Finally—it’s President-elect Biden

Patience—counseled by former Vice President Joe Biden all election week as Americans waited for votes to be counted—finally paid off Nov. 7, four days after Election Day, when Biden won in Pennsylvania and gained enough Electoral College votes to acquire a new title: president-elect. AFT President Randi Weingarten says the union’s leaders and members “can’t wait to get started” on the work ahead “with an administration that will embrace and fight for the values we hold dear.”

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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.

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2nd Special Session: Week Two!

This week we conclude the second week in the ongoing Special Legislative Session, bringing us to nearly the half way point. Due to the oncoming Hurricane Delta, some meetings were moved up until earlier in the week, most notably both the House Education and Senate Education Committees conducted their weekly meetings at the same time on Wednesday morning. They both considered important legislation, but here are some of the highlights:

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Ask the Senate Education Committee to Support SB 31

One of the most important bills that we will hear in this abbreviated legislation is Senate Bill 31 by Senator Cleo Fields. If passed, this bill would prohibit the use of statewide student assessments conducted during the 2020-2021 school year from being used to evaluate teacher performance. Essentially, schools could (and likely would) still have testing this year, but the scores couldn't count against a teacher's performance evaluation.

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‘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.

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Reopening School Buildings

School buildings cannot open for in-person instruction until the below conditions are met:
- Community transmission of COVID-19 is under control in the region;
- There is a public health infrastructure to support effective disease surveillance, tracing and isolation in schools;
- Staff who are at high risk have access to special accommodations;
- The district and school have funded safeguards and implemented protocols, including physical distancing, face coverings, access to hand-washing facilities, cleaning supplies, and updates to ventilation and;
- AFT members and leaders, families and community partners are included in the reopening planning process.

 

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