AFT - American Federation of Teachers

Shortcut Navigation:

Current Actions

  • This Earth Day pledge to green your school!

    Pledge to green your school and we’ll send you tricks and tips on how to do everything from planting a school garden to creating a school-wide recycling program.
     
    Los Angeles teacher Kerry Olinger points out five benefits for students who engage in environmental sustainability initiatives:

  • How dare she trash talk teachers

    Gov. Susana Martinez was caught red handed bashing New Mexico's teachers. In one audio clip posted yesterday, Martinez told campaign staffers that she would hide her opinions on teachers during the campaign. In another, the governor laughs as her chief campaign strategist discussed ways to avoid accusations that she hid her true anti-teacher feelings during the campaign. 

    Send the Governor a message — bashing New Mexico’s teachers in not ok. 

  • Governor Martinez Bashes Teachers

    Gov. Susana Martinez was caught red handed bashing New Mexico's teachers. In one audio clip posted yesterday, Martinez told campaign staffers that she would hide her opinions on teachers during the campaign. In another, the governor laughs as her chief campaign strategist discussed ways to avoid accusations that she hid her true anti-teacher feelings during the campaign.

    Send the Governor a message — bashing New Mexico’s teachers in not ok. 

  • Equal work means equal wages

    It seems like common sense: Women should earn the same wage as men if they do the same work. But they don’t. 

    U.S. census data show that women make, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men who do the same work. 

    That is why Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill will establish critical rules that promote and enforce equal pay. The Senate plans to take up the bill this week, and the senators need to hear from you.

    Urge your senators to vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

  • Renew Unemployment Insurance- The Senate should vote yes now

    Two weeks ago Democrats and a group of moderate Republicans came together and reached a bi-partisan deal on unemployment insurance. We have been pushing to restore support for the unemployed since December of last year and the pressure many of you applied helped to forge this bi-partisan agreement. 

    Congress is back in session and is expected to vote on a short-term extension to renew unemployment insurance for 2 million people. We are close to a victory, but we need your help to ensure the bill passes the Senate.

    Tell the Senate we need this now. 

  • We demand a vote now

    Today, a discharge petition will be introduced in the House of Representatives to demand a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. When 218 members sign the petition, Speaker Boehner will have to call a vote. We can break through the partisan gridlock and pass comprehensive immigration reform if you take action today.  

    It’s time for the House of Representatives to do its job. Contact your representative today and demand a vote.

    Comprehensive immigration reform is too important to be held hostage by a small group of far-right obstructionists. Join us in demanding that the House of Representatives do its job and vote.

  • A safer school is a victory for all

    Bullying at schools is a problem that denies our kids a safe and healthy learning environment. To combat this challenge that harms far too many children, we are part of a coalition of more than 110 leading national organizations that support the Safe Schools Improvement Act. This federal legislation would ensure that schools nationwide implement comprehensive, effective anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies to protect all students.

    Stand with us to stop bullying at school and ensure our children have safe, happy learning environments.

  • Thank You, Rep. Grijalva!

    Last week, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) took a bold stance for public education, saying, “An impartial and transparent hearing on mandatory testing and privatization efforts directed at public education, is critical.”

    Sign the thank-you to Rep. Grijalva, and show Congress that we’ll support representatives who stand strong for public education.

  • Hands Off My Retirement Security

    The ALEC agenda is simple: Put corporate profits and right-wing political power before the needs of working people by promoting income inequality and attacking our rights through a secretive “pay-to-play” political system.
     
    Whether it is undermining public employee pensions, or promoting “right-to-work” or voter disenfranchisement legislation, ALEC has been at the forefront of the fight against the middle class in states across our country.
     

    Now is the time to fight back and stand up to ALEC’s agenda of profits over people. Tell your state legislators to oppose the ALEC agenda today.

  • Will you be my super hero?

    It’s time to reclaim the promise of early childhood education and care to guarantee every child and family has access to affordable, high-quality early childhood programs—from birth to kindergarten.

    But who can help us? It’s the Super Legislator League!

    Your members of Congress need to hear from you! Send your early childhood education rescue signal into the sky and ask your legislators to be superheroes. It’s time to reclaim the promise of early childhood education and enact the Strong Start for America’s Children Act!

  • I Stand with Mayor DeBlasio

    Mayor de Blasio is enacting common sense policies to protect all of our children. From now on, his administration will apply four criteria in reviewing proposed co-locations: He won’t allow reduced services for children with special needs; he won’t put elementary students in high schools; he won’t approve small schools that only require more high-paid supervisors to run them; and, he won’t approve co-locations in buildings that would require expensive renovations of school facilities.

    Those are sensible reforms we can all get behind. Thank Mayor de Blasio for enacting policies that serve all of New York City’s children.

  • ECE action for super heros

    Right now, there is bipartisan legislation in Congress to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children from birth to age 5. And it needs more superhero power! The Strong Start for America’s Children Act expands preschool programs at the state level and establishes partnerships between Early Head Start and child care providers to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers. 

    Your members of Congress need to hear from you! Send your early childhood education rescue signal into the sky and ask your legislators to be superheroes. It’s time to reclaim the promise of early childhood education and enact the Strong Start for America’s Children Act!

  • Stand with SUNY

    SUNY Downstate Medical Center and its teaching hospital, University Hospital of Brooklyn, are cornerstones for Brooklyn patients and medical students. This makes New York a leader in training physicians through the school of medicine. Not investing in vital healthcare services at Downstate would reduce the quality and accessibility of healthcare for hundreds of thousands of patients—many of whom are underinsured or uninsured.

  • Public School Funding Is On Thin Ice

    Allowing the majority of our education funding to flow to private schools would have a devastating effect on children living in poverty, who are the primary beneficiaries of these federal dollars. Studies prove vouchers do not help students and families: They do not improve student achievement, they deprive students of the rights public school students have, they threaten religious liberty by funding religious education, and they lack accountability to taxpayers. 


    We need your help to ensure public schools don’t get left out in the cold. Contact your members of Congress today and tell them you want them to oppose these bills.

  • Stop Bullying Newark Teachers and Parents

    There’s something wrong happening in Newark. Superintendent Cami Anderson—one of Gov. Chris Christie’s hand-picked appointees—is trying to force a plan that’s opposed by the community and bad for Newark’s schools. And she has to violate the contract she negotiated and signed to do it.

    Anderson has already cut shady deals with charter operators and suspended administrators just for disagreeing with her. If she gets the waiver she’s seeking, she’ll have the authority to fire teachers and bring in untrained, low-cost replacements—and to close neighborhood schools. We don’t know what she’ll do, but it’s clear she’s up to something.

    Anderson needs to hear loud and clear that we expect her to work with parents and teachers, not break the contract and bully the community.

  • Support HR 3833 for APRNs

    Rep. McDermott (D-Wash.) has introduced a bill that would make it easier for nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and clinical nurse specialists to order durable medical equipment (DME), such as home blood sugar monitors and oxygen.

    Currently, some DME vendors require a physician to certify that a face-to-face patient encounter has taken place before filling DME orders, even though the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has delayed implementation of the law requiring physician documentation. Rep. McDermott’s bill would clear up the confusion and empower APRNs to get their patients the equipment they need.

    Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s H.R. 3833.

  • Great Governors support quality education

    This weekend, governors from across the nation will gather in Washington, D.C., for the National Governors Association’s annual winter meeting. Now is the perfect time to encourage your governor to reclaim the promise of public education on behalf of America’s youth. Tell your governor that America’s children deserve the same access to high-quality public education as students in other industrialized countries. 

  • Stand in Solidarity with UIC United Faculty!

    Our brothers and sisters at the University of Illinois at Chicago have voted to strike as part of their efforts to ensure their students get what all students deserve: reasonable class sizes, individualized instruction, support for cutting-edge research, and classrooms and labs that are safe and well-equipped. These are the rights of every student.

  • Urge the President to Increase Title I Funding

    The next round of budget battles begins in March, and we need to call on President Obama to request significant Title I funding in his upcoming budget proposal. Two of our allies, Reps. Marcia Fudge and Judy Chu, have written a letter that asks the president to increase Title I funding, and they are urging other members of Congress to join them. Ask your representative to sign the "Dear Colleague" letter being circulated by Reps. Fudge and Chu.

  • Give Newark a Voice!

    Superintendent Cami Anderson sought no community input on her One Newark plan – which would close and privatize neighborhood public schools. But right now, there’s a bill in the state Senate which would require Anderson and district officials throughout New Jersey to seek local approval before closing schools. Our community deserves a voice.

    Contact your state Senator and tell them to support S-966.

    Parents, teachers, students, support staff and community members are joining together to take back our schools and reclaim the promise of public education in Newark.

  • Stand Up to ALEC!

    The American Legislative Exchange Council’s education agenda puts profits before performance, and corporations before children.

    The ALEC agenda of privatization at any cost is wrong for students. ALEC invites corporations to shape public policy on education with devastating results for students and their communities. ALEC bills are replicated across the country to divert public resources into private hands, degrade curriculum and accountability, and weaken the voice of educators.  These ALEC bills pave the way for profiteers.

    Stand up and ask your state legislators to put our children’s future first. Send them a personalized message to stand up to ALEC.

  • Restore the Promise for 1.7 million

    You can help us take action now. Send a letter to Congress and tell them we can’t continue taking people’s benefits. We strengthen the economy when we pump money into it.

     

    The need to take action is clear. It is estimated that extending emergency unemployment benefits through 2014 will lead to 200,000 jobs and a modest increase in additional economic growth. While some contend that this move will lead to long-term dependence on government assistance, nothing could be further from the truth. This emergency unemployment insurance is temporary and, by design, will taper off as unemployment falls nationally.

     

    Another vote on unemployment insurance is likely this week. Tell your senator to do the right thing and vote to extend unemployment benefits.

  • Protecting Registered Nurses

    In a major step forward for APRNs, the Veterans Health Administration has proposed to allow its APRNs to practice without physician supervision, even in states that would otherwise require such supervision. The letter circulated by Reps. Grimm and Kirkpatrick opposes this proposal for APRN autonomy and calls for ARPNs to practice only as part of physician-led teams. 

    We urge you to protect the rights of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to meet their patients’ needs. One way to do this is by refusing to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter being circulated by U.S. Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.).

  • Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act

    Text

  • Share Your Story: Classroom Supplies

    With school budgets across the country being slashed, we know that many teachers have spent their own money to help maintain a creative and engaging learning environment in the classroom.

  • Take Action!

    Tell the Senate to begin the new year right by making its first order of business the restoration of emergency unemployment insurance for those who have just been cut off from assistance.

  • Take Action!

    DCPS is telling us there are two different errors in the way the District has calculated IMPACT scores: some teachers who got high scores weren't that good, and some teachers who received low scores weren't that bad. In other words, we now know that IMPACT's flaws are even worse than we feared.

    These miscalculations have created a significant problem for everyone in the community—teachers, students and parents—because IMPACT scores determine which teachers are retained, rewarded and even fired. Nearly 600 DCPS teachers have been fired in recent years, most because of IMPACT scores. And, this latest arithmetic mistake appears to have affected 1 out of 10 teachers whose evaluations include student test results.

    We cannot let this pattern continue. Write Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Mayor Vincent Gray and urge them to change the high-handed way DCPS operates and to involve teachers and parents in the decision-making process.

  • Make 2014 the Year of the American Worker

    As 2013 comes to a close, we look back and remember a year of trial and tribulation: a dysfunctional government that plays political games; an economy that is slowly strengthening but where many are still without full-time work; corporate greed putting profits over what’s right; and several tragedies at home and abroad.

    But through this past year, we’ve also seen a spark.

    We have seen communities come together to work on issues that seek to preserve fundamental rights for workers and economic dignity for all Americans. And through these new alliances and this increased support for our movement, we are already seeing great success.

  • Take Action for Safe Nurse Staffing

    Nurses and healthcare workers protect patient’s lives everyday, it is time Congress stood up and protected the rights of nurses.

    Write to your senators and representative and ask them to support H. R. 1907 and H. R. 1821-- two bills that would improve nurse staffing levels and protect patients and nurses alike.

  • Take Action for Safe Nurse Staffing

    Nurses and healthcare workers protect patient’s lives everyday, it is time Congress stood up and protected the rights of nurses.

    Write to your senators and representative and ask them to support H. R. 1907 and H. R. 1821-- two bills that would improve nurse staffing levels and protect patients and nurses alike.

  • How are budget cuts affecting you, your family or your community?

    If Congress doesn't get its act together, there will be more cuts come January.
     
    We need to show members of Congress the impact their antics have on the American people.

  • Education Starts with Pre-K

    The introduction of this historic early learning bill, which has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, provides an opportunity we can’t afford to miss. When we invest in early learning, we invest in our children, our economy and America’s future.

    The promise of public education starts early, with high-quality early education. Write your members of Congress using the form below.

  • Are we getting a fair deal?

    Our country is revving back up after the Republican shutdown, but we’re still under attack. Congress is going to try to come up with a budget deal by Dec. 13, and we need your help to make sure the deal is fair.

    Tell your members of Congress where you stand by sending them a message below.

  • Stand Up for U.N. Workers!

    The United Nations has chosen to restrict the negotiating rights of its own workers. You can speak out against this outrageous action by letting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon know that the United Nations has an obligation to treat its own employees with dignity and respect. The United Nations cannot be an effective and credible voice supporting human rights if it does not extend these same rights to its own workers. Sign the petition and send a message to Ban Ki-moon.

  • (No Title)

    To this day, Gov. Tom Corbett continues to hold hostage $45 million in federal funding that could restore nurses, guidance counselors and other essential school staff. The federal government gave that money to Philadelphia children with no strings attached. But because Philadelphia’s schools are run by the state, Gov. Corbett has decided to play politics instead of giving our children what they deserve.

  • Stop the Shutdown

    This political brinkmanship in which the House Republicans are engaging could keep the federal government shut down for an extended period of time—which would be disastrous for the country.

    Tell the House they can’t hold our economy hostage by forcing a government shut down.

  • Write Your Members of Congress!

    Current funding for the government ends on Sept. 30, and Congress must take action to prevent a government shutdown. As in the past, an extension of government spending called a continuing resolution must be passed to prevent a shutdown and give Congress time to come to an agreement on spending for the upcoming fiscal year.

    Conservative Republicans want to lock in the sequestration cuts that began this year, which are already affecting your schools and communities, and to defund the Affordable Care Act. Ask your members of Congress to reject locking in sequestration and derailing healthcare reform. Instead, they should  support a continuing resolution that sets spending levels at the pre-sequester amount. Doing so will provide time for Congress to work out a budget deal that ends sequestration.

  • Welcome back to school!

    If you’re part of a public school community, we want to know: How is the school year going for you so far? What excites you the most? What, if anything, has disappointed you? What do you envision or wish for the rest of the year?

  • Fully Fund Philly Schools

    Children are going back to schools that have been stripped of nurses, art, music, librarians, extracurricular activities and counselors. They are being forced into overcrowded classrooms without enough books or paper. They are being put in danger as they cross through unfamiliar and unsafe neighborhoods to get to new schools.

    Philadelphia’s children deserve better. But Gov. Corbett, Superintendent Hite, and unelected School Reform Commission members Bill Green, Farah Jimenez, Feather Houstoun, Wendell Prichett, and Sylvia Simms continue to push an agenda to starve our schools and hurt our kids.

    We must reclaim the promise of public education for Philadelphia's children. Send a message today.

  • Mayor Nutter: Fully Fund Philly Schools

    After closing 24 neighborhood schools and laying off more than 3,500 teachers and school support staff, Mayor Nutter has done the bare minimum to make sure the schools open on time. Mayor Nutter announced that he will be borrowing $50 million to open schools this year, but those funds are not enough. The doors may open to our students, but they will face overflowing classes with no arts, music or extracurricular activities, and their schools won’t have enough staff to provide them individual attention and support. Philadelphia children deserve better.

    We must reclaim the promise of public education in Philadelphia.

    Tell Mayor Nutter that all Philadelphia children deserve more. They deserve leadership that invests in their schools, their futures and their neighborhoods. Tell Mayor Nutter to fully fund Philadelphia schools now.

  • Reclaim Community Services

    Too many students come to school with needs that impede their ability to thrive academically. If we really want to close the achievement gap, we must supplement their regular coursework by addressing factors that are beyond the control of teachers and schools yet have a direct effect on student outcomes. Important factors such as healthcare, social services and parental involvement are too often divorced from school life, although they are critical to student success. These supports are even more crucial today, when a struggling economy is putting even greater pressures on families.

    Please urge the 113th Congress to support policies that encourage implementation of the community schools strategy.

  • Reclaim our Communities

    America’s duty is to provide safe and secure schools and communities for everyone. The tragic events in Tucson, Ariz., Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., and the countless acts of gun violence that occur every day in our communities, must serve as a clarion call to action. It’s time to act to keep our communities safe from violence and ensure Americans everywhere have the resources to keep their communities safe.

    Creating safe, vibrant communities and safe sanctuaries for our children to learn and grow will require a balanced approach. From measures to prevent gun violence to increased mental health services and investments in our schools, we all have a role to play in creating safe communities. Join the movement.

  • Reclaim Higher Education

    College students are graduating with record levels of debt, and the situation is about to get worse for students and families hoping that college is in their future.

    Unless Congress acts, interest rates on subsidized federal student loans could double.

    Preserving the American dream means keeping college affordable and accessible. However, there is a right way, and a wrong way, to pay for the cost of keeping the rates low.

  • Reclaim Common Core

    We have the ability to transform the very DNA of teaching and learning, to move away from rote memorization and endless test taking, and toward problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork—things I know we have been advocating for years. It’s kind of amazing that we have to call on states and districts to implement the Common Core State Standards before making the new assessments count. But that’s what we’re doing.

    Send a message to your state education commissioner: When states and districts get the alignment right—which will require moving from standards to curriculum to field testing to revising—success will follow. But, until then, a moratorium on the stakes is the only sensible course.

    Enter your zip-code below to be matched with your state education commissioner. Feel free to add your own personal stories to the letter before sending.

  • Reclaim the DREAM

    Each year, about 65,000 undocumented immigrant students graduate from high school; many of them have lived in the United States since they were young children. Among these students are class valedictorians, straight-A students, and idealistic young people committed to their families and to bettering their communities. Their goals include becoming tomorrow’s teachers, nurses, engineers, computer programmers and soldiers. However, many of these students are unable to pursue higher education because of enormous barriers not of their making.

    To create opportunities for these immigrant youth, we must pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The bill would create a pathway to legal status for qualified undocumented students who come to the United States before the age of 16 if they, in addition to meeting other requirements, complete at least two years of college or military service.

  • Amendments to ESEA
  • Why do Republicans in Congress Want to Abandon our Responsibility to Help Every Child Succeed?

    Republican leaders in Congress are pushing the so-called Student Success Act this week, which would starve our schools and our children of the resources and supports they need, does nothing to address the poor quality of standards and tests in our schools, and walks away from the expectation that all students be served well. This agenda is draining the joy from teaching and learning.

    This bill represents a historic abandonment of our commitment to leveling the playing field for disadvantaged children.  

    The promise of a high-quality public education is a promise we make to every child—that every child matters and that we have a collective responsibility to help all children dream their dreams and achieve them.
     
    The Student Success Act not only falls far short of this promise, the Republican agenda abandons this promise.

    Tell Congress: We need to reclaim the promise of public education, not abandon it.

  • Justice for Trayvon Martin

    While we believe in the rule of law and while the jury has spoken, the implications of the acquittal are profound. It is very disappointing that a racially profiled, unarmed African-American young man wearing a hoodie can be shot dead and there be no consequences for the perpetrator.

  • Tell your senators to confirm Tom Perez

    Our democracy is being stifled by a group of senators who put partisan politics over our needs. Every day, Americans pay the price while senators hold up the process, putting politics over people. During the last three years, a small number of senators have waged a campaign of obstruction resulting in the delay of hundreds of judicial and cabinet appointments. Because of an extreme political ideology, these senators are grinding progress to a halt and even attempting to prevent debate.

    Tom Perez, nominated to serve as secretary of labor, is also awaiting confirmation by the Senate. However, over the past year, obstruction in the Senate has become the norm.

  • Stand with Philadelphia

    The city of Philadelphia is in a state of crisis, and the children and community need immediate intervention to save their public schools and their future. Due to draconian budget cuts, the public schools of Philadelphia are being starved to the point where they can no longer function for the city's children. The closing of public schools in any city is a slippery slope, as we have seen across the country—from Chicago to Philadelphia. We must take back public education.

    Philadelphia’s public schools can still be saved. The governor’s rescue plan must provide adequate funds for Philadelphia schools without the political strings attached.

    Stand with us and tell Gov. Corbett, the Pennsylvania Legislature, and even the U.S. Department of Education that immediate action is needed to save Philadelphia public schools.

    Add your name to this letter that AFT President Randi Weingarten and Diane Ravitch sent to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calling for immediate action.

  • How did your senators vote on immigration reform?

    We are a nation enriched by immigrants, and Americans know that our strength has always been built on the fundamental idea that America is a place where many become one. The Senate today passed legislation that respects our values and history as a nation and will help bring 11 million aspiring Americans, students and families out of the shadows and provide them with a meaningful path toward citizenship. We applaud the senators who worked tirelessly to craft this legislation and ensure its final passage.

    See how your senators voted and send them a message.

  • Write your state education commissioner

    Secretary Arne Duncan announced that he will allow states to request additional time before using the outcome of new assessments based on the new Common Core State Standards.

    This announcement acknowledges that implementing the standards requires resources, aligned curriculum, time and professional development to support great instruction to help all kids succeed.

    It is now up to the state education chiefs to take advantage of the delay, and work actively with teachers and engage parents to ensure the rollout of the standards is successful. Tell your state education commissioners, the ball is in their court.

  • A bad deal for students

    With the deadline approaching, it is unlikely that Congress can come to an agreement that is better for student loan borrowers than rates doubling to 6.8 percent. Therefore, we must urge the Senate to adopt the Student Loan Affordability Act (S. 953), which creates a workable solution to keep student loan interest rates low until 2015 while Congress seeks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and reach a comprehensive solution that is good for students.

    Write your senators now.

  • Write your representative about ESEA

    Members of the House of Representatives are currently discussing what they call the Student Success Act—but that’s not what it is at all. If passed, this misnamed bill would undermine the purpose of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by dismantling 45 years of policy committed to ensuring disadvantaged children are provided a high-quality education.

    Make sure all students, regardless of where they’re from, have access to a high-quality public education. Write to your representative below.

  • Take action for community schools

    Too many students come to school with needs that impede their ability to thrive academically. If we really want to close the achievement gap, we must supplement their regular coursework by addressing factors that are beyond the control of teachers and schools yet have a direct effect on student outcomes. Important factors such as healthcare, social services and parental involvement are too often divorced from school life, although they are critical to student success. These supports are even more crucial today, when a struggling economy is putting even greater pressures on families.

    Please urge the 113th Congress to support policies that encourage implementation of the community schools strategy.

  • Common Core: Do What it Takes Before High Stakes

    We have the ability to transform the very DNA of teaching and learning, to move away from rote memorization and endless test taking, and toward problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork—things I know we have been advocating for years. It’s kind of amazing that we have to call on states and districts to implement the Common Core State Standards before making the new assessments count. But that’s what we’re doing.

    Send a message to your state education commissioner: When states and districts get the alignment right—which will require moving from standards to curriculum to field testing to revising—success will follow. But, until then, a moratorium on the stakes is the only sensible course.

    Enter your zip-code below to be matched with your state education commissioner. Feel free to add your own personal stories to the letter before sending.

  • Reclaim Safe Work Environments

    Gap Inc. is one of the world’s leading clothing retailers—its profits topped more than $300 million last quarter. Many Gap clothes are produced in Bangladesh where workers are paid little and work in life-threatening conditions. Gap refuses to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which compels the company to provide safe and hazard-free working conditions.

    Join AFT president Randi Weingarten in sending an urgent appeal to the Gap board of directors demanding that the company immediately sign the factory safety accord. Your letter will be sent directly to each of the 10 board members.  

  • Write your senators about No Child Left Behind

    The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will be reviewing the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013 (the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act). The bill is an improvement over existing law. Specifically, the transition language to allow two years for the new assessments to stabilize, and to allow teachers, states and school districts to focus on implementation of the Common Core State Standards before imposing consequences, is hugely important. However, there are additional concerns about the bill that your senators need to hear from you.

  • It’s time for a new No Child Left Behind Act

    Congress will soon begin the process of rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act. While this is the first step in a long process, it's important to make sure Congress knows what our concerns are upfront.

    Make your voice heard; tell your senators and representative what you want to see in a new No Child Left Behind law.

  • Tell Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fix, not close, Chicago’s public schools.

    The Chicago Teachers Union is holding a historic three-day march for education justice called “Our City. Our Schools. Our Voice.” The march is in response to the district’s plan to close 54 schools in Chicago—a reckless scheme that will hurt children and destabilize neighborhoods.

    The reckless policy of mass closings, mass firings, mass testing, mass privatization and mass budget cuts is destroying our public schools and hurting our children. These policies have failed to improve teaching and learning, and disregard what teachers, students and parents want for their schools.
     
    Stand with them. Tell Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fix, not close, Chicago's public schools.

  • Take Action for Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

    We have a historic opportunity to address and fix our nation’s immigration laws. The time has come for commonsense, comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform that lives up to our values as a nation of immigrants. Congress must respond to the need for action.

    Urge your senators to support fair and comprehensive immigration reform now.

  • Take Action for Safe Communities - Write Your Member!

    More than 155 representatives have signed on to co-sponsor the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013. Enter your zip-code below to make sure yours is one of them.

  • Common Core: Do What it Takes Before High Stakes

    We have the ability to transform the very DNA of teaching and learning, to move away from rote memorization and endless test taking, and toward problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork—things I know we have been advocating for years. It’s kind of amazing that we have to call on states and districts to implement the Common Core State Standards before making the new assessments count. But that’s what we’re doing.

    Send a message to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and your state education commissioner: When states and districts get the alignment right—which will require moving from standards to curriculum to field testing to revising—success will follow. But, until then, a moratorium on the stakes is the only sensible course.

    Enter your zip-code below to be matched with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and your state education commissioner. Feel free to add your own personal stories to the letter before sending.

  • Ask Congress to Support Nurse Staffing Standards

    Legislation is pending before Congress that would require the establishment of nurse-patient ratios to improve the quality of healthcare in our nation's hospitals. The Senate bill was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as S. 739, the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act, and companion legislation will be introduced in the House by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Act. The bills would require hospitals to implement staffing plans with specific nurse-patient ratios in certain units. The bills also would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a national acuity tool to establish nurse staffing requirements above minimum ratios. Both bills include provisions that authorize a nurse to refuse to accept an assignment if it would violate minimum ratios established under the legislation or if the nurse is not prepared by education, training or experience to fulfill the assignment without compromising the safety of any patient or jeopardizing the license of the nurse. Included is language that prohibits a hospital from: (1) taking specified actions against a nurse based on the nurse's refusal to accept an assignment for such a reason; or (2) discriminating against any patient, employee or other individual for good-faith complaints or grievances relating to the care, services or conditions of the hospital, or of any affiliated or related facilities.

  • Tell Congress to Support Marketplace Fairness

    Urge your senators and representative to support the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013—S. 336, co-sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and H.R. 684, co-sponsored in the House of Representatives by Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

    These bills require out-of-state sellers that sell their products over the Internet, by telephone, or through the mail to collect sales tax for the state where the purchaser resides. Since 45 states already require the collection of state taxes on out-of-state sales, these bills will simply fix a tax-avoidance problem and increase state tax receipts by more than $20 billon annually. The bill levels the playing field for local businesses and exempts small businesses with less than $1 million in out-of-state sales from the requirement to collect the tax.

  • Reclaim the Right to Education for all Girls

    The world well knows the story of young Pakistani Malala Yousafzi, targeted and shot by the Taliban, simply for wanting to go to school.  Now, more people are focusing on the important ideals that Malala and her father and her friends are fighting for -- that girls should be able to attend school as a human right, free of fear and intimidation.  Help end the attacks on young girls and their teachers who dare believe that girls have a right to quality education.  

  • How Did Your Senators Vote?

    Thank your senators who supported the Toomey-Manchin amendment on universal background checks yesterday, and express your disappointment in those who didn't.

  • Contact Congress!

    Urge your senators to vote YES on three important amendments to S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. These proposals will strengthen the capacity of S. 649 to adequately address the violence that faces many of our schools, students, educators and communities.

  • Write Your Senators!

    The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 supports criminal and mental health background checks, as well as security infrastructure in schools (lights, locks, security plans), and cracks down on gun trafficking. More still needs to be done—especially banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines—but this package is an important first step and deserves a vote.

  • All In for Citizenship

    Over the coming weeks, our elected officials will see heightened action on Capitol Hill around the issue of meaningful immigration reform. With the Senate expected to introduce an expansive bill in the next few days, and the House expected to follow suit, now is the time to join our brothers and sisters and make our voices heard.

    Make your voice heard. Write your senators today.

  • Safe Communities, Safe Schools

    The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 supports criminal and mental health background checks, security infrastructure in schools (lights, locks, security plans) and cracks down on gun trafficking. More still needs to be done—especially banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines—but this package is an important first step.

    Urge your senators to support the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 by sending them message below.

  • Write Your Senators!

    Write your senators in support of a budget that continues to grow our economy and makes smart investments in programs aimed at providing hardworking Americans a ladder to the middle class, while reducing the deficit in a fair and balanced way.

  • Share Your Story: What does college affordability mean for you?

    College students are graduating with record levels of debt, and the situation is about to get worse for students and families hoping that college is in their future.

    Unless Congress acts, interest rates on subsidized federal student loans could double.

    Preserving the American dream means keeping college affordable and accessible. However, there is a right way, and a wrong way, to pay for the cost of keeping the rates low.

  • Are You Feeling the Cuts Yet?

    Under the sequester, an estimated 750,000 jobs will be lost this year, and programs our communities depend on—education, healthcare, transportation and infrastructure—will see 5 to 8 percent cuts.

    Congress must protect vital programs working Americans need, and it’s all possible by closing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. 

  • Tell Mayor Nutter to fix, not close, Philadelphia’s public schools.

    Philadelphia has become ground zero in the debate over school closings versus investment in neighborhood public schools. Local teachers, parents and community members are standing together to demand a moratorium on harmful school closures.
     
    Stand with them. Tell Mayor Nutter to fix, not close, Philadelphia’s public schools.

  • Write Your Senators

    The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a series of commonsense proposals to reduce gun violence and make our nation safer. This is the first step toward making gun safety a reality, and we need all senators to support these bills.

  • The Time is Now

    Show your support for commonsense immigration reform by signing your name below.

  • Stand for safe schools and communities across America

    America’s duty is to provide safe and secure schools and communities for everyone. The tragic events in Tucson, Ariz., Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., and the countless acts of gun violence that occur every day in our communities, must serve as a clarion call to action. It’s time to act to keep our communities safe from violence and ensure Americans everywhere have the resources to keep their communities safe.

    Creating safe, vibrant communities and safe sanctuaries for our children to learn and grow will require a balanced approach. From measures to prevent gun violence to increased mental health services and investments in our schools, we all have a role to play in creating safe communities. Join the movement.

  • Urge Congress to Pass Reasonable Gun Violence-Prevention Legislation

    America's duty is to provide safe and secure public schools for every child, and the reasonable gun violence-prevention legislation introduced by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Diana DeGette will go a long way to make that a reality. Urge Congress to pass this legislation. Every parent, every educator and every child should feel that schools are safe, secure environments.

  • Learning is more than a test score

    I believe the growing fixation on high-stakes testing is damaging our public education system. It's time to make sure that teaching and learning—not testing—drive classroom instruction so that we can give all children the rich, meaningful public education they deserve.
     
    Appropriate assessments are an integral part of a high-quality education system. But an accountability system obsessed with measuring, which punishes teachers and schools, comes at a huge cost. Vital parts of the curriculum—arts, music and physical education, to name a few—are being shortchanged or abandoned because they are not subject to testing. Teachers have been forced to spend too much time on test preparation and data collection, at the expense of more engaging instruction. As a result, our students aren't getting the opportunities they need to learn how to think critically and creatively, which is essential to a 21st-century education.

  • Solution-Driven Unionism

    Throughout the country, individuals, AFT state and local affiliates and the national union are leading efforts to confront challenges Americans are facing today, and are seeing promising results. Our union is meeting this moment with a new vision of unionism: solution-driven unionism. It’s an approach that is relevant and appropriate to the 21st century. An approach that is creative and visionary. An approach that advances solutions that unite the people we represent and those we serve—our students, our families and our communities. We must bring people together around agendas that serve all kids, all workers and all communities—to restore the middle class, strengthen our public schools, and invest in, not destabilize, communities.

    Solution-driven unionism takes many forms. At its core it ensures that we don’t merely survive, but that we succeed. Our success also rests upon electing leaders who support this concept, which is based on collaboration as opposed to conflict and on problem-solving as opposed to finger-pointing. The tempest swirling around us has far from subsided, and the November elections can shape whether it continues to rage or gives way to a climate of seeking solutions for the common good.