Bristol Federation of Teachers

Contact us at bft1464@gmail.com

Regionalization In Connecticut: A Good or Bad Thing? — February 2, 2019

Regionalization In Connecticut: A Good or Bad Thing?

This legislative session has spurred much debate about the possibility of regionalization. While some see it as a necessary cost saving measure, others fear it will reduce local autonomy and lead to a “one size fits all” aspect to district education. Here are some articles on the topic:

CT News Junkie

CT Mirror

WTNH with video

 

 

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Meet CT Legislators this Saturday — January 31, 2019

Meet CT Legislators this Saturday

This Saturday, February 2, AFT CT will host its annual Legislative Conference at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) next to the Capitol in Hartford. Here is the agenda. RSVP at the bottom. The greater the attendance of teachers, the greater the focus for education  this session.

  • 9:00 – 9:10 – Welcome and Overview: AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel
  • 9:10 – 9:45 – Social Justice Issues Panel: AFT Connecticut VP Stephanie Johnson, State Sen. Julie Kushner, State Rep. Robyn Porter (invited)
  • 9:45 – 10:05 – Patient Safety Discussion: AFT Connecticut Exec. VP John Brady, AFT Connecticut VP Lisa D’Abrosca, State Sen. Matt Lesser
  • 10:05 – 10:20 – Governor Ned Lamont (invited)
  • 10:30 – 10:45 – State Sen President Pro Tempore Martin Looney
  • 10:45 – 11:15 – Post-Janus Legislation in CT: State Rep. Mike D’Agostino
  • 11:15 -11:45 – Post-Janus Federal Lawsuits: AFT Research and Initiative Director Ed Muir
  • 11:45 – 12:00 – Speaker of the State House Joe Aresimowicz (invited)
  • 12:00 – 12:30 – “Pensions 101” Discussion: CT AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano
  • 12:30 – 1:00 – Lobbying 101 Workshop (for beginners) & Public Hearing Workshop (for experienced activists)
Click here to RSVP to attend.
Note: conference will be canceled in event of inclement weather – check back for any announcements to be posted here.
State of Connecticut Legislative Office Building (LOB)

300 Capitol Avenue

HartfordCT

Wear Red to Show Solidarity with LA Teachers! — January 9, 2019
Teaching News for Bristol & Connecticut — January 8, 2019

Teaching News for Bristol & Connecticut

Here is a recent Bristol Press article concerning the MBMS Arts Magnet, with some new developments.

From the Courant, Hartford Federation of Teachers, in a unique and unfortunate situation due to Hartford’s poor finances, going to arbitration to fight “union busting” contract.

From the L.A. Times, the latest on the strike that is about to occur, with more news here from CNN.

And finally, it what should be required reading for all school administrators and education reformers, a recent Washington Post article about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, in which the least competent feel the most confident.

This Week’s Notable Education Articles — January 5, 2019

This Week’s Notable Education Articles

Here is a great Washington Post piece about a survey done with principals, the results of which clashed with the narrative of the Central Office bureaucrats.

The Bristol Press had several articles on the schools this week…

This one explains the ever-increasing SPED costs and how they impact regular education.

Coverage of Dr. Moreau announcing her retirement. Her successor will be named next week.

Coverage (before the event was held) of the “Community Conversation about Equity, Inclusiveness & Excellence”

BOE Sponsors a “Community Conversation about Equity, Inclusiveness, and Excellence” — December 26, 2018

BOE Sponsors a “Community Conversation about Equity, Inclusiveness, and Excellence”

 

January 3 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at BEHS

RSVP to susaneverett@ci.bristol.ct.us

The facilitator will be Kerry Lord, from the Connecticut Center for School Change.

Attendees can expect a light supper, short presentation, and then to work in small groups.

Here is an article explaining why equity and inclusiveness are necessary to improve gaps in learning…

…and here is one explaining why the concept is a red herring.

Obama-era Guidance on School Discipline Rescinded — December 18, 2018

Obama-era Guidance on School Discipline Rescinded

With Bristol teachers increasingly voicing concerns about student discipline, several new developments have occurred. The first is at the state level, where legislation that passed overwhelmingly in the last legislative session to address classroom safety and discipline, but vetoed by Governor Malloy, will be revised and re-introduced next month when the Connecticut Legislature convenes.

The second was news today at the Federal level, where guidelines issued in 2014 will be rescinded to allow districts more discretion in enacting discipline.

Here are the articles:

The full report from the Federal Commission on School Safety (180 page PDF)

NPR

NBC

City Journal – Excellent article discussing discipline and race.

Bristol Subs: How Do They Compare? — December 12, 2018

Bristol Subs: How Do They Compare?

No subs for PD? Instructional support staff pulled as subs again? Why does Bristol have a perpetual sub problem? Here is some data regarding pay…
Bristol – $80 per day – BA degree/non-certified; $90 per day retired teacher
How does Bristol compare? See below:
Avon – Uses Kelly Educational Staffing – Certified subs make $91/day
Farmington – Hire their own – BA degree is required
New Teachers – $76/day
Retired Teachers -$85/day
Wolcott – Hires their own – BA degree is required – $90/day
Southington – Hires their own – $85/day
Plymouth – Uses Kelly Educational Services – $91/day
Plainville – Hires their own – $85/day
After 40 consecutive days, interview and teacher step up level.
Canton – Hire their own but looking to use Kelly Educational Services in the future.
$85/day
Watertown Hires their own – $75/day for the first 10 consecutive days.
After the 10 days, go through interview process and pay will be
determined based on experience and certification.
Meriden – Hires their own – $75/day. If you work 40 or more consecutive days and are
certified, the pay increases according to contract.
Cheshire – Hires their own – certified subs get paid 80% of the BA/BS degree level 1 = $198.19. After 40 consecutive days in same position, pay increases to 1/186 of their
equivalent annual rate for each day worked – (capped at $306.85/day
RX Insurance Problems — December 3, 2018

RX Insurance Problems

A number of teachers have reported problems with their prescription payments not being properly counted toward their deductible. The district is working with Cigna to ensure the problem is resolved. All teachers are urged to review their prescription payments since July 1 and log into MyCigna to compare amounts. If you find discrepancies, email Carmen and CC in that email BFT VP David Lattimer, who can advise and monitor until the situation is resolved.

All teachers are strongly encouraged to always keep all medical and RX receipts, and to log into MyCigna regularly to monitor their own expenses.

ESSA; More than a NCLB Name Change? — November 25, 2018

ESSA; More than a NCLB Name Change?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) returned the bulk of responsibility to states and districts for how the accountability system identifies and supports Title I schools in need of improvement. All states have now submitted and had their state ESSA plans approved. All will begin to implement their accountability systems in the coming months—and identification is certainly broader than the simple test-based accountability systems required by NCLB; however, many states have unfortunately, though not surprisingly, maintained the status quo. Proficiency rates on low-quality standardized tests by and large account for the bulk of the determination of school ratings.

The way that states will identify their lowest-performing schools is largely decided and enshrined in their state ESSA plans (and, in some cases, state law), but the school improvement process was left largely undefined in most state plans. This means there is still time to ensure states and districts truly think through how to best support schools that are in need of improvement.

(For an overview of ESSA in general, see ESSA 101: Brief One; for more information on the requirements of state ESSA plans, see ESSA 101: Brief Two).

1. LEARN WHAT’S IN YOUR STATE’S ESSA PLAN.

Each state’s full plan and related documents
Your state’s department of education website will have the ESSA plan for the state, along with other resources and explanations: www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplan17/statesubmission.html

2. GET A SENSE OF TRENDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ON KEY PIECES OF ESSA.

Key takeaways from each state: www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/key-takeaways-state-essa-plans.html

Making ESSA’s Equity Promise Real: State Strategies to Close the Opportunity Gap
This provides an overview of five indicators (suspension rates, school climate, chronic absenteeism, extended-year graduation rates, and college and career readiness), why they’re important, and a deeper look at how some states are using them. It also includes policy considerations for implementation. Includes briefs, archived webinar and interactive map.https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/essa-equity-promise

3. DETERMINE PRIORITIES AND PLACES FOR ADVOCACY.

Once you know what’s in your state’s plan, you will have a better sense of decision points yet to be made at the state, district and school levels, and be able to develop advocacy and policy priorities based on already-determined needs. Some you may want to consider:

Funding reporting
ESSA requires reporting of each school’s per-pupil spending, a departure from the past practice of states reporting each district’s average per-pupil spending. Be aware of what this means for your state or district, and prepare for how you will help teachers, parents and other stakeholders understand these numbers.

Assessment
Due in large part to the stringent requirements that come without additional funding, only two states (Louisiana and New Hampshire) have applied and received approval for an innovative assessment pilot, although four more states have signaled interest for the second round, for which applications are due in December 2018. However, there are other ways to innovate outside of doing a pilot.

Needs assessment
ESSA requires that a needs assessment be done for schools that have been identified for comprehensive support and improvement, as well as in a few other circumstances. It is potentially one of the most powerful components of the accountability process; it should help educators and other stakeholders identify, understand and prioritize the needs that must be addressed to improve performance.

  • Needs Assessment Guidebook: Supporting the Development of District and School Needs Assessments
    This guidebook is designed to support state and local leaders in the first step of the improvement process: the development and facilitation of a needs assessment. However, it is a useful guide for anyone interested in being involved in the planning, implementation or assessment of the process. https://statesupportnetwork.ed.gov/system/files/needsassessmentguidebook-508_003.pdf

School Improvement
The most important piece of any functioning accountability system—supporting and improving teaching and learning for students—was also, in many cases, the least described in state plans. This means there is potentially a lot of advocacy to be done at the state, district and even school levels.

4. CHANGE YOUR STATE’S PLAN.

States with new governors and state school chiefs after the elections may lead to requests to amend state plans. If you are in a state that has had governance changes, make sure you are at the table and ready to amend the plan for the better. The administration has notified states that they would like changes to state plans to be submitted by March 1, 2019 for the 2019-20 school year.

5. GET IN TOUCH WITH AFT NATIONAL.

Have questions or need our assistance? Contact Beth Antunez in Government Relations or Emily Kopilow in Educational Issues.