The AFT has always been a solutions-driven union, and our new campaign, launched during TEACH on July 21, proves it once again with a fresh, practical approach to strengthening public education. As AFT President Randi Weingarten pointed out during her keynote speech, the $5 million, yearlong campaign, “Real Solutions for Kids and Communities,” stands up against attacks on public schools and offers real-world solutions to build up, rather than break down, our communities.
Summer is upon us, and parents, children and teachers are winding down from what has been an exhausting and fully operational school year—the first since the devastating pandemic. The long-lasting impact of COVID-19 has affected our students’ and families’ well-being and ignited the politics surrounding public schools. All signs point to the coming school year unfolding with the same sound and fury, and if extremist culture warriors have their way, being even more divisive and stressful.
In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.
Attacks on public education in America by extremists and culture-war peddling politicians have reached new heights (“lows” may be more apt), but they are not new. The difference today is that the attacks are intended not just to undermine public education but to destroy it.
Labor, business and community leaders are working hard to convince General Motors to reverse its decision to close its plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The community, including many AFT members and their families, fear what this closure could mean for their town.
We are parents, teachers and members of the Cleveland Heights–University Heights community who are dedicated to a system of public schools that provides all children an education that gives them the opportunity to succeed in life.
We believe in our schools, our teachers, our families and our students.
State mandated tests are not legitimate measures of the quality of education students experience or our community values. We advocate for the end of state and federal policies that are harming children and public education.
We call on Congress and the Ohio Legislature to end their war on public education and regain a responsible approach to education in a democracy:
*Abandon high-stakes testing, which is an invalid use of standardized tests to judge, label and punish children, teachers, schools, and communities.
*Stop transferring public school funds to private and religious education. End vouchers and charter schools.
*Fulfill their constitutional obligation to provide adequate and equitably distributed funds for a thorough education for all children.
*Embrace locally-developed assessments of student learning that inform instruction, support a broad curriculum, and encourage creative and higher level thinking.
*Value, trust, and invest in the development of teachers as respected and effective professionals.
As superintendent of a small Texas school district, John Kuhn seems to be an important voice of common sense in education world. He is against an overreliance on test scores and believes some of the things we are being asked to do in school today does nothing to advance the education of our students. Read this great interview from the Dallas Morning News.