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Comments on State Supreme Court Decision in Education Funding Lawsuit

Jan Hochadel, president of AFT Connecticut, made the following remarks on yesterday's state high court decision in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell, which sought to reverse inequities in allocation of public school resources:
 

Fighting Forward in 2018

The planning process for any group can seem a bit like sausage-making. Without a roadmap, however, it is impossible to move forward when faced with escalating challenges on multiple fronts, from Hartford to Washington and in local communities across Connecticut. That's precisely why state federation leaders last summer embarked on a comprehensive effort to develop a strategic plan to build a more active and engaged "union of professionals" in 2018.
 

Educators to Lawmakers: "Our Students Can't Wait"

Legislators today convened in Hartford to restore funds cut in last fall's compromise budget package for a program serving low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities. Their fix, however, relies on "savings" from decreased state contributions to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS); an occupational tax imposed on Connecticut educators. At the same time, the budget's failure to fully fund public schools, coupled with additional cuts proposed by the governor to mitigate ongoing shortfalls, threaten to shortchange students' futures.
 

New Year's Day - Or Groundhog Day?

During this time of giving and reflection, a new opportunity has emerged to help move toward a more prosperous future for all. Most Connecticut politicians have for the past two years refused to ask millionaires and corporations to pay their fair share to protect and preserve our state's quality of life. But passage last week of massive, permanent federal tax cuts for the nation's rich and powerful offers hope in 2018 for reclaiming needed resources on behalf of working families.
 

Tools and Training to Help Leaders "Be the Union"

To boost support for affiliated labor leaders and activists, our national union has prepared a compilation of their wide-ranging and diverse leadership development and skills training programs. The "AFT UNI" catalog provides a comprehensive and single resource for information about courses provided at no cost and that can be adapted as needed. Our state federation has for several years coordinated several to facilitate participation by multiple unions — and plans to build on those efforts in 2018.
 
Click here for the full, printable AFT UNI catalogue.
 

Spotlight: "Telling a Story" to Teach History

The writer and philosopher George Santayana more than a century ago said that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." His words have been frequently echoed ever since, and provide a foundational element of both public education in the U.S. and international policy around the world. During the month in which Human Rights Day is observed, we're spotlighting a teacher who taps into his students' artistic creativity and talents to help them prevent history from repeating.
 

Fifth Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Tragedy

The Newtown community is this week honoring the 26 children and educators who lost their lives on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In a first official local commemoration since the tragedy, a photo display paying tribute to each of the victims has been installed at the town's municipal center. Leaders of our affiliated union representing the district's teachers yesterday gathered to observe the exhibit and remember their brave colleagues who five years ago today died protecting their students.
 
Click here for press coverage of the photo display.
 

Educators Respond to Growing Stress on the Job

A survey of nearly 5,000 public school educators released last month by our national union found rates of anxiety to be twice those of working people in other professions. Most respondents said they face disrespect by local, state and federal policymakers and elected officials. By contrast, educators in school districts that foster collaboration reported lower stress levels and higher retention rates. The results mirror those of a survey of AFT Connecticut-affiliated union members conducted earlier this summer.
 
Click here for a full report on the national survey's results.
 

Winning on a "Labor is Your Neighbor" Platform

The state's labor movement had much to celebrate once all the votes in the November 7 municipal General Election were tallied in local communities across Connecticut. Seventy-two candidates endorsed by our federation's executive committee won races for offices ranging from mayor to town council to board of education. Most significantly, 21 were themselves members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions, demonstrating the resonance of the "labor is your neighbor" message developed earlier this year.
 
Click here for the full list of endorsements and final results.
 

Spotlight: Going the "Extra Mile for these Kids"

Paraprofessionals and school-related personnel (PSRPs) are critical members of the public education workforce whose efforts ensure student success, from Pre-Kindergarten through college. Despite their collective wealth of knowledge, experience and passion, their many diverse and vital contributions are sometimes overlooked. We're spotlighting a union member being honored for her work on the same day that PSRPs are given overdue credit for the critical difference they make in their students' lives.
 
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