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January 19, 2021

Tomorrow, January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. The 2021 inauguration will be unlike any other in our history. Due to the siege of the U.S. Capitol and the current pandemic, the inauguration will be reimagined to ensure safety of attendees. Despite these unprecedented times let’s not lose sight of the historic moment. On Wednesday, Vice President elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of color to serve on the Supreme Court. Harris will be the first African American and first South Asian American woman to serve as Vice President of the United States. Regardless of your political affiliation, this serves as a proud moment in our nation’s history. 

Governor’s Michigan COVID Recovery Plan: $2 Billion for Education

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan to grow Michigan’s economy and help end the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor’s plan includes a strong focus on vaccine distribution, economic recovery, schools, and more.

The governor’s MI COVID Recovery Plan will allocate to schools $1.7 billion in federal funding, along with an additional $300M in state dollars, to help schools provide in-person learning opportunities, and to help address the learning loss that has occurred due to the pandemic. These one-time, flexible dollars will be distributed through a formula that recognizes the additional costs associated with supporting students in poverty and students with special education needs.   

Both MEA President Paula Herbart and I were quoted in the Governor’s release:

“We have to embrace that some students need more funding in order to equitably meet their education needs, and this plan is an important step in doing so,” said AFT Michigan President David Hecker. “This includes, but is not limited to, the federal government’s investment in Title 1 funding that is putting significant resources into helping at-risk students whose learning is being disproportionately harmed amidst this pandemic.”

“In order to safely educate Michigan students, schools and educators must have the funding necessary to put virus mitigation measures in place and adhere to them. COVID-19 has impacted every district in the state and every district needs resources to continue educating Michigan students. That’s why the additional per-pupil funding proposed by the governor is so critical, in addition to providing extra support for the individual needs of Michigan at-risk and special education students,” said Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart.

Child Care Workers Join DFSE

Child care workers at Dearborn Public Schools are now represented by the Dearborn Federation of School Employees. The Dearborn School Board voluntarily recognized DFSE as the representative of these workers after 100% of these employees signed union cards.  Congratulations to DFSE and President Al Lerini.

AFT Michigan and MEA Educators Meet with Governor

A small group of AFT Michigan and MEA educators met with Governor Whitmer last Wednesday evening to discuss issues related to on-line and face to face teaching, testing and the vaccine.  Syndera Jordan (Detroit teacher), Nichole Karr(Eastpointe teacher), Ghada Burks (Dearborn teacher) and Beth Silvola (Crawford Ausable paraprofessional) each had the opportunity to express their thoughts and suggestions directly to the Governor.  These four sisters represented themselves and our union extremely well.  Thank you to all.

Reconsideration Requested on Public Money to Private Schools Ruling

We recently reported that the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against the arguments of public education advocates and allowed public money to go to private schools as provided for in budgets passed by the Republican controlled legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder.   Last Friday, public education organizations filed for reconsideration of this decision with the new Michigan Supreme Court.  

Upcoming Union-Building Workshops

Member Organizing Institute 1012 Saturdays, January 23 and January 30, 20219:00am12:00pm
Bargaining 1013 Mondays, January 25, February 1, February 8, 20216:00pm8:00pm

Upcoming Professional Development

Strategies to Support a Rigorous Learning Environment that Maximizes Students’ Academic Success PreK-14

AFT Michigan – Virtual Workshop

February 6, 2021

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This in-service is designed to enhance and show educators how to add more rigor in the classroom by fostering  real-world connections, engagement, and deeper learning.  

Click here to register.

In solidarity, 

David Hecker, President

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