Smith, Dennis

Dennis Smith is the Secretary-Treasurer of the California Federation of Teachers

Keep the Promise of Affordable Higher Education

By Dennis Smith
California Federation of Teachers

(Testimony given at Joint Committee for Review of the Master Plan on Higher Education - December 7, 2009)

The Master Plan for Higher Education promised affordable access to a high quality post secondary education for all Californians who wished to pursue it.  

It wedded a visionary economic blueprint for the state’s workforce to the moral, intellectual and political purposes of providing our state’s citizens with the means to participate in our democratic institutions.  

It was meant to be accountable due to its substantial cost.   

Its goals remain the right ones, but changing political and economic circumstances have undermined its promise today, and threaten, if unaddressed, to renege on its promise for future generations.   
Legitimacy of our perspective:   

Reduced Social Security Benefits Penalize Teachers and Public Employees

By Dennis Smith
California Federation of Teachers

For many individuals, making a career change from private sector employment to teaching in California results in a lifetime penalty of reduced benefits. This penalizes individuals who want to teach, along with the spouses of these individuals. California is one of 15 states with “public service penalties,” and it has the largest number of employees impacted by these penalties, including teachers, public safety, and local government public servants. That’s why the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) co-sponsored a rally Saturday, November 7, to urge Congress to pass, and President Obama to sign, federal bills SR 484 (Feinstein) and HR 235 (Matsui), the Social Security Fairness Act.