Press Release

AFT and Affiliates Take Center Stage at National Collaboration Conference

For Release: 

Monday, February 14, 2011


John See

DENVER—The American Federation of Teachers and its affiliates are playing leading roles at this week’s national conference in Denver highlighting a collaborative, problem-solving approach that has led to less finger-pointing between school administrators and union members, expedited progress in developing education reforms, and better results for students.

Teams from more than 150 school districts across the country are attending the conference. District teams, which applied to attend the conference, consist of superintendents, school board members, and teachers union leaders who have committed to work collaboratively to strengthen the labor-management relationship in their schools and communities.

“When collaboration trumps conflict, it helps create the conditions for teachers to teach and students to learn. School leaders and teachers unions, working as partners, have been able to develop strategies to transform struggling schools, revamp teacher evaluation systems to inform instruction and boost student achievement, and engage parents and the community in building stronger public schools,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Weingarten, a champion of district-union partnerships, joins U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other national education leaders on a panel Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 12:15 p.m. MST (2:15 p.m. EST) titled “Leading a Movement to Advance Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration.” Weingarten also will join Duncan and other leaders in a national press call on Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. MST (1 p.m. EST).

The AFT is a sponsor of the Denver conference and hosted its own, similar conference last year, bringing together teams from 35 school districts to share ideas about how to translate a collaborative approach into concrete improvements for schools and students. AFT affiliates highlighted at the conference are those in the ABC Unified (Calif.) School District; Baltimore; Douglas County, Colo.; Helena, Mont.; Hillsborough County, Fla.; New Haven, Conn.; Plattsburgh, N.Y.; and St. Francis, Minn.

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The AFT represents 1.7 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.