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Fall Leadership Summit

Over 100 leaders from AFT Michigan locals across the state gathered at UM-Dearborn Saturday for our first in-person Leadership Summit in several years. It was great to see people and we had many good discussions about how we work together to build strong local unions, engage politically, bargain and enforce our contracts, and advocate for the issues important to each constituency.

Education Issues in Rural Michigan

Rural school districts in our state face tremendous challenges, including teacher recruitment and retention, serving students with mental health needs, broadband access, underfunding, and state reporting requirements.  These are the findings presented in a comprehensive study by a research team led  by Professor David Arsen of the MSU College of Education.  The study puts forth three core propositions to inform rural education policies:  placed-based, rural-conscious state education policies; recognizing linkages across rural-school challenges and coordinating solutions; and whole community approaches.

The report is available here:

Politics and Public Education

Politics and public education is the subject of my September Michigan Advance column, in which I point out that some of the strongest critics of “politics in the classroom” are the same people who have turned public education into a political war zone.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness- AFT Student Debt Clinics

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a free federal program that may allow you to have your federal student loans forgiven, tax-free. PSLF has been temporarily expanded to include more people, including many who were denied in the past.

  • Don’t wait! Apply before Oct. 31, 2022, to take advantage of the temporary PSLF expansion.
  • Enroll in Summer, the free AFT member benefit, for help in managing your student loans and to apply for PSLF. Visit to get started today.

AFT will be hosting webinars every Thursday, and additional clinics every day from Wed 9/28-10/4,  Register for an AFT Student Debt Clinic Webinar at:

AFT & NEA Spanish Language PSLF Webinar- Tuesday, 9/27 @ 7 PM EST

La Federación Estadounidense de Maestros (AFT) y la Asociación Nacional de Educación (NEA) los invitan a un seminario virtual en español sobre el programa de Condonación de Préstamos por Servicio Público (PSLF) de la Administración Biden-Harris. El PSLF permite que los servidores públicos (maestros, bomberos, bibliotecarios, etc.) obtengan la condonación del saldo restante de sus préstamos federales para la educación superior después de 120 pagos mensuales o 10 años. Hasta ahora, más de 175,000 personas han tenido sus préstamos equivalentes a más de $10 mil millones de dólares perdonados. 

Venga a escuchar a expertos y personas como usted a quienes se les ha perdonado sus préstamos federales.

El seminario virtual será en español.

27 de septiembre, de 7 a 8 p. m., hora del este

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 $1 a week to aid us in this fight? Please visit the AFT Michigan website to contribute and make a big difference in protecting public education and building a better Michigan future! 

Upcoming Union Building Events

New Officer OrientationThursday, Oct. 6, 20225:00 – 6:30 pmClick for Details and Registration

Justice Leaders Collaborative (JLC) Core Course 

The Justice Leaders Core Course is open to all AFT Michigan members passionate about issues of equity, inclusion and social justice. Learning will focus on issues of privilege, oppression and inequality along lines of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Participants will come to understand their own social identities, biases, and prejudices; increase their knowledge about the histories and present realities of various social identity groups; and begin considering how to incorporate this knowledge and awareness into their practice.

Our next cohort of the Justice Leaders Core Course will run 6 consecutive Mondays, 6:00-8:00 5pm, starting October 10th. Nearly 100 AFT Michigan leaders from all constituencies have now completed the Core Course. To register for the Justice Leaders Core Course fill out this form: GhsHNMprbSefabPb6

Professional Development

AFT Healthcare Professional Issues Conference

None of us thought our profit-driven healthcare system could get much worse, and then COVID-19 arrived. Attendees at this year’s Healthcare PIC will hear from experts about using work-site data in advocating for real solutions to the problems in our work sites and our broader healthcare system. You will also hear about ways we can exert our power and influence to push real solutions on imminent changes in our industry, such as new models of care, ways to use technology, and healthcare jobs and licensure. The status quo is not sustainable, and we have the power to have our voices heard.

Click here to register for our Healthcare Professional Issues Conference, which will be held in Chicago from November 12-13.

Teaching Democratic Principles and Protected Freedoms Fall Webinar Series

The Albert Shanker Institute and Share My Lesson are launching a series of teach-in webinars on the Constitution and principles of the Constitution, such as the rule of law, constitutional freedoms, the Civil War amendments dealing with slavery, voter rights and tribal sovereignty. These teach-ins will provide the content knowledge on the rights granted in the Constitution with teachable strategies for the classroom. It will also tackle the very issues that are eroding our democracy and our freedoms today, from banning books to failing to make all kids feel safe and welcome in school.

Whether you teach history, civics, math or science, or are a parent or guardian, this series has something for everyone. It is the responsibility of all of us to understand our rights as citizens and residents of the United States, and that starts with understanding the Constitution. Join us for this fall’s six-part webinar series, A More United America: Teaching Democratic Principles and Protected Freedoms.

Register for all sessions now. 

In solidarity

David Hecker


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