AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

HIGH-QUALITY EARLY EDUCATION FOR ALL

WHEREAS, every young child in the United States of America has a constitutional right to high-quality early childhood education and care beginning at birth; and

WHEREAS, the many immediate and long-term benefits of such education for children, their families and educational communities have long been proven and documented by years of scientific research and analysis; and

WHEREAS, those benefits include better higher-order thinking and attention skills, improved social skills, stronger oral literacy, reading, writing and math abilities, higher graduation rates and a smaller achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds; and

WHEREAS, despite their many benefits, early education and care programs are often significantly underfunded, lack needed resources and must rely on an undervalued workforce comprised mostly of women who are paid low wages; and

WHEREAS, the patchwork of funding also comes from the hard-earned dollars of working parents, or by the economic sacrifice from the lost wages of parents who make the decision to stay at home with their children; and

WHEREAS, the nation's public education system currently provides no comprehensive system reflecting best practices of what is known about child development and early learning:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers work vigorously to enact universal, voluntary and publicly financed high-quality early childhood education and care systems that begin to address children's needs from birth and seamlessly integrate into the public school system; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT work to ensure that such an early childhood education and care system be linked to community schools and other early childhood program providers where comprehensive social services and programs addressing special needs can be provided to young children and their families; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT work with legislators to secure new revenue streams to fund early childhood education systems and discourage any attempts to redirect existing K-12 and higher education funding; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT support and work to pass national and state legislation to recognize parents as the first teachers of children by establishing paid parental leave programs and rewarding early childhood systems with a parent education component; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT champion early childhood educators and providers seeking to organize and build a union and welcome this workforce into the AFT while working with higher education institutions to support a career path for them to attain associate and bachelor's degrees, ongoing, job-embedded training and professional development; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT take actions necessary to better welcome and connect its growing early childhood workforce membership to our membership in all sectors; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT continue these efforts until every child in the United States, regardless of race, creed, gender, family income, religion or ethnicity, has the opportunity to attend a high-quality childhood education program that is publicly financed and universally available at no cost to their families.


(2010)