August 17, 2009
AFT's Eight-City Back-to-School Tour Begins Aug. 27
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten kicks off an eight-city back-to-school tour Aug. 27, with plans to visit a variety of public schools, applaud the work educators are doing, and talk with elected officials and community leaders about ways to work together to improve teaching and learning.
"The beginning of a new school year is always a time of anticipation for students and teachers. Each day presents new opportunities to learn and grow, but for too many, each day also presents challenges to be overcome," Weingarten said. "It takes both a commitment to working collaboratively and a real sense of shared responsibility to support the good work being done in our schools and to make needed improvements."
The "AFT Back-to-School Tour '09" includes visits to K-12 schools and colleges to see promising programs that can be replicated elsewhere. Weingarten also will hold forums with educators, community leaders, congressional members and other top federal, state and local officials about what she calls "the 4 C's," which she believes must be a focus of any successful education plan-children, community, collaboration and curriculum.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, along with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and other state and local education officials, will be joining Weingarten in St. Louis, the tour's first stop. She will be reiterating her call for elected and school officials to do school reform "with us, not to us" so that teachers are part of creating change rather than having it imposed upon them.
The tour starts in St. Louis Aug. 27 and continues in Houston (Aug. 28); Baltimore (Aug. 31); Portland, Ore. (Sept. 3); San Francisco (Sept. 4); Kenmore, N.Y. (Sept. 8); Boston (Sept. 9) and Philadelphia (Sept. 10).
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.