AFT Resolution

SUPPORTING COLLECTIVE ACTION TO PROMOTE PUBLIC EDUCATION

WHEREAS, public schools are the center of communities across the nation, and every public school should be a place where families want to send their children, where students are engaged, where educators want to teach, where the curriculum is rich and inclusive, where there is joy in teaching and learning, and where all students will be prepared for college, career and citizenship; and

WHEREAS, public schools are the key opportunity agent for the nation’s children and cornerstone of our democracy; public schools educate 90 percent of our children, yet they face unprecedented attacks on their very existence from a president and secretary of education who seek to destabilize and defund public schools; and

WHEREAS, politicians have chosen drastic tax cuts for the wealthy rather than adequately investing in education and essential services, and anti-union corporate interest groups are spending over $400 million to advance court cases and malicious legislation to undermine public education, break the teachers unions and undermine the rights of workers; and

WHEREAS, educators are weary of budget cuts to schools, tired of inadequate pay and rising expenses, sick of being ignored or disparaged, and alarmed by the de-professionalization of teaching through diluted licensure requirements and certification programs that shortchange preparation, undermine teaching as a career, lead to massive attrition and hurt students; and

WHEREAS, educators should be respected as professionals who value each student they serve, knowledgeable of the content they teach, and trusted to use their judgment; and

WHEREAS, educators believe in the power of collective action to bring about positive change; know that the right to bargain collectively is at the heart of a thriving democracy and effective and efficient public services; and are exercising their right to stand together for the health and safety of their students, the success of their schools and the vibrancy of their communities; and

WHEREAS, there is broad public support for America’s teachers and schools, with 78 percent of the public supporting increased teacher pay and 80 percent supporting the teacher protests and walkouts taking place around the country; and

WHEREAS, despite any unfavorable court rulings, malicious legislation, and wrong-headed policies, we must hold fast to our ideal that the right to public education is the bedrock of our democracy; and

WHEREAS, educators and communities are standing up and fighting for public schools that promote children’s well-being, support powerful learning, build teacher and staff capacity, and foster cultures of collaboration, and have demonstrated their collective power through actions across the country, from Parkland, Fla., to West Virginia and beyond:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers and our affiliates will use the momentum from these actions, member mobilization, and national support for unions and public education to collectively fight back against the president and secretary of education’s agenda to dismantle public education; and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with the students, families and communities that are rising up to fight for fully funded public education systems where schools are safe, well-maintained, and meet the academic as well as the social and emotional needs of all students; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will fight for our members’ economic well-being and against those in power who seek to weaken public services and our communities; confront the existence of prejudice (based on race, gender, religion, social class, sexual orientation and other institutional biases) in our institutions; and will advocate tirelessly for an equitable public education system that is strong and supported, not privatized or defunded; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and our affiliates will fight attacks on our members’ professionalism and advocate for:

  • Professional autonomy in their classrooms;
  • Authority and voice in their profession;
  • Salaries and benefits on par with other professions;
  • Opportunities for leadership within the profession;
  • Rigorous preparation and licensure; and
  • Ongoing, teacher-led professional learning opportunities; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and our affiliates will inform and mobilize our communities for educational and social justice, and will uplift candidates in state and local races who support public education and educators’ rights to collectively bargain, as well as initiatives, whether by ballot, legislation, or other local measures, to ensure the country has the educated citizenry on which its future depends.

(2018)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.