Bristol Federation of Teachers

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PD Opportunity: AFT Summer Education Academy — February 20, 2017

PD Opportunity: AFT Summer Education Academy

We are now accepting applications to attend the 2017 Summer Educator Academy, which will be held July 10-19 at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Md. This 9-day academy provides union-sponsored, research-based professional learning that addresses the complexities of teaching. The program is designed to help local unions build the capacity to deliver high-quality professional learning services to all educators—teachers, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel.

Educators receive research-based information to build their pedagogy and content knowledge as well as develop strategies to engage students for academic success. Again this year, we are asking local leaders who are interested in sending educators to become professional learning trainers to fill out a brief questionnaire describing a plan to disseminate the information to members after the training is completed. This will help us determine what follow-up support is needed once the training is over, as well as provide additional information for building a professional learning system in collaboration with the district.

This year, the Delivering Effective Professional Development (DEPD) course has been revised. All participants attending Summer Educator Academy will be required to take this course, even if taken in previous years.

Whether you’re starting a new program or revitalizing an existing one, we want you to be able to maximize your resources to best meet your members’ needs. Space in each course is limited, and eligibility for participation is dependent upon trainers who attend the academy having the opportunity to train members of their own locals.

Click here for details and to complete the application process.

In solidarity,

Elisabeth Dickinson
Manager | Professional Learning and Engagement
Educational Issues Department

Pre-Retirement Seminar for Teachers — February 11, 2017

Pre-Retirement Seminar for Teachers

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding another Teachers’ Pre-Retirement Seminar this year with Retirement Specialist, Mark Egidio. This seminar will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 9am-12pm (registration & breakfast at 8am) at the H.C. Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden, CT. This seminar will be free to all our teacher members, so please share the attached flyer with your local. Also, just a reminder that this seminar is specific to teachers that are retiring under the TRB.

To register, members can sign up here or call the AFT-CT office at 860-257-9782.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to respond to this email, or call the office.

Thank you!

Anna Mowrey

Support Staff


35 Marshall Rd.

Rocky Hill, CT 06067


Teacher Evaluation Survey — February 9, 2017
Malloy’s Austerity Budget — February 8, 2017

Malloy’s Austerity Budget

The governor will tomorrow at noon deliver his 2017 state budget address from the Capitol in Hartford; a speech that will have implications for you, your family and your community. While we don’t yet know all the details (but here and here detail his proposed changes to teacher pensions), as union members we must be ready to resist more of the same kind of austerity policies that failed in 2016.
In the lead-up to tomorrow’s address, we’ve been working with a coalition of labor, faith, community, civil rights and social justice advocates to demand elected officials make better choices. Plan to join us Wednesday, March 1 for a major mobilization in the Hartford area to push back against attempts to balance the budget on the backs of working families.
This is an important opportunity to show a united front to defend what matters most to our members, our families and our communities:

  • Good jobs and fair wages;
  • Universal access to quality public education;
  • A vibrant and fairly funded public sector;
  • Racial, gender and ethnic justice; &
  • Democracy in our state and in our workplaces.
We hope you’ll save the date and plan to join us on March 1 to be “all in” to protect and preserve Connecticut’s quality of life.
More to come, and in solidarity,
Jan Hochadel
President, AFT Connecticut
John Brady, RN
Executive Vice President, AFT Connecticut
Jean Morningstar
First Vice President, AFT Connecticut
Ed Leavy
Secretary-Treasurer, AFT Connecticut
DeVos is Confirmed — February 7, 2017
Lobbying Against DeVos — February 3, 2017

Lobbying Against DeVos

Below is a message from AFT President Randi Weingarten, but here are a few other DeVos related articles published today:

New York Time article on DeVos’s vulnerability.

Op-Ed piece written by New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan (D) on why DeVos is unfit.

New York Times editorial plea for Republicans to turn against DeVos.

Now on to Randi’s message…

On Wednesday, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski announced they will vote NO on Betsy DeVos—the first Republicans to break ranks on any Trump nominee—and both senators cited their constituents’ overwhelming opposition to DeVos in making their decisions. We need one more Republican to stop this anti-public education nominee.

Schedule for votes:

  1. Cloture vote to end debate: scheduled for Friday, Feb 3. We are hearing from Senate leadership that this is likely to happen around 6:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  2. Final vote on nomination: likely to be Tuesday, Feb. 7.

What’s happening with DeVos’ nomination for secretary of education is already historic and unprecedented. Thanks to a united Democratic caucus and two Republican heroines, the Senate is currently tied 50-50. If that vote holds, Mike Pence will be the first vice president in U.S. history to cast a tiebreaker for a Cabinet nominee.

The Senate is likely to vote on DeVos on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Between now and then, we need all hands on deck to pressure the remaining GOP senators to vote no.

Several key Republicans have expressed doubts about DeVos. We all need to mobilize the opposition. Below is our plan, and how you can help:

Senators who could cast the deciding vote:

Cory Gardner (Colo.)
Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse (Neb.)
Jerry Moran (Kan.)
Dan Sullivan (Alaska)
John McCain (Ariz.)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)
Patrick Toomey (Pa.)

What you can do in target states:

  1. Mobilize key allies to keep calling the local and Washington, D.C., offices—parents, labor allies, community groups—and ask senators not to be the deciding vote that makes DeVos the next education secretary.
  2. Organize in-person actions at the senator’s local office.
    • Post your event on Facebook as a public event and send to your friends.
    • Share the invitation with your state federation and with AFT national staff by emailing the link to Evan Sutton,
    • Notify local press of your event—AFT national will also help publicize your event if desired.
  3. Send a notice to your members encouraging them to call and share the information from your social media accounts.
  4. Write letters to the editor or op-eds in your local papers.

What you can do in other states:

  1. If you have a GOP senator who is voting yes for DeVos, it’s still important for him or her to feel pressure from constituents. Use any of the tactics above to maintain the pressure.
  2. If you have a Democratic senator who is voting no, make sure his or her office knows we appreciate the support.
  3. Encourage any retirees you have in target states to call their senators.

Key messages that are resonating:

  1. Don’t be the deciding vote to confirm Betsy DeVos.
  2. As she showed in her testimony, DeVos lacks the experience or basic understanding needed to perform the job of education secretary.
  3. Her long-term drive for private school vouchers will undermine all districts and especially harm rural schools.
  4. Her lack of understanding of the rights of students with disabilities—and the federal government’s role in protecting them—should disqualify her.
  5. Her push for for-profit charters will undermine local schools and harm students.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten
AFT President

DeVos vote to be held Mon — February 2, 2017
Chance for BFT members to Meet Lawmakers —

Chance for BFT members to Meet Lawmakers

There are two upcoming opportunities for teacher to meet with lawmakers.
1) U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has asked to meet with AFTCT/CEA educators from the area about the Betsey DeVos’s nomination for Education Secretary. He has received hundreds of calls from teachers throughout the state and would like to be able to address some of their concerns. (He has publicly come out as not supporting her!) He has asked the press to come as well to listen and watch.

The meeting is scheduled for:

Friday, February 3, 2017, 3:30pm, New Haven Teachers Union Office, 267 Chapel Street, New Haven

 Please email if you are able to attend (

2) AFT Connecticut’s annual legislative conference takes place later this month at the State Capitol — and you are invited to be a part of this important event. Join us to help make sure elected leaders know what matters to you on the issues that impact your workplace, your community and your family:

WHEN: Saturday, February 25, from 9:00AM to 2:00PM (registration opens at 8:30AM).
WHERE: Legislative Office Building, located at 300 Capitol Avenue in Hartford (free, easy access parking is available in the adjacent garage).

HOW: Click here to RSVP to attend — there is no cost for members, but breakfast and lunch will be provided so we need an accurate head count.

In a year where lawmakers face tough choices in order to close future state budget shortfalls, they need to hear from you and union members from across Connecticut. Teachers, school support staff, nurses and health professionals, higher education faculty, state employees and retirees must speak out to prevent more austerity policies like last year’s layoffs and service cuts..
We hope you will join us later this month in Hartford and be part of our union’s legislative action program.
More Reasons to Dump DeVos — February 1, 2017

More Reasons to Dump DeVos

More stories and concerns about Betsy DeVos arise even as she gets closer to a vote for approval from the full senate.

A NYT story about her involvement in a “brain performance center.”

A Washington Post article on the divide her nomination has caused.

A CNN story about possible plagiarism

Gail Collins column in the Washington Post.

An opinion piece supporting DeVos written by Eva Moskowitz, herself a controversial figure and the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools in NYC, (see here).

Contact your Senators and tell them what you think of Betsy Devos’ qualifications.


DeVos One Step Closer to Approval — January 31, 2017

DeVos One Step Closer to Approval

On Monday morning, calls opposing Betsy DeVos’ nomination for education secretary helped shut down the switchboard at the U.S. Capitol. Senate staff have reported that they’re getting more calls opposing DeVos than any other nominee.

Your voice is making a difference, and we need to keep the pressure up. Even if you’ve already written emails or called, we need to make sure the Senate hears us loud and clear.

Call your senators RIGHT NOW—and every day until the floor vote—and urge them to vote NO on Betsy DeVos.

Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted 12-11 along party lines to send DeVos’ nomination to the Senate floor for a vote. But her confirmation is far from a sure thing.

In today’s committee vote, two key Republicans—Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine—said DeVos couldn’t count on their votes on the Senate floor. Murkowski explicitly said the thousands of constituent calls and emails against DeVos gave her reason for pause.

We need to keep the pressure up to stop DeVos. Will you call your senators now?

It’s no wonder DeVos is facing so much grass-roots opposition. In her testimony before the HELP Committee, DeVos showed that she has no understanding of how to make public schools great places for all students; worse, she showed no interest in trying.

  • She refused to commit to the basic premise that all schools that receive public funding should be held to the same standards of accountability.
  • She didn’t understand the difference between student proficiency and student growth—showing she has no idea how to meaningfully assess student progress.
  • She showed she has no knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and didn’t even know it was a federal law.
  • She refused to answer when asked what she had learned from the failures of the “choice” experiment in Detroit.
  • She refused to commit to enforcing rules that protect students from fraud and predatory behavior by for-profit universities.

And today, just before the committee vote, we learned that she plagiarized in her written responses to follow-up questions submitted by Senate HELP Democrats.

Betsy DeVos is unfit and unqualified. Call your senators RIGHT NOW and urge them to vote NO on Betsy DeVos.

We expect the vote to be very close, so it’s important that we continue to show ALL members of the Senate that the public opposes her. Her lack of experience in education and lack of understanding of the issues make her completely unqualified for the post of secretary of education, and her anti-public education ideology makes her unfit and a danger to our kids and our schools.

Call now—and every day until the floor vote—to make sure the Senate rejects this dangerous and unqualified nominee.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten
AFT President