Your vote is your voice

AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest column outlines the urgency of using our voices—our votes—in this life-changing election, when we will make a choice “between President Donald Trump, who has trafficked in chaos, fear, lies and division, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who seeks to reverse Trump’s failures on COVID-19 and the economy, and to unite and uplift the American people.” Besides the four crises we face—a pandemic, an economic crisis, racism and a climate emergency—democracy itself is on the ballot, as Trump continues to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.

‘Back to school’ like never before

In her September New York Times column, AFT President Randi Weingarten says that going back to school has never looked like it does now. Weingarten explains that because of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus, which has been chaotic, contradictory and inept, and the lack of federal guidance and funding, we’re seeing a patchwork of school reopening plans across the country.

AFT-NH President Douglas Ley on Gov. Sununu’s Re-opening School Guidelines

Contact: Douglas Ley, AFT NH  President

Phone: (603) 831-3661

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

9:00 A.M EDT, July 15, 2020

 

AFT-NH President Doug Ley issued the following statement in reaction to the guidelines issued by Governor Sununu.

“Once again, Gov. Chris Sununu fails the test of leadership.  With COVID infections spiking rapidly across the nation and with public health officials repeatedly stating that wearing masks is one of the easiest and most effective ways to limit the spread of the virus, the Governor refuses to mandate wearing of masks in schools.  In fact, the entire set of guidelines released today amount to a pile of nothing—little guidance, vague suggestions, and most important, no support provided by the State to local school districts facing huge costs as the school year approaches.  The Governor likes to act like a king doling out Federal CARES funds, but when it comes to actual leadership, the king abdicates.

From the start, the process of crafting guidelines for school reopening in Fall 2020 was fraught with difficulties, mostly self-inflicted.  The task force and supportive working groups appointed by Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut contained virtually no public school teachers while sidelining leaders of statewide education organizations to a working group with no clear assignment or duties.  The initial materials sent out by the Commissioner featured numerous press articles touting individual stories of students thriving in online education but nothing on the work of educators and the looming challenges.  Even the survey touted today was tilted towards online education, and while the Governor cited the survey to justify his vague recommendations, the actual results have yet to be released, despite requests from myself and other working group members.

No required use of masks.  No State support to aid districts facing huge costs for heightened sanitizing and cleaning regimens.  No aid for districts when it comes to transportation (how many kids can you fit safely on a school bus?)  No help in obtaining PPE for schools.  No help in ensuring all students have equal access to remote learning when it becomes necessary (as it surely will).  And what about the teachers, para-educators, food service workers and administrative support staff?  What if their health is already compromised or if a loved one at home is vulnerable?  What provisions are to be made for them? 

Local control is part of the very foundation of public education in New Hampshire, but stronger State guidance and support can mesh with local control.  Local variations are real, but broad public health concerns crossing local district lines are also real, along with the scientific guidance that can help us in forming sensible policies.  Sadly, Governor Sununu has abdicated his leadership responsibilities when it comes to our students, teachers, and schools in New Hampshire.  We can only hope and pray that the patchwork approach adopted in New Hampshire does not lead to the same tragic results that we are now witnessing across the United States.”  

AFT-NH is a federation of 28 locals, and is the largest affiliate of the NH AFL-CIO.  Our 4000 members range from teachers to para-educators, school support staff, municipal employees, law-enforcement officers and higher education faculty, and we stand for equal access to quality public education, affordable health care, and maintaining the rights of working people to have protections and a voice in the workplace.   

 

#######

2020 AFT-NH Honey Cascio and Billy Donovan Scholarships Now Available

 

HONEY CASCIO SCHOLARSHIP

And

BILLY DONOVAN SCHOLARSHIP

 

AFT-NH, AFT, AFL-CIO

 

(Deadline: Postmarked by May 31, 2020)

 

AFT-NH is proud to award two $1,000 scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year. The Cascio scholarship will be offered to one graduating senior who has been accepted at an institution of higher learning, while the Donovan scholarship will go to one continuing student at an accredited institution of higher learning for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Prior scholarship winners are ineligible

 

Applicant’s parent or guardian must be a current member of AFT-NH.  Winners will need to provide proof of enrollment (continuing or as a new student) for the 2020-2021 academic year in order to receive their scholarship check.  All applications must be postmarked by May31, 2020.

 

Please mail the completed application and supporting documentation to:

AFT-NH

ATTN: SCHOLARSHIP

785 Route 3A, Unit 102

Bow, NH  03304

                                                                                    

 

Click HERE for the application.  Please feel free to photocopy this application for distribution.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2019-05

The NH Legislature is in a momentary lull, having just survived “crossover,” the deadline date by which bills must be acted on in order to move across to the other branch of the legislature.  On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, the House considered over 150 bills.  Approximately one-half were on the Consent Calendar with unanimous or almost unanimous bipartisan committee recommendations to pass or defeat.  Unless a bill is removed from the Consent Calendar, the House then takes one vote to “approve the Consent Calendar,” after which all the bills still on it are passed or defeated as recommended.  So, it is a short-cut, avoiding unnecessary delay in considering what are often minor or duplicative bills.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2019-04

March 3, 2019 ~ Bow, NH

It may have been vacation week for NH students, but the NH House was hard at work, holding two long session days and disposing of over 100 proposed pieces of legislation.  Sadly, the event to receive the greatest attention was the speech of Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown) who commenced a speech on guns in schools with remarks construed by many as racist.  The House voted to cite Rep. Burt for ‘disorderly speech’ and he did follow with an apology, but this is already the second time in two months that Rep. Burt has uttered remarks on the floor of the House that are perceived as racist.  Events like this are sad moments for the NH House and the State of NH.  State agencies and groups like “StayWorkPlay NH” (http://stayworkplay.org/) work hard to recruit and retain a young and increasingly diverse workforce, but comments like those of Rep. Burt only make their job more difficult.  The future of NH rests upon younger generations, and that means greater cognizance and respect for all forms of diversity.  NH must change if it is to move forward.