State Vocational Federation of Teachers

New Federal Testing Proposals: Praise, Caution & Action

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) earlier this month proposed rules regarding student testing under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the nation's new law governing public education. Included in the July 7 announcement were plans for a pilot program that states will likely be able to apply for in the coming school year. The news drew both caution and praise from union leaders -- along with a renewed call to action ensuring that the law's promise as a "reset" of federal education policy continues.
 

Labor History Lesson: The Grape Boycott

Through building strong partnerships with the community and practicing non-violent civil disobedience, Cesar Chávez organized immigrant agricultural workers to win hard-fought dignity and respect from their employers. In a recent recent column for his local union's newsletter, AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy takes us back to 1970 for the lessons of the Delano grape boycott:
 

Spotlight: Connecticut State Employees, Part II

Last month's union member spotlight featured three public employees concerned about the devastating impacts of a proposed austerity state budget then under consideration by lawmakers. A package that makes deep cuts to vital public services has since been passed by the legislature signed into law by the governor. This month we sat down with three of their colleagues to learn more about the challenges facing a state workforce under increased pressure and operating with reduced resources.
 
Click here for our previous post spotlighting Connecticut state employees.
 

Labor History Lesson: The "Newsies" Strike

In a recent column for his local union's newsletter, AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy shared a timely lesson in how working people can collectively challenge the rich and powerful. His labor history lesson on the 1899 newsboys' strike resonates today as nearly 40,000 telecommunications workers on the East Coast engage in one of the largest labor actions in years:
 

Educators, First Responders Tell Gov., Legislature "Stop Firing People" in New Ads

Hartford - Ads featuring teachers and first responders begin airing today in ongoing efforts to protect vital public services by asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share, not firing public employees. The latest ads urge Governor Dannel P. Malloy and legislative leaders make better choices to close state budget shortfalls and run through April 28.
 
Click here to listen to the radio ad.
 

Response to Republican Legislators' State Budget Reduction Proposals

Union leaders in the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) made the following remarks today in response to Republican legislators' latest proposals for current and future state budget reductions:
 

Member Spotlight: CTE Teachers as Advocates

State employees who provide their students with secondary career and technical education (CTE) are stepping up and speaking out to protect and preserve the vital services they provide. We're spotlighting union members who have been engaged in advocacy efforts at the State Capitol during the month set aside to highlight CTE educators' and graduates' achievements and accomplishments.
 
 

Labor History Lesson: The Fight for Free Speech

AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy opened a recent column in his local union's "Vocational Instructor" newsletter saying, "the study of labor history is an exercise in finding hope." He found some much-needed hope in the story of the Spokane "Free Speech" movement, an "example of how people refused to let a corrupt system beat them:"
 

Labor History Lesson: No Mercy for Injured Workers

Laws to compensate working people hurt while on the job have existed since 1908 when first passed in Wisconsin, where today anti-worker politicians are aggressively rolling them back. AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy shared some little known labor history that illustrates the limits of an employer's mercy for injured workers in a recent "Vocational Instructor" column:
 

"From My Classroom to My Colleague:" Improving Teacher Retention

The challenge of retaining highly qualified teachers for public schools in high-poverty neighborhoods is having a detrimental impact on the "opportunity to learn" for children across the country. That's among the significant findings of a report on the so-called "diversity gap" between educators and their students by the Albert Shanker Institute. In Connecticut, union members, who on a daily basis see the effects of teacher turnover in distressed local communities, are discussing its implications and proposing possible solutions.
 
Click here for the report.
 
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