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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.
 

Telling Hartford HealthCare Union Members Are Not "Pawns"

Countless Connecticut residents are currently caught in a power struggle between a health network and an insurer, restricting access to preferred doctors and spiking medical costs. In response, leaders of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) took action on behalf of impacted union members and retirees. They are collectively demanding that Hartford HealthCare (HHC) immediately resolve its ongoing contract dispute with Anthem, Inc.
 
Click here for union leaders' letter to the network's CEO.
 

Teachers, Nurses and Public Employees Back Patrice Granatosky for Groton Town Council

Groton — Citing her record of service and commitment to working families' issues, members of the nearly 30,000-strong AFT Connecticut are supporting Patrice Granatosky to continue serving on Groton's town council. The labor federation's executive committee voted to add the educator to its slate of endorsed municipal candidates for the November 7 General Election. Members of affiliated unions last month participated in a local community canvass and are engaged in additional efforts to help "get out the vote" for Granatosky.
 

Spotlight: Meeting Diverse Needs in Higher Ed

Most students in Connecticut's public community colleges are likely unaware that the majority of their professors may be non-tenure-track adjunct faculty. Despite their more precarious circumstances, these instructors are an integral part of the team that provides pathways to both gainful employment and future learning opportunities. During the week set aside to raise awareness of campus inequities, we're spotlighting a union member who began her higher education career as an adjunct and knows their worth firsthand.
 

Teachers, Nurses, Municipal and State Employees Back Stratford Town Council Candidates

Stratford - Citing their commitment to issues impacting working families, members of AFT Connecticut and Council 4 AFSCME today announced their support for Stratford town council candidates Tina Manus and Bieu Tran. Elected leadership of both labor federations recently completed their internal processes for their respective slates of endorsed candidates in the November 7 Municipal General Election. The organizations are highlighting Manus and Tran's roots in the labor movement as they inform affiliated local union members of the decision to support their candidacies.
 

Resisting Discriminatory Policies Targeting Teachers

Union members' advocacy over the past six weeks succeeded in blocking several proposed budgetary policies threatening harm to students in schools across the state. Still, the compromise package passed last week by lawmakers contains two provisions unfairly singling out Connecticut's hard-working educators. To reverse the damage in 2018, teachers will need to double-down on both member and political engagement during what will be a critical year to be "all in."
 
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