Monday, July 28, 2014

Fwd: Inside AFT--July 25

Subject: Inside AFT--July 25

AFT: A Union of Professionals: AFT Teachers

UFT moves to intervene in due process case

The AFT supports United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew's motion to intervene in a New York legal case on due process and tenure. "The United Federation of Teachers has a long history of advocating for and intervening on behalf of children and their parents to ensure that all of New York's children have a high-quality public education—from the More Effective Schools Program to the Chancellor's District and the new contract the UFT recently negotiated with the city of New York," AFT President Randi Weingarten says. "The AFT supports the UFT's request to intervene in the legal case on due process and tenure, and we cheer its decision to keep the union's focus on attracting, retaining and supporting well-prepared and qualified teachers for all our students, and on developing safe, welcoming, collaborative school environments where educators have the resources, support and time to help their students learn and apply a wide range of knowledge."

Green Ribbon Schools celebrated for sustainability

Green schools studentsAmong the 48 institutions recently named 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are eight schools or districts where AFT members work hard to maintain the outstanding programs that move us all toward a greener, more environmentally sustainable world. The designation, created with support from the AFT, the National Education Association, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Center for Green Schools and more, is intended to establish more incentives for sustainability in schools and school districts. The named schools or districts must meet specific criteria in each of three different categories: environmental impact, improving health and wellness, and teaching sustainability. Their many award-winning features include edible gardens, wildlife habitats, classroom recycling and environmentally driven curricula. "It is absolutely true that where you learn matters," said Mary Cathryn Ricker, AFT executive vice president, at a reception for award recipients and supporters. "We've come a long way from a voice in the wilderness to the third year of recognizing Green Ribbon Schools."

In case you didn't see our daily convention email updates, here's what you missed:
This video offers a great overview of the speakers, debates and other convention events.

The convention 2014 page includes daily summaries for July 11-15, videos, press releases and news stories.
And don't miss AFT President Randi Weingarten's Huffington Post column, "Tuning into Teachers," about why thousands of AFT members would spend their time inside a convention hall speaking up forcefully and passionately about economic and social justice, education, and professional issues on which they are often denied a voice.

Order brings protections to LGBTQ employees

An executive order issued July 21 by President Obama will protect LGBTQ employees of the federal government and federal contractors from employment discrimination. "For years—decades even—Congress has been stymied in partisan politics, unable or unwilling to do the right thing and pass nondiscrimination legislation for gay and transgender workers," AFT President Randi Weingarten says. "President Obama has brought the LGBTQ community one step closer to real equality. The executive order—especially in omitting a general religious exemption—will ensure that, at the very least, gay and transgender federal contract workers are protected from on-the-job discrimination."

Innovation Fund seeks 'teachers leading on standards'

Innovation Fund graphicIn her convention keynote address, President Randi Weingarten announced that the AFT Innovation Fund will provide grants for teachers to become more involved in standards. "Many members have told me they embrace standards as a critical ingredient in aligning instruction to what students need to know and be able to do, but believe the Common Core—or aspects of it—need reform," she said. Do you want to critique standards and the research behind them? How about offering feedback on the implementation of standards in your state or community? Or do you want to write new standards in a particular grade or subject? Then you should look into applying for an Innovation Fund grant. Applications are due Sept. 30, 2014.

AFT hails Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that President Obama signed on July 22 extends the ladder of opportunity to middle-class Americans by providing the guidance, skills and training needed to compete for good 21st-century jobs, AFT President Randi Weingarten says. "Career and technical education programs provide incredibly important pathways to success," she says. "This law will help young people, the disabled, the long-term unemployed and those barely getting by on hourly wages to become economically self-sufficient. The workforce law provides a blueprint for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act, which has been a lifeline for job training opportunities and focuses on career and technical education programs and collaborative partnerships among employers, communities, schools and labor. We hope that as Congress works on the Perkins reauthorization, it provides much-needed funding for guidance counselors, who can help students explore career options as they contemplate their futures."

Where & When

AFT secretary-treasurer Lorretta Johnson will attend the AFL-CIO executive committee and executive council meetings in Washington, D.C., July 28-31.
July 25, 2014
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Spotlight On...

Underpaid teachers
Most of the discussion around teacher pay in the United States has focused on entry-level salaries. But new research from the Center for American Progress reveals "deeply troubling" findings when it comes to teachers further into their careers. The bottom line, the report says, is that mid- and late-career teachers are not earning what they deserve, nor are they able to earn salaries that can support a middle-class standard of living.

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Inside AFT, an electronic newsletter for leaders and activists, is prepared by the AFT communications department. Contributors and sources for this week's edition include Virginia Myers, Brett Sherman, Ann Bradley, the Center for American Progress and Catherine Mason. Dan Gursky, editor; Jane Feller, copy editor.
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© American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. © 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fwd: Inside AFT--July 3

Subject: Inside AFT--July 3

AFT: A Union of Professionals: AFT Teachers

AFT convention to focus on Reclaiming the Promise

Los Angeles skylineThe AFT convention, set for July 11-14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, will focus on fighting back and fighting forward on key domestic issues to reclaim the promise of America, including the Common Core State Standards, due process and tenure for educators, and investing public pension dollars for much-needed infrastructure projects. The more than 3,500 convention delegates will discuss and vote on numerous resolutions, such as ensuring accountability for equity and excellence in public education; delinking Common Core implementation from the consequences of high-stakes assessments; maintaining due process and tenure; creating a healthcare system that puts patient care above profits; and ending the reliance on a contingent academic labor system in higher education. AFT President Randi Weingarten will give the keynote address on July 11, and a number of lawmakers, policymakers and political candidates also will speak.

'Harris' decision is bad for working families

While the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the importance of collective bargaining and unions to families and communities in its June 30 ruling in Harris v. Quinn, AFT President Randi Weingarten says, working people, who have aspired to the middle class and tried to make a better life for their families, have taken it on the chin for years. "Stagnating wages, loss of pensions and lack of upward mobility have defined the economic distress they have experienced. This decision makes it worse," she says. "The Roberts court has consistently ruled in favor of corporate interests, while diminishing the rights of labor. This court has built a record of weakening the rights of both voters and working families; no one should be surprised by this decision."

Convention 2014 graphic

Going to convention? We have lots of ways for you to get the latest news and updates. Text delegate14 to 69238 to get alerts on your phone. (Msg and data rates may apply.) You can follow us on Twitter: #AFT14, #ReclaimIt, @AFTunion and @rweingarten. Or download our app, with information on the convention and much more from the AFT, from the iTunes app store for iPhones or the Google Play store for Android phones.

And it's not too late to volunteer to participate in an AFT Gives Back community event at the All Peoples Community Center, on Thursday, July 10, from 2-6 p.m. Learn more and sign up.
Unable to attend? No worries, because for the first time, all convention general sessions will be live streamed. The live streams will be available at this link: For just the highlights, watch your email box for daily updates starting on July 11.

For the latest details, visit our convention 2014 page

Supreme Court decision is setback for women's rights

With its June 30 decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, the U.S. Supreme Court majority showed that it better represents the interests of the Chamber of Commerce than it does the values and aspirations of working Americans, AFT President Randi Weingarten says. "Workers' rights should not depend on whether their employer—while buying and selling to everyone regardless of religion—wants to limit their reproductive rights based on privately held religious beliefs," she says. "That this decision, which disproportionately affects women, coincides with the Harris v. Quinn decision, which limits rights of home healthcare workers in Illinois—the vast majority of whom are women—is a throwback to another age. Working families, especially working women, have lost here."

Apply now for Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism

Solution driven unionism prize bannerThe AFT, in partnership with the Albert Shanker Institute and the AFT Innovation Fund, is accepting applications for the second annual $25,000 Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism. The prize honors the most innovative, inspiring examples of collaborative work by our state and local affiliates and aims to encourage more of this cutting-edge thinking. Solution-driven unionism is grounded in solving problems, not just winning arguments. It's about fighting for something that will help our members and the people we serve, not just about fighting against something. This is who we are—and we want to honor the best solution-driven ideas. Affiliates from every AFT constituency are eligible and encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted until Aug. 15.

Where & When

AFT president Randi Weingarten will participate in a teacher equity roundtable discussion with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson, and a number of principals and teachers on July 7 in Washington, D.C. From July 9-14, she will be in Los Angeles to chair the AFT executive council meeting and the 2014 AFT convention, and attend a number of convention-related events.
AFT secretary-treasurer Lorretta Johnson will attend the AFT executive committee and executive council meetings, the 2014 AFT convention and convention-related events July 9-14 in Los Angeles.
AFT executive vice president Francine Lawrence will attend the AFT executive committee and executive council meetings, the AFT 2014 convention and convention-related events July 11-14 in Los Angeles.
July 3, 2014
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Spotlight On...

Why we need due process
In a new column in U.S. News & World Report, AFT President Randi Weingarten writes about why teachers need due process. Read the full column and show your support for due process rights by casting an "up" vote for the column online.

Tip of the Week

Make this July Fourth a aade-in-America, union-label celebration. This list from Union Plus has lots of suggestions.

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Inside AFT, an electronic newsletter for leaders and activists, is prepared by the AFT communications department. Contributors and sources for this week's edition include Rebecca Hockfield, Ann Bradley, U.S. News & World Report, Tear Jones, Catherine Mason and Mary Kaniewski. Dan Gursky, editor; Jane Feller, copy editor.
Contact Us » | AFT 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001 | Unsubscribe »
© American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. © 2014