Education Groups United in Dealing with School Violence
Following the tragedy at Oxford High School, AFT President Randi Weingarten and I released the following statement:
“Today, we mourn those lost in the Oxford High School shooting and express our deepest condolences to all the students, staff, families, and community members affected by this tragic event. Our schools must be places that are first and foremost safe and welcoming where kids can come together and thrive. No parent should wonder whether a child or frankly anyone in the school community will return home safely. Once again, it’s heartbreaking to see the impact gun violence has on students’ lives. AFT is dedicated to ensuring our communities and schools are safe and working to curb gun violence is key to that —we hope our elected officials, regardless of what party they represent, will do what’s necessary to protect students and staff from unspeakable tragedies like what happened today.”
Last Thursday, Michigan’s education management associations, AFT Michigan and the MEA issued a joint statement of support for all education employees and school board members. The statement concludes by saying: “As we navigate these tragic events together, please don’t lose sight of your own well-being. We know that your focus is always on those you serve, but you matter too. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your colleagues and our organizations for support, guidance, and a safe place to share. We are here for you and appreciate the resiliency that you continue to show during these challenging times.”
Let’s Create a Support Staff to Teacher Pipeline
Public schools across Michigan are facing critical staff shortages, making it vital that we explore ways to attract, recruit and retain staff, particularly classroom teachers. AFT Michigan has worked with Rep. Hertel, Rep. Koleszar, Sen. Polehanki and Sen. Geiss to craft legislation creating a program to help school support employees to become certified teachers, which could be an important part of an overall plan to address teacher shortages. Please contact your state legislator and ask them to support House Bills 4368-9 and Senate Bills 567-8.
Send a letter: Tell Your Legislator to Address the Teacher Shortage!
Detroit Paras Win New Contract
The Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals, AFT Local 2350, has ratified a new agreement with the district, winning well-deserved improvements for the hardworking members of the DFP. Great work by President Donna Jackson and the entire local leadership team.
Say No to Undermining Public Education
December’s Michigan Advance column discusses the Let Michigan Kids Learn voucher-like petition drive and why it needs to be opposed.
Nominate a Colleague Doing Great Things for Our Member Spotlight Program
We are committed to highlighting the amazing work members from across our constituencies do every day for their colleagues, students, communities, and our union. To make sure more people hear their stories, we are launching a Member Spotlight Program and need your help. Follow the link to our website and fill out the form to nominate an AFT Michigan member to be recognized for what they do at work, in the community, or our union!
Contribute to the AFT Michigan PAC Today
AFT Michigan fights for our members, students and communities all year round and we need your help. Can you donate $52 a year to elect more candidates who share our values? Please visit https://aftmichigan.org/pac/ and set up a recurring gift. For as little as $1 a week, YOU can make a big difference in protecting public education and building a better Michigan future!
Upcoming Union-Building Workshops
|Treasurers’ Council||Tuesday, December 7, 2021||7:00 PM||8:30 PM|
|Media Relations 101||Wednesday, December 8, 2021||5:00 PM||6:30 PM|
Join an AFT Michigan Working Group
The AFT Michigan Administrative Board has created five working groups to help push forward our work in priority areas that have emerged from, and cut across, our Constituency Committees, and we are looking for members to add your expertise and passion to the groups (listed below, with target constituencies we will seek to involve):
- Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline (All Constituencies)
- Increasing the Number of Black Educators in Michigan (All Constituencies)
- Support Staff-to-Teacher Pathways (PreK-12 Support Staff, Teachers, Special Ed/ISD)
- Converting Part-time to Full-time Faculty (NonTenure-Track Faculty, Tenure-Track Faculty)
- New Deal for Higher Ed: Fighting Back Against Austerity Budgeting (Grads, NonTenure-Track Faculty, Tenure-Track Faculty & Academic Staff)
Each group will begin with an Assessment Phase before moving toward recommending action steps to the AFT Michigan Administrative Board. Time commitments are flexible and will vary depending on the project and timeline. See descriptions of each group’s scope of work and interest sign up forms at https://aftmichigan.org/join-an-aft-michigan-working-group/.
Summer and Assistance with Public Service Loan Forgiveness
AFT is working to keep members informed about the recent changes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness and how to use Summer to get help to borrowers. Summer is a trusted online platform that can help you simplify and navigate your student loan debt. Using Summer’s online student loan management platform, AFT members who enroll in this free member benefit can:
- Enroll in income-driven repayment plans and manage annual income recertifications;
- Complete the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification Form and manage the PSLF certification and application process;
- Find other options for loan forgiveness, and get assistance in applying for them; and
- Talk through options with Summer’s borrower success team so they can understand how to best maximize their loan repayment and forgiveness options.
You can start using Summer by creating and logging in to your AFT Member Benefits account (www.aft.org/member-benefits).
David Hecker, President