Save the Date: BFT Holiday Party

The BFT will hold its annual holiday party this year on Saturday, December 6. The party is for BFT members, their spouses, and children. Once again, the event will be held at Greene-Hills School.

More details, such as start time and a list of events, will be posted as the date approaches.

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Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Uncategorized


Debate in Bristol this Monday

The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce will host a debate for local state Senate and House of Representative candidates Oct. 6 at Saint Paul Catholic High School.

The debate will take place in the auditorium of the school at 1001 Stafford Ave. from 6 to 9 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and political reporter Tom Monahan, formerly from NBC30, will serve as moderator. AFT CT staff will be on hand to distribute t-shirts to teachers who show up starting at 5:15 PM.

The debating candidates are:

77th District state House of Representatives — Chris Wright (D) and Cara Christine Pavalock (R).

78th District state House of Representatives — Whit Betts (R) and Dan Santorso (D).

79th District state House of Representatives — Frank Nicastro, Sr. and Josh Levesque (R).

31st District state Senate — Henri Martin (R) & Rob Michalik, Jr. (D).

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Posted by on October 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


Getting Involved in the 2014 Elections

Opportunities abound for BFT members to get involved in local or state elections.

- a phone bank for Rob Michalik, running for state senate, will happen on Oct 21st at his campaign headquarters from 4:30-7:30 PM

AFT Connecticut Union Phone Bank at AFSCME, New Britain: 10/14 from 4:30-7:30pm and 10/27 from 4:30-7:30pm

-Labor Walk -on 10/18 from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM at the Bristol Labor Council office at 61 East Main St, Forrestville

- PRE-DEBATE RALLY, Thursday, October 2ND, 5:30 PM Rally, UCONN, In front of Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts

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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Uncategorized



Tom Foley’s “Market Approach” Vision for Education

Published in the Hartford Courant

Reported by Jenny Wilson

Education became a dominant theme in the governor’s race this week, as Democrats launched an attack against Republican candidate Tom Foley for education proposals they say would slash funding from schools that need it the most.

At the core of Foley’s education plan is in-district school choice and “money follows the child” — two policies that, combined, will result in students leaving low-performing schools and then those schools being stripped of per-pupil funding. Foley has proposed implementing an A-through-F grading system for schools that would allow parents, whom he has described as “the best decision-makers” to choose where they want to send their children.

Malloy’s campaign points to the governor’s investment in low-performing schools and cites figures that show progress in education — like higher test scores and graduation rates, and a narrowing of the achievement gap. At a press conference Wednesday, allies of the governor said Malloy continued to support education, even as federal recovery funding vanished.

Campaigns released dueling television ads about education this week, with Foley promoting his plan and Malloy touting his record. Recent polling shows that despite some bumps this year — both in the areas of charter school management and the rollout of the Common Core State Standards initiative — Malloy still leads in polls on education. A Quinnipiac University survey released earlier this month found that 46 percent of respondents thought Malloy would do a better job on education policy than Foley, compared with 40 percent who said the former U.S. ambassador was better-equipped to handle the issue.

Throughout the campaign, Foley has criticized the governor’s approach to education, and described it at an event earlier this summer as “heavy-handed” and “arrogant,” saying he tried to fix areas where schools were not broken. He defended his education policy proposal at a press conference Wednesday.

“What I’m hoping is … the marketplace starts to exert pressure on schools,” Foley said. “Right away schools are on notice that if I’m governor, I’m going to make sure that this gets passed and implemented — so they should start being better schools right away.”

The Greenwich Republican said he drew on his business experience to formulate his approach to schools, admitting that his policy would result in schools being reconstituted.

“Institutions that aren’t performing lose — that’s kind of the way the private sector works, and it ought to be the way the school works, too.”

Foley said he was not worried about over-migration to high-performing schools because while the grading system was intended to be objective, “a lot of parents won’t agree.” Most parents are inclined to think that the school their children attend is a good school, Foley said.

The Malloy campaign — which has attacked Foley for making business decisions that hurt middle class workers at the Bibb Co. in Georgia, a company Foley owned that later filed for bankruptcy — countered that “you can’t leave our children’s education to the whims of the free market.”

Malloy campaign spokesman Mark Bergman said Foley would “treat public schools and public school teachers just like he treated mills and workers in the private sector — closing them down and putting them out of work when he decides they have failed and are inconvenient for him.”

The Malloy ad released this week praised the governor, saying he “faced the Great Recession as others did not, refusing to cut education and instead taking the hard route, making tough choices so we can invest millions more in our local schools.”

According to the governor’s office, nearly $260 million has been invested in the Alliance district program, which directs investment to Connecticut’s lowest-performing districts. Forty percent of Connecticut students attend school in a low-performing district.

“Tom Foley proposes to slash dollars to schools that need it the most,” said state Rep. Andy Fleischmann, who said the A-through-F grading system would “stigmatize schools and communities while failing to address their challenges.”

Connecticut House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz said Democratic policies have proven results. At the press conference, the lawmakers cited this year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test, also known as NAEP, which showed a narrowed achievement gap in 12th grade.

“All of the work that we’ve been doing is starting to bear fruit, and the achievement gap is starting to close… that’s something to be celebrated, not attacked,” Fleischmann said.

But Foley did not hesitate in attacking that claim. He said NAEP measures achievement in 12 categories, and that, because the achievement gap had narrowed in only some of them, “we’re not doing better and we’re not making progress.”

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Posted by on September 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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BFT Happy Hour set for October 3!

The BFT will be hosting a Happy Hour at Nuchies on Friday, October 3 from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Free food and drinks will be available. Please come and meet up with old friends and colleagues as the 2014-2015 school begins in earnest.

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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


Bristol Labor Walk This Saturday

A walk through Forestville in support of labor has been organized by the Bristol Labor Council. The event starts at 9:00 AM on Saturday, September 6. The walk begins at the Labor Council office located at 61 East Main in Forestville (located directly across the street from O’Brien’s Funeral Home).

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Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


BFT President’s Letter to Hartford Courant

At convocation today, Mike Wasta referenced a letter written by Dave Hayes. Below is the letter published in the Hartford Courant last week.

Departure Overdue For Unqualified Education Chief

The announcement that state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor will be leaving in the near future may leave education reform advocates in tears, but it is welcome and overdue news for public school teachers and administrators across the state [Aug. 19, Page 1, "Pryor Leaving At Year's End"].

Wrongfully championed as a visionary outsider who would courageously fix perceived education flaws, he exemplified the idea that someone with limited or no actual teaching experience can guide the profession to success. Instead, his legacy will be one of taking the already problematic state Department of Education and making it absolutely dysfunctional, where indecision, dither and delay became the norm, even after his being on the job for more than three years.

Like many reformers, he has padded his resume and will move on, leaving us to pick up the pieces.

David Hayes, Torrington
The writer is president of the Bristol Federation of Teachers.

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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in BFT Members


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