I write this message as my first as your President. I write this message entering my 30th year in teaching and my 25th in Meriden. The more time I spend in education, the more I realize how hard this job has become. The opportunity to refuel is a key component to doing great work in schools. I hope summer provided that….fuel!
Teaching is one of those rare professions where you get a clean slate every year. That always brings new hope and endless possibility. After all my years, I am still full of hope and love for the profession and CHILDREN. At the end of the day what is most important is what happens in the classroom and with students. Your voice and experience and your students' voices and experiences are indeed most important and I want to honor that.
I know not every day will be awesome… we work with kids. They are much like us only at the beginning of their learning journey. It's our wisdom and care that they need. Most days you leave work with that smile on your face knowing you made a difference. My dream this year is that you and your students' think of school as place where communities of learners gather do interesting work that matters. With that said, I'm excited to hear your stories so please share them. In turn, I'm going to share your stories with anyone and everyone who will listen.
The AFT has always been a solutions-driven union, and our new campaign, launched during TEACH on July 21, proves it once again with a fresh, practical approach to strengthening public education. As AFT President Randi Weingarten pointed out during her keynote speech, the $5 million, yearlong campaign, “Real Solutions for Kids and Communities,” stands up against attacks on public schools and offers real-world solutions to build up, rather than break down, our communities.
Summer is upon us, and parents, children and teachers are winding down from what has been an exhausting and fully operational school year—the first since the devastating pandemic. The long-lasting impact of COVID-19 has affected our students’ and families’ well-being and ignited the politics surrounding public schools. All signs point to the coming school year unfolding with the same sound and fury, and if extremist culture warriors have their way, being even more divisive and stressful.
In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.
Attacks on public education in America by extremists and culture-war peddling politicians have reached new heights (“lows” may be more apt), but they are not new. The difference today is that the attacks are intended not just to undermine public education but to destroy it.