AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Current Actions

  • We still need real action

    Millions of Americans are mobilizing around the upcoming elections to choose candidates to represent us who support commonsense steps to end gun violence, and you can help make sure this issue is on the forefront.

    Join us by asking the tough question: Where do they stand on measures that will keep our communities safe? Write your elected officials and ask for a clear understanding of how they will act on this issue.

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  • Fight back against the lies: Tell the story of your teaching life!

    Our due process rights are essential to our work as educators and professionals. By freeing us to speak up without fear of losing our life's work and livelihood, these rights make it possible for us to advocate for our students and their education. Due process makes sure that teachers become and remain teachers because of what we know and what we do with our students- rather than who we know and who we owe.

    Yet these essential rights are now under unprecedented attack.

    Missing from the national debate are the voices of classroom teachers. As schools open in the fall, teachers from across America will publish our stories about why die process is vital for our teaching and our advocacy on behalf of our students and our schools.

  • The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act

    We need your help in protecting the rights of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to meet their patients’ needs for immediate access to high-quality healthcare.

    Please ask your lawmakers to support the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (H.R.2504/S.1332). This bipartisan bill would allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants (PAs), nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists to order home healthcare services for their patients. These healthcare providers are key to delivering primary care in the U. S., especially since they are often the only primary care providers their many patients see.

  • Convention Householders Vote
  • Health and Economic Security in Retirement

    Today, about half of all Americans have less than $10,000 in savings, and only 14 percent are “very confident” they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement.

    A secure retirement is built on many different elements, including employer-sponsored pensions, personal savings, healthcare and Social Security. But as employer-provided pensions have slowly disappeared and saving money has become more and more difficult for families, many Americans have been forced to rely on Social Security as a major source of their retirement income.

    The Strengthening Social Security Act will help our communities by improving the solvency of the Social Security Trust Funds while improving the economic and retirement security of millions of Americans.

    Please urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor this important legislation.

  • Children in Poverty: Moving in the Wrong Direction

    Nearly 1 in 4 children in the United States live in poverty. The stark changes in many states between 2000 and 2012 illustrate the widening income gap, which reduces economic growth, jeopardizes socio-economic mobility, and increases demand for high-quality public services. This phenomenon affects all aspects of a person’s life and is a difficult cycle to break. Reclaiming the Promise is about fulfilling our collective obligation to ensure that every person has the opportunity to succeed and live a productive life.

  • Children in Poverty: Moving in the Wrong Direction

    Nearly 1 in 4 children in the United States live in poverty. The stark changes in many states between 2000 and 2012 illustrate the widening income gap, which reduces economic growth, jeopardizes socio-economic mobility, and increases demand for high-quality public services. This phenomenon affects all aspects of a person’s life and is a difficult cycle to break. Reclaiming the Promise is about fulfilling our collective obligation to ensure that every person has the opportunity to succeed and live a productive life.

  • Pass the DREAM Act

    Over a year ago, on June 27, 2013, the Senate passed a historic bipartisan immigration reform bill (S. 744) that modernizes our current broken immigration system. While far from perfect, S. 744 helps to ensure that DREAMers—innocent young people who were brought to this country by their parents through no fault of their own and who have worked hard and followed the rules—are given the opportunity to attend college. The bill also protects workers from exploitation and human trafficking, reforms our flawed visa system, ensures that unifying families remains a basic tenant to our immigration system, and ends the tragic separation of families by providing a real pathway to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans who contribute daily to strengthening the communities where they work and live. The time for commonsense immigration reform is now!

    Help us pass comprehensive immigration reform. Contact your members of Congress today and demand a vote on H.R. 15.

  • SMART Jobs Act

    Too many of America’s children go to school in overcrowded buildings with leaky roofs, faulty electrical systems and outdated technology, all of which compromise the ability of educators to help their students excel. The SMART Jobs Act will help our communities address these issues and increase the capacity of schools to prepare their students for postsecondary education and the 21st-century workforce.  

    Please urge your representative to vote for the SMART Jobs Act.

  • Family Values at Work

    Everyone gets sick, but not everyone has time to get better. Nearly 40 million people don’t have a single paid sick day. And, only 12 percent of workers in the United States have access to paid family leave through their employers. Unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides important job protections, but it is available to less than 50 percent of workers—and many can’t afford to take it. Our nation’s public policies are failing to meet the needs of workers and their families.

  • 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 your members of Congress to support policies that encourage implementation of the community schools strategy.

  • Take Action for Summer Meals

    For millions of low-income children, summer means losing access to the healthy school meals and snacks they receive during the school year. Thankfully, there are summer nutrition programs to fill this gap. However, there are a number of barriers for children to access these meals. In July 2013, for example, less than 3 million children received lunch from a summer nutrition program on an average day, reaching only one in seven of the low-income children who rely on school lunch during the school year. The Summer Meals Act of 2014 addresses these issues and enhances efforts both to expand the reach of summer nutrition programs to low-income children and to significantly simplify the administration of the programs for sponsors. 



    Urge your members of congress to support the Summer Meals Act.

  • Justice for Victims of Trafficking

    The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would provide unprecedented support to domestic victims of trafficking, who are too often invisible and underserved.

    The bill would:

    • create grants for state and local governments to develop comprehensive support programs for victims;
    • directly assist domestic victims of trafficking by finally allowing them access to the same services and support systems that have been previously available only to foreign victims of human trafficking in the United States;
    • increase the availability of restitution and witness assistance for victims; and
    • increase the maximum penalties for a number of human trafficking–related crimes.

    The AFT is committed to reclaiming the promise of safe, high-quality public schools from pre-K through 12th grade, and is wholly supportive of safe and welcoming communities for children and their families. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 300,000 U.S. children between the ages of 12 and 17 are at risk of being commercially sexually exploited. Targeting services to victims and creating stronger sentences for perpetrators will help to protect our students and strengthen our communities.

  • We need your help to pass the CARE Act

    Each day, millions of children around the world are being exploited, forced to work in hazardous conditions with low pay and even slavelike conditions, instead of attending school and building a strong foundation for the future.

    Loopholes in the Fair Labor Standards Act allow children to work in agriculture at younger ages, for longer hours and under more hazardous conditions than in other types of employment.

    Child farmworkers as young as 12 years old:

    • Often work 12 or more hours a day in scorching heat, bending over for hours as they pick fruits or vegetables;
    • Risk pesticide poisoning and have high rates of injury from knives and heavy equipment;
    • Suffer fatalities at five times the rate of other working youth; and
    • Have only a 55 percent chance of finishing high school.


    The fact that oppressive child labor occurs legally within the United States is unacceptable. Children, regardless of their socio-economic status, deserve a shot at fulfilling their potential by working hard in school and not in the fields. It’s time we end the double standard that allows children to work in agriculture.

    Support the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (also known as the CARE Act), H.R. 2342, to address the inequities and harsh conditions faced by children farmworkers, many of whom work before and after school to help support their families. The bill would update U.S. child labor laws to ensure that all working children are protected equally. 

    We need your help to pass the CARE Act! Please contact your members of Congress today to ask them to support the bill.

  • Bring Back Our Girls

    On April 14, hundreds of school girls, most between the ages of 16 and 18, were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Now there are reports that the girls are being sold into sexual slavery or forced “marriage.”

    Take action now: Nigerian authorities need to know that the world stands with the girls’ families in demanding their immediate release. Their rights—and the rights of all of Nigeria’s children—to an education and to be protected from violence must be safeguarded.



    The mothers of the abducted girls and their supporters have been marching on the nation’s capital, Abuja, demanding action. Your voice is needed!

  • Tell Pearson: Stop "Gagging" Teachers

    Principals and teachers who recently administered Pearson-developed Common Core-related tests in New York have asserted that they are barred from speaking about the test content and its implications for student success because of “gag orders” written into the testing contracts.

    These gag orders and the lack of transparency are fueling the growing distrust and backlash among parents, students and educators in the United States about whether the current testing protocols and testing fixation are in the best interests of children.

    When parents aren’t allowed to know what is on their children’s tests, and when educators have no voice in how assessments are created, and are forbidden from raising legitimate concerns about the assessments’ quality or from talking to parents about the these concerns, Pearson not only increases distrust of testing but also denies children the rich learning experience they deserve.

    Parents, students and teachers need assessments that accurately measure student performance through questions that are grade-appropriate and aligned with state standards—especially since standardized tests have increasingly life-altering consequences for students and teachers. By including gag orders in contracts, Pearson is silencing the very stakeholders the company needs to engage with. Poll after poll makes clear that parents overwhelmingly trust educators over all others to do what is best for their children—educators’ voices, concerns and input should be included in the creation and application of these assessments.

  • Pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act

    President Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. after signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Before the Supreme Court struck down key provisions, the Voting Rights Act was working. But, since the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby v. Holder, 15 states have already made it harder to vote. And the new laws disproportionately impact people of color, women and students.

    On June 25, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) to restore key protections for voters. Now we need the House of Representatives to act.

    Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is chair of the House Judicial Committee. He has the power to call hearings and move the VRAA forward in the House.

    Sign our petition to Rep. Goodlatte and ask him to use his authority to lead the fight and call hearings in the House Judiciary Committee.


  • Stand Up to ALEC!

    The American Legislative Exchange Council’s agenda puts profits before people, and corporate interests before the public good.

    The ALEC agenda of privatization at any cost is wrong for working families, students and teachers, health professionals, retirees and our communities. ALEC invites corporations and state politicians to shape public policy that:

    • Repeals the minimum wage and undermines workers’ voice;
    • Defunds public services;
    • Distorts curricula and undercuts our educators;
    • Limits access to public health programs; and
    • Wipes out public pension systems in favor of privatized plans.

    ALEC bills are replicated across the country to divert public resources to private hands, weakening the democratic process.

    Stand up and ask your state legislators to say no to this corporate agenda. Send them a personalized message to stand up to ALEC.

  • Can you lift 1.8 tons?

    Did you know that nurses lift an average of 1.8 tons during an average eight-hour shift? All that lifting takes a toll on the bodies of people who deliver patient care. In fact, health professionals have more work-related injuries than construction, manufacturing or transportation workers. 

    Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ H.R. 2480, the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2013. H.R. 2480 is designed to decrease the potential for injury to all who provide and receive care, while reducing work-related healthcare costs and improving the safety of patient care. This bill would direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard to reduce injuries to patients, nurses and all other healthcare workers by establishing a safe patient handling, mobility and injury prevention standard.

  • Take Action for Safe Nurse Staffing

    Decades of research have shown that having the right number and mix of nurses on each shift not only means a quicker recovery with fewer complications, it can literally save your or your loved one’s life. Nurse staffing is a factor in one of every four unexpected hospital deaths or injuries. Each additional surgical patient in a hospital staff nurse’s workload is associated with a 7 percent increase in the chance of a patient death. Patients are 30 percent more likely to die in hospitals that assign each nurse eight or more patients per shift than in hospitals with fewer patients per nurse.
     
    Protect yourself and your loved ones. Write to your senators and representatives and ask them to support both S. 2353/H.R. 1821 and S. 739/H.R. 1907—bills that would improve nurse staffing levels and protect patients and nurses alike.

  • 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!

  • Every Child Deserves a School Nurse

    In October 2013, a sixth-grader in Philadelphia died of an asthma attack. There was no nurse on duty at her school that day because of budget cuts. We need your help to ensure that all children have a school nurse when they need one. 

    Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s H.R. 1857, the Student-to-School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act.

    In an era when 25 percent of children and adolescents have chronic health conditions that could affect their ability to learn—conditions that require ongoing management and emergency interventions for students to remain in school and keep learning—school nurses are essential to students’ health, safety and ability to remain in the classroom. School nurses are often the only primary care providers children see on a regular basis.

    Ask your representative to support H.R. 1857, because every child deserves a school nurse.

  • Pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act

    Before the Supreme Court struck down key provisions, the Voting Rights Act was working. But, since the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby v. Holder, 15 states have already made it harder to vote. And the new laws disproportionately impact people of color, women and students.

    On June 25, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) to restore key protections for voters. Now we need the House of Representatives to act.

    Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is chair of the House Judicial Committee. He has the power to call hearings and move the VRAA forward in the House.

    Sign our petition to Rep. Goodlatte and ask him to use his authority to lead the fight and call hearings in the House Judiciary Committee.

    President Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. after signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965

    President Lyndon Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrate the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

  • Restore Voting Protections

    Before the Supreme Court struck down key provisions, the Voting Rights Act was working. But, since Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder, 15 states have already made it harder to vote. And the new laws disproportionately impact women, people of color and students.

    1.2 million eligible Black voters and 500,000 eligible Latino voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. People of color are more likely to be more effected by these laws since they are less likely to have photo ID than the general population.

    In states like Texas, ID laws will restrict women's access to the polls. Where laws require an exact match between the ID and the registration, women who have recently changed their last name may be turned away.

    In states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, New Hampshire and North Carolina it has grown increasing harder for students to register to vote. In some cases, campus addresses are no longer valid for voter registration. In others, restrictive ID requirements limit access to the polls. When we take away the right to vote for these communities, we silence the voices of millions of Americans. We can only win if both the Senate and the House push the Voting Rights Act Amendment.

    This Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing to discuss solutions that will repair and expand the Voting Rights Act. Now we need the House to take action.

    Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and has the power to move the Voting Rights Act Amendment forward through his committee.

    Sign our petition and tell Congressman Goodlatte we need his leadership. Ask him to hold hearings immediately on the Voting Rights Act Amendment, and protect Americans' right to vote.

  • A new social compact for American education

    On the sixtieth anniversary of Brown v. Board, the promise of that historic decision remains unfulfilled. Although No Child Left Behind (NCLB) shed an important spotlight on persistent inequality in Amer­ica’s schools, the test-driven accountability at the heart of NCLB, and now Race to the Top, has failed to improve student learning or to ensure equity.
     
    Our accountability system is broken, and its focus on testing and sanctions distorts and dam­ages the purposes of education. To prepare all students for life, citizenship, college and career we must change from a "test and punish" model to one that is designed to "support and improve" by focusing on three crucial areas: meaningful student learning, adequate resources and educators' professional capacity.
     
    Our new social compact for American education would be built on these principles of shared accountability:

    • We believe the purpose of accountabil­ity is to improve education.
    • We believe all students can learn and achieve, and accountability must focus on building the capacity of schools to actualize this potential in their students.
    • We believe accountability must focus on meaningful learning.
    • We believe accountability is built on a foundation of educational knowledge and professionalism.
    • We believe accountability decisions should be based on multiple and var­ied measures that are disaggregated by student status.
    • We believe accountability must involve students, families, educators and other school staff, and the community in decision-making.

    Read the complete statement of support for A New Social Compact for American Education

  • Don't Undermine Due Process

    Tell your legislators to stand up for teachers

    On Tuesday morning, teachers across California got up, went to their schools and dedicated their day to helping students learn and grow.

    While our sisters and brothers led their classrooms, a judge in a Los Angeles courtroom said that for students to win, teachers have to lose.

    You’ve probably seen news about Vergara v. California. Make no mistake--this ruling is not just a threat to public education, it's a threat to due process for all public employees.

    This ruling was an attack on teachers, and our unions. The judge’s brief makes it clear that he’s pushing Sacramento to change the laws that govern tenure, due process, and other protections our teachers rely on. It’s important that your representatives in Sacramento hear that we expect them to stand up for teachers and all public employees so we can serve our students and communities.

  • Stand with California Teachers

    Tell California teachers: We see your dedication, and we’re grateful for your service.

    On Tuesday morning, teachers across California got up, went to their schools and dedicated their day to helping students learn and grow.

    Thank California teachers for their dedication

    While teachers led their classrooms, a judge in a Los Angeles courtroom said that for students to win, teachers have to lose. Vergara v. California was a blow to public education everywhere, but especially demoralizing to hundreds of thousands of teachers who dedicate their lives to lifting up California's students.

    In this moment, it's important that we acknowledge the teachers in California’s classrooms. Our opponents have spent months—and millions of dollars—vilifying California teachers to push a political agenda.

    We're fighting back—in the media, on the ground, in the legislature and in the courts. But we also need to make sure California's teachers know we see them and appreciate their service.

    We want teachers to hear a better message. Join us and send a Thank You to California's dedicated teachers.

  • Students need the tools to succeed

    Every child has the right to a high-quality public education, regardless of his or her ZIP code. Many factors affect a child’s education, including socio-economic status and access to resources. But the opportunity gap should not lead to an achievement gap. Sen. Jack Reed is introducing the Core Opportunity Resources for Equity and Excellence (CORE) Act to address the key challenge to education success for all students: equal access to resources.

     Urge your senators to co-sponsor the CORE Act.

  • Tell Congress: Pizza is not a vegetable

    For far too many children, the only reliable meals they receive are the meals they get at school. And the impact of nutritious school meals reaches far beyond the cafeteria—reducing obesity, increasing attendance, and giving kids the fuel they need to stay focused and engaged in the classroom and lead active lives once the bell rings.

    But Republicans in Congress are bending to pressure from the School Nutrition Association—which represents groups like Coca-Cola Co. and Tyson Foods Inc.—to roll back those standards.

  • Allow Students to Refinance High Loan Rates

    Currently, more than 40 million Americans are saddled with student debt, amounting to a total of $1 trillion. Sen. Warren has introduced a bill, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow graduates to finally refinance their student loans, like any other loan. This bill would lower their interest rates and put money back into the economy.


  • Philadelphia Children Deserve Better

    Once again, a child in Philadelphia has been stolen from us much too soon—this time a 7-year-old from Jackson Elementary School. Once again, there was no school nurse on site.

    Five years ago at Jackson Elementary, there was a full-time school nurse. Today, the dedicated nurse who has served the Jackson community for 15 years only visits on Thursdays and every other Friday.

    And this isn't the first time this school year this has happened. The Philadelphia community lost Laporshia Massey, a 12-year-old who died from asthma complications that started at school.

    Children's lives are at stake. Demand Governor Corbett restore Philadelphia's funding and the school nurses that protect our children.

    The number of school nurses in Philadelphia has fallen from 289 to 179. Now, instead of focusing on the health needs of students at one school, nurses in Philadelphia’s public schools cover five or six schools, sometimes visiting each school only once every other week.

    We don’t know if a school nurse could have saved these children. But we do know every child deserves a full-time nurse in his or her school. We do know all parents deserve to know that their child will be safe and his or her most basic needs will be tended to at school. We do know that all Philadelphia children deserve better.

    Since Governor Corbett took office in 2011, school funding has been slashed by $1 billion, and he turned down Medicaid funding that could have helped many of Philadelphia’s children. Enough is enough. Send a letter demanding he restore full funding now.

  • Wall Street Profits or Student Opportunity?

    Wall Street is raking in about $44 billion in profits every year from higher education. Students are struggling with rising tuition and skyrocketing student loan debt. Colleges, communities and taxpayers are on the hook for interest payments on loans taken on by colleges. And for-profit institutions divert funds from education programs to shareholder profits.

    Want all the details? Download the full report here.

  • Reclaim the Promise of Brown v. Board

    Pledge to stand with us as we fight to reclaim the promise of Brown v. Board, the promise of a high-quality public education for all children.

    Sixty years ago, segregation was largely considered a southern problem. Today, it's a national problem

    When the Supreme Court took up Brown v. Board of Education and ruled unanimously that separate is not equal--and in the years since--the AFT fought for equal access for all of our childen. Today, we're fighting those who would roll back the progress we've made in the years since Brown.

    The divide between those with opportunity and those falling behind is no accident. It's driven by privatizers and austerity hawks who believe in a market-based system for public education--a system with winners and losers instead of equal opportunity for all.

    But across the country, we're standing shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand with students, parents, educators and communities to reclaim the promise made in Brown.

    In Chicago--home to the largest mass school closing in America's history--we're rallying to fight over-testing and hold politicians accountable.

    In Philadelphia--where the state slashed school funding and devastated the district--we're mobilizing to defend schools from privatization and to demand fair funding.

    In Newark--where Gov. Christie's hand-picked commissioner is shuttering neighborhood schools and turning them into privately-run charters--citizens just elected a new Mayor who's a strong advocate for public education over a candidate backed by Wall St. "reformers."

    It's been sixty years since Brown v. Board of Education. We've come a long way, closing achievement gaps and building paths to opportunity. But growing inequality threatens to undo those strides.

    Today, we must stand together to reclaim the promise of Brown for all our kids, no matter their ZIP code, their parents' income or the color of their skin.

  • Can you lift 1.8 tons?

    Did you know that nurses lift an average of 1.8 tons during an average eight-hour shift? All that lifting takes a toll on the bodies of people who deliver patient care. In fact, health professionals have more work-related injuries than construction, manufacturing or transportation workers. 

    Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ H.R. 2480, the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2013. H.R. 2480 is designed to decrease the potential for injury to all who provide and receive care, while reducing work-related healthcare costs and improving the safety of patient care. This bill would direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an occupational safety and health standard to reduce injuries to patients, nurses and all other healthcare workers by establishing a safe patient handling, mobility and injury prevention standard.

  • Every Child Deserves a School Nurse

    In October 2013, a sixth-grader in Philadelphia died of an asthma attack. There was no nurse on duty at her school that day because of budget cuts. We need your help to ensure that all children have a school nurse when they need one. 

    Please ask your members of Congress to support U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s H.R. 1857, the Student-to-School Nurse Ratio Improvement Act.

    In an era when 25 percent of children and adolescents have chronic health conditions that could affect their ability to learn—conditions that require ongoing management and emergency interventions for students to remain in school and keep learning—school nurses are essential to students’ health, safety and ability to remain in the classroom. School nurses are often the only primary care providers children see on a regular basis.

    Ask your representative to support H.R. 1857, because every child deserves a school nurse.

  • Teachers are more than an algorithm

    Value-added modeling (VAM) uses students’ performance on prior standardized tests to predict academic growth in the current year. In many places VAM doesn’t account for factors that have a big impact on students, like poverty and school funding; it only counts standardized tests.
     
    Leading researchers have questioned the use of VAM in high-stakes teacher evaluation, indicating that it can be an inaccurate and unstable measure of teacher performance when used on its own. This is coming from groups like the American Statistical Association, the Rand Corp. and the Economic Policy Institute. So why are districts, legislators and even the U.S. Department of Education still pushing it as a silver bullet for education?

  • It's time to Raise the Wage

     

    More than 27 million workers have been waiting four-plus years for Congress to raise the minimum wage. This country is supposed to be the land of opportunity. No one who works full time and plays by the rules should still struggle to pay for basic necessities. But in recent decades, corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie while workers’ wages have stagnated. 

    Sen. Tom Harkin has introduced the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, S. 1737, in the Senate, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over the course of 2½ years. 

    Tell the Senate to vote yes on S. 1737 and raise the minimum wage.

  • Let’s End the Testing Madness

    Reps. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have introduced the Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act, H.R. 4172. It reduces federally mandated tests and gives states the freedom to focus on learning and high-level thinking skills instead of test preparation.

    Urge Congress to pass H.R. 4172 and reduce the testing fixation that has diminished the joys of teaching and learning. This bill is a good start toward improving the way we educate our students today and preparing them for a better future tomorrow. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act

    In light of the potential danger posed by the recent chemical spill in West Virginia that endangered hundreds of thousands, it is vital that Congress pass legislation to implement safeguards so this never happens again. As a start, I urge you to support the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act introduced by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

  • 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!

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.