First lady Dr. Jill Biden to AFT members: ‘Thank you for being the heroes we needed’
Dr. Jill Biden and AFT President Randi Weingarten toured Payne Elementary School in Washington, D.C., on July 7, to get a firsthand look at how students and educators are benefiting from the American Rescue Plan. The first lady, an educator, had a chance to visit classrooms where teachers and students are enjoying a mix of authentic learning and summer fun. She also addressed TEACH attendees.
Anti-racist education benefits all of us
Ibram X. Kendi is one of the most recognized, most popular thought leaders in the anti-racist movement that has swept the nation over the last few years. On July 7, he joined the AFT’s TEACH conference to talk about how his work—from his bestselling, award-winning books to his teaching—intersects with educators and their work with students and their communities. Kendi engaged with AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram, AFT members and students to discuss everything from what it means to be an anti-racist to the duty of teachers to teach honest history.
Fighting for Racial Justice Video
“George Floyd was murdered within 260 steps of my home. And my home is in the neighborhood in which I teach. … My students were suffering; they were in pain, and so I went out, into it.” That’s how Minneapolis English teacher and U.S. Marine veteran Marcia Howard describes how her vocation infuses her fight for racial equity. Howard helped start a memorial at George Floyd Square and has since become the voice of her community’s demands for justice. This powerful video captures Howard’s mission, along with visits by a delegation of AFT leaders and staff to the square during and after the trial of Floyd’s convicted killer, former police officer Derek Chauvin. Says AFT Vice President Fedrick Ingram: “Our [AFT] Racial Justice Task Force has been doing this work for a long time, and we’re going to double down on this work. … It starts with the AFT. It starts with union work.”
Tools for a safe, welcoming classroom
During a year in which keeping kids’ attention—even keeping them in class—was harder than ever, teachers needed to focus more than ever on cultivating positive relationships with their students. Today’s workshop on creating safe and welcoming classrooms, led by Stacy Vocasek, a high school teacher and member of AFT Connecticut, brought together many of the social and emotional learning strategies AFT members used this past year to reach their students.
Tweet of the Day
- Fair Fight Founder Stacey Abrams, Harvard Professor Danielle Allen and AFT President Randi Weingarten on civic education at 3:30 p.m. ET
- Workshops on civic engagement, anti-racism, resilience and more throughout the day