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“Looking Ahead to 2020” for Funding Our Future

The questions in part one sought to focus attention on a variety of high profile policies, from classroom safety to school regionalization to education funding. Participating union members over a five day period shared their anonymous opinions, setting the stage for WFSB’s week-long series of news reports from the perspective of teachers.
Click here for a slideshow with educators’ responses to each of the questions.
“The survey was the product of collaboration with both a trusted ally and a new partner,” said Mary Yordon, the president of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated Norwalk Federation of Teachers. “Educators know the value of working together in teams to improve student learning — this effort showed that it can work for public policy, too. Looking ahead to 2020, it’s a valuable lesson,” added Yordon, a certified French teacher who also serves as our state federation’s vice president for PreK-12 educators.
WFSB on November 18 began airing separate segments on the results during the 5:30 and 11:00PM broadcasts of their Eyewitness News program. Many focused on individual issues and featured interviews with union members who shared their own experiences and viewpoints.
AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer David Hayes told WFSB’s reporter that “students are in dire need of assistance” and mental health services in a clip focused on the issue. Drawing on his two decades as an educator and an activist, he described the “uptick in student behavior incidents” in Bristol Public Schools and districts across the state.
Click here to watch the segment featuring Hayes’ interview.
Another local union leader’s perspective on regionalizing schools was included in a full segment focused on the survey’s results on the topic.
When WFSB’s reporter asked about consolidating his district’s services with a neighboring town, Ansonia Federation of Teachers President Mat Hough said he wanted to “focus on what’s best for kids.” He cut through much of the confusion generated by various consolidation proposals by reminding viewers to contrast “what the politicians think is best” to the concerns of the community.
Click here to watch Hough’s interview on regionalization.
Several union members were also included in a segment featuring a wide-ranging group discussion of the survey’s top-line findings.
Newtown Federation of Teachers member Mike Wight (top, right in photo above) told the panel’s moderator that the results showed why equitable funding is “a huge piece” of the solution. He added that the survey should help policymakers understand the value of investing in “the tools we need to properly educate and support” their students.
Click here for the segment with highlights of the group discussion.
State federation leaders are currently working with CEA counterparts on a follow-up survey to dig a bit deeper on issues raised in the first round. This second poll will also tackle several additional topics not addressed by the questions included in part one.
We plan to once again partner with WFSB, empowering them to broadcast members’ additional survey results to a statewide viewing audience. The roll-out is tentatively scheduled for mid to late January and will again be sent to PreK-12 educators via e-mail.
Click here to sign-up for AFT Connecticut’s membership alerts or update subscription preferences. *
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