The April Newsletter

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Earlier this month Governor Edwards announced that schools would remain closed through the end of the school year. The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has provided some guidelines for local school districts, but for the most part administrators, teachers, and school employees have had to make it work in an impossible situation.

Some school districts already had distance learning mechanisms in place before the pandemic hit, while others worked quickly to implement a brand-new system. Either way, no school district is immune to the disparate resources and infrastructure available to their students. Many of our most rural families don’t have access to internet or mobile data service in their homes. Some students have a laptop and Wi-Fi and can join in on daily Zoom lessons while some have to sit in their parent’s car in the library parking lot to simply look at a worksheet on their phone. Children’s experiences at home have always worked their way into their learning environment, but this pandemic has highlighted those differences in a way we rarely experience. Nevertheless, teachers are rising to the occasion.

How have you brought the classroom home? What strategies are you using to meet the unique needs of your students during this difficult time? How are you balancing your own child’s education with that of your students? Let us know here.

No one yet knows what the future holds for our students. Some school districts are considering opening up summer school while others might start the 2020-2021 year earlier than usual. Then, there is the consideration of how to resume school. Experts have said that it will be important to maintain social distancing and elevated hygiene practices until a vaccine is available to prevent another wave of infections. AFT has put together some guidelines for you and your administrators to consider when planning how to reopen schools.



It’s no secret that this health crisis has led to an economic crisis and many states and local governments are preparing for huge budget deficits that could have a detrimental impact on our public schools. While the federal government has been spending enormous sums of money to help individuals and corporations weather the storm; state and local governments remain in need.

A new report from the Albert Shanker Institute outlines a viable path to minimizing the damage to our schools and other public services. The report, released April 24, calls on the federal government to pump money into the system in the short-term, while relying on states to secure funding and build up infrastructure to weather future downturns.

Public education is one of the vital services that our state provides and after a decade of disinvestment, schools simply can’t afford cuts. Unfortunately, some politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said state and local government should file for bankruptcy rather than get desperately needed funding from the federal government.

In the next stimulus package, AFT and our allies will be pushing for $500 billion in funds for state and local government and public schools. In the meantime, let’s tell Mitch McConnell and any other politician that would rather see our state go bankrupt that a failure to support state and local government and public schools would be a failure to support our communities and those who have provided valuable services during this pandemic.



Next week we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. This year we are especially grateful to all the dedicated educators who have continued to care for and educate our children despite closed schools. More than ever, parents around the country are singing the praises of their children’s teachers.

Do you have a teacher that you are especially appreciative of? Do you want to give special recognition to a dedicated educator? Click here to send us a video of you thanking a teacher.


Please note, we may publicly share excerpts of your video, or the entire video.



This month the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) released a public survey regarding their search for the next State Superintendent. The survey was open from April 14 through April 24, 2020. Unfortunately, many educators felt that the survey didn’t get at the core issues surrounding the search to replace John White.

While the BESE survey has closed, the deliberations continue and we encourage you to reach out to your local BESE representative to make your opinions known. We anticipate that BESE will likely select a candidate at their meeting in May and we hope they will offer further opportunities for public feedback before then.

To learn more about the six finalists, click here.

You can find contact information for your local BESE representative here.



In response to the world-wide pandemic we are facing, the AFT is providing Grief Counseling at no cost to you. All members, active and retired, and eligible immediate family members will have the opportunity to speak with a licensed, Master’s level counselor if a death occurs as the result of COVID-19. The AFT will pay covered counseling expenses for the insured and/or immediate family members. During the time in which the AFT is providing this benefit you have the opportunity to speak with one of our dedicated counselors via video, phone, or text. To learn more about this new benefit, click here.

To learn more about all of your member benefits, click here.



This month, the U.S. Department of Education’s announced that it will take $180 million out of the funds Congress allocated to help schools during this time and use it to create a competition for states to expand voucher-like grants and to expand virtual, online education. Local school districts are dealing with the impact of budget deficits and they need assistance from the federal government to make it through this time.

“DeVos is using what little discretionary money was provided for education in the CARES Act to move full-steam ahead with turning our public schools into online cash cows for her corporate friends and offering families vouchers that divert resources away from the schools that need those resources" said AFT President Randi Weingarten. Click here to send a message to your Congressmen and women asking them to direct DeVos to stop using CARES Act funding to advance her privatization agenda.



To help teachers and support staff during the unprecedented global pandemic, select affiliate locals of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and Support Staff are waiving all membership dues for new members until school resumes in the Fall.

During this moment of crisis, it is more important than ever for us to come together. Through our collective power we can continue to fight for our students and our profession. Become a part of the LFT family today! Click here to learn more.



Please take a moment to update your contact info so that we can continue to bring you important updates about the state of our schools, the ongoing search for a new superintendent, and resources that are important to you.

Click here to update your contact information. In particular, please provide an accurate PERSONAL email address and CELL phone number.