Oakland teachers strike: “I support what the Oakland teachers are struggling to get, not just being paid better…but also lower class sizes, and getting more counselors and nurses and resources to help the kids” :



AFT 1493 members joined Oakland striking teachers at United for Success Academy on Thursday, February 21


AFT 1493 members joined Oakland striking teachers at Cleveland Elementary School on Friday, February 22

Donate to the OEA Membership Assistance Fund:
OEA has set up a fund to provide financial support to assist their most vulnerable members in the event of a prolonged strike.  Our local is already in the process of donating to the fund, and we ask that you consider doing the same.

Donate to Bread for Ed: 
Bread for Ed is a coalition effort to provide food for those students and teachers who won’t have access to such resources if they stay out as a result of the strike. There are 37,000 students in the district, the vast majority of whom depend on free or reduced priced lunches.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

In Solidarity,
Your AFT 1493 Executive Committee