In a powerful demonstration of unity and concern for the future of education, teachers from Annie Fisher STEM School, alongside the leadership of the Hartford Federation of Teachers, held a widely publicized rally on May 31. The event, covered by NBC News Channel 30, shed light on the critical staffing issues stemming from the lack of resources and financial constraints surrounding special education and widespread staffing issues in the Hartford Public Schools.
Amid passionate educators and supporters, the rally became a symbol of determination as it focused on the alarming revelation made by the superintendent: that the staffing issues facing Hartford will likely continue.
Gathering at the Annie Fisher School grounds at 7:30am, teachers brandished placards bearing slogans like “Every Child Deserves Quality Education” and “Invest in Our Students’ Future.” The chilly morning air was filled with a resounding call for change, echoing the concerns of both educators and parents alike.
The rally took on a unique form as the clock struck 8:15am. Teachers, still united in their cause, seamlessly transitioned from the outside rally to the interior of the school, a strategic move that highlighted their unwavering commitment to ensuring that students’ educational experiences remain uninterrupted. The event was dubbed a “walk-in rally,” a demonstration of the teachers’ dedication to voicing their concerns without negatively impacting the valuable learning time of their students.
The Hartford Federation of Teachers echoed the sentiments of the educators, emphasizing that investing in special education resources is not just a financial obligation, but a moral imperative. Union President, Carol Gale, underlined, “Many of our students do not have what they need.” Gale went on to cite 87 positions that remain unfilled, and the devastating effect that’s having on Hartford’s children. “Many of our students do not have the support they’re supposed to get by federal law and by their IEPs, their individualized educational plans.”
HFT’s second Vice President, Stuart Beckford, went on to underline the recruitment issue. “I think you have to have people who are invested in our community beyond just the dollar amount of a career. It has to be that they really understand what Hartford is, the community, the legacies, the history of Hartford and then be vested into that as a citizen of Hartford,” he said.
As the rally concluded, the resounding message was clear: the Hartford Federation of Teachers are united in their determination to secure the necessary resources and funding to ensure a bright future for every student, regardless of their unique educational needs. They hope to draw the attention of Conntecitcut’s legislature, Hartford’s Mayor, and Hartford’s Superintendent to the needs of Hartford’s children.