This is the tale of two visions.
Join us in Reclaiming the Promise.
Proponents of one vision, disguised as reform, hold closed-door meetings to design a plan to shut the public out of public schools by fixating on testing, cutting investments in education, promoting austerity, and using the remaining funds to turn a profit—not to help kids.
Believers in the other vision want parents, educators, school staff, students and community partners to unite to ensure great neighborhood public schools that help each and every child succeed, no matter his or her ZIP code.
Reclaiming the promise of public education is about:
* Fighting for neighborhood public schools that are safe, welcoming places for teaching and learning;
* Ensuring teachers and school staff are well-prepared, are supported, have manageable class sizes and have time to collaborate so they can meet the individual needs of every child;
* Making sure our children have an engaging curriculum that focuses on teaching, not testing, and includes art, music and the sciences; and
* Ensuring children, their families and the community have access to wraparound services to meet their social, emotional and health needs.
This is a vision that works. It’s a vision of what parents want for their kids and what communities want for their future. It’s a movement that can stop the privatizers, profiteers and austerity hawks in their tracks. It will help our public schools become centers of communities, give voice to those closest to the classroom, and fulfill public education’s purpose as an anchor of democracy; a gateway to racial, social and economic justice; and a propeller of our economy.
Reclaiming the Promise is not a top-down edict; it’s solution-driven unionism and community-driven reform. And speaking of that, today, we proudly announced the winners of the 2013 AFT Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism. This prize recognizes groups that collaborated to develop programs with concrete results. One winner developed a successful student-learning alternative to high-stakes testing assessments, while another reduced its state’s healthcare costs by $1.6 billion. They are proof that when the community joins forces with those who serve our children and the public every day, we can reclaim the promise.
This is why we are asking you to stand with us and push back on privatization, austerity, mass schools closures, and test fixation, which have not moved the needle in the right direction. It is time we reclaim the promise of public education—not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be—to fulfill our collective obligation to help all children succeed. This will be central to our work in the coming years, and the AFT executive council passed a resolution this week formalizing this as AFT policy.
Stand with us to Reclaim the Promise of public education.
We are at a pivotal moment—a moment we must seize without further detours, distractions and delays.