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September 1, 2020

Facebook Live Reopening Discussion Thursday

I’ll be part of a discussion on reopening schools Thursday at 2:30 pm. You can join by visiting the AFT Michigan or Great Lakes Beacon Facebook pages. I’ll highlight the great work so many of our locals have been doing to negotiate a safe reopening – from the UP to Midland to Detroit – as well as the ongoing efforts in many other districts where we are still pushing administrators to bargain fair and safe plans.

I’m sure I’ll be asked about many other topics, but if there are particular things you think I should cover, please let me know by responding to this email.

Help Elect Champions for Public Education — We Need Just $3,500 More by September 1

You know we raise money for our PAC so that we can elect a pro-public education majority in the Michigan House, and elect great people to the Michigan Supreme Court, along with our university boards and the State Board of Education. At our August 22 Presidents Council we announced that we were $9,000 short of our PAC goal. Thanks to the generosity of many we are now just $3,500 short of where we want to be by tomorrow, and that’s why I’m asking for you to donate to the AFT Michigan Political Action Committee today.

Your contributions to the AFT Michigan PAC ONLY go to candidates for office in Michigan — not Congress or the US President. The national AFT COPE contributes to our endorsed federal candidates.

Can you contribute $100, $50, $25, or even $10 to the AFT Michigan PAC? Thousands of AFT Michigan members donate to our PAC, and we need everyone who is able to chip in. We’ve raised almost $6,000 in the last two weeks and we’re almost to our goal – please help us get over the finish line!

Education Board and Supreme Court Candidates Set

The Michigan Democratic and Republican Parties held their nominating conventions this weekend, so we know who will be on the ballot this fall. Many voters don’t know how important our state education and university boards are to our members and students, so it’s very important that you educate everyone in your circle. AFT Michigan endorses the following candidates:

UM Board of Regents: Shauna Ryder Diggs & Mark Bernstein

WSU Board of Governors: Shirley Stancato & Eva Garza Dewaelsche

MSU Trustees: Brian Mosallam & Dr. Rema Vassar

Michigan State Board of Education: Ellen Cogen Lipton & Jason Strayhorn

Michigan Supreme Court: Chief Justice Bridget McCormack & Elizabeth Welch

Our full list of endorsed candidates can be found at

Demand Safe Schools Day of Action September 2

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, kids, parents, and teachers are facing an uncertain new school year. Our schools need resources to prevent the virus from spreading in the classroom, which is why the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May.  

But instead of passing this much-needed relief bill to invest $1 trillion in states and communities, President Trump, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell have failed for months to make sure that public schools have the resources they need to open safely this fall. Senate Republicans have refused to even consider the HEROES Act.

We need your voice and activism to make sure our public schools and our kids don’t get left behind. This Wednesday, September 2nd, we’re taking action to demand safe schools. Click here to find an event in your area.

Virtual Parent-Teacher Home Visit Training

During these uncertain times, as paraprofessionals, school-related personnel and teachers know so well, staying connected with our students and their families is of the utmost importance. To respond to those needs, the AFT is offering members the opportunity to deepen your skills and knowledge on family engagement, focusing on virtual and in-person home visits!

Please join us for this AFT-sponsored free two-part training on Sept. 16 from 6 – 8 p.m. EDT and Sept. 17 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. EDT for a unique learning opportunity focused on Parent-Teacher Home Visits or PTHV.(Participants should plan to attend both days; those who successfully complete the two-day training will receive a professional development certificate upon request.)

We encourage you to join the training with a school building level team. Teams can include PSRPs, teachers, school/district administrators, school psychologists, nurses, counselors and social workers, as well as other specialized instructional support providers.  

AFT Michigan is Hiring

Our union is lucky to be in position to add three people to our talented and hardworking team of staff over the next few months. We have posted three positions:

Click the links for job descriptions and application instructions. We would love to fill these positions as soon as possible to maximize overlap with current staff but have some flexibility to accommodate people with current commitments — start dates could be as late as January 2021. Please circulate to qualified, committed people in your networks.

Upcoming Professional Development

Close Reading and A Case Study of the Armenian Genocide Part One

September 12, 2020

Virtual Online Class from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This in-service introduces participants to strategies (Close Reading) to enhance students reading by promoting analyze, evaluation, and thinking critically about a given text.  Participants will also explore modern-era genocide through its prototype, the Armenian Genocide (Case Study).

Register in advance for this meeting by clicking here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

In solidarity,

David Hecker, President

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