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Reclaim the Promise


Public services and institutions that Americans rely on are under assault. Decades of top-down edicts, privatization schemes, and polarization and austerity measures have taken their toll. These attacks stand in the way of meeting our collective obligation to help all children succeed through public education, strengthening our communities and advancing the common good.

It’s time to reclaim the promise by fulfilling public education’s purpose as a propeller of our economy and an anchor of our democracy; by ensuring access to affordable and high-quality early childhood care and higher education; by creating a healthcare system that puts patient care and safety above profits; and by fighting for retirement security and high-quality public services that help ensure safe, healthy and vibrant communities.

Join us to reclaim the promise!


Our visions for reclaiming the promise:

  • High-quality public education for all children that nurtures a joy of teaching and learning. Read more
  • Access to early childhood care and education for all families, including the supports they need. Read more
  • Access to affordable and excellent higher education. Read more
  • The resources and staffing our hospitals and medical centers need to provide world-class patient care. Read more
  • Properly funded and dependable public services and programs that meet the needs of our communities. Read more
  • Safeguarding the retirement security for all working women and men. Read more

Related Resources


News and Press


Read how reclaiming the promise is resonating in our communities.

  • Find out three things that Randi Weingarten believes public education should focus on to help all children achieve their dreams in her most recent Huffington Post piece.
  • Check out this op-ed by Volusia Teachers Organization President Andrew Spar.
  • The Orange County Register covered the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers rally to raise awareness and call for changes to address students' mental health and academic needs, which you can read here.
  • Sharon Glickman, president of the Broward Teachers Union, writes about the National Day of Action and First Book in her community in this Miami Herald editorial.
Read more news and press.

Join the conversation


In a joint effort between the AFT and the Albert Shanker Institute, the Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education conversation series is designed to engender lively and informative conversations on important educational issues.

We deliberately invite speakers with diverse perspectives, including views other than those of the AFT and the Shanker Institute.

What is important is that these participants are committed to genuine engagement with each other.

Groups that are reclaiming the promise

  • On October 6th, over 100 groups showed their commitment to reclaiming the promise of public schools by signing on to "The Principles that Unite Us," which will bring together our educational and social justice work.
  • At the AFL-CIO Convention, unionists unanimously passed the Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education resolution. See union leaders speak passionately in this video about our collective obligation to ensuring the success of our children.
  • The UAW showed its commitment to Public Education by asking its members to join us and pledge to Reclaim the Promise.
  • Educational International launched "UNITE for Education—Better Quality Education for a Better World" to reclaim the promise of public education for all the world's children.
Day of Action video

Parents, teachers, students and community members across the U.S. held the largest coordinated action to reclaim the promise of public education.

Day of Action

Read highlights from some of the events around the country on Dec. 9 that brought together thousands of educators, parents, students and community members.

Take Action

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the Promise

Join educators, parents, students, civic leaders and community members to reclaim the promise of public education. more actions