Press Release

AFT Back-to-School Tour ’09 Kicks Off School Year at Three Baltimore Schools

For Release: 

Monday, August 31, 2009


John See

AFT Back-to-School Tour ’09 Kicks Off School Year at Three Baltimore Schools

Elected, Community and Union Leaders Join AFT President Randi Weingarten for School Visits

BALTIMORE—The American Federation of Teachers Back-to-School Tour ’09 today arrived in Baltimore, where student achievement has risen substantially in recent years, as Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Mayor Sheila Dixon joined AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Executive Vice President Lorretta Johnson to celebrate the first day of classes at three schools.

“The AFT tour came to Baltimore because of the terrific success this city has had in improving student achievement,” said Weingarten at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at newly renovated Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. “When we tap the experience and expertise of teachers and school staff—when school reform is done with us, not to us—there is no limit to how high our students will soar or how much they can achieve.”

Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English introduced Weingarten and welcomed students, teachers and staff back to Dunbar for the start of the new school year.

Later in the day, the union leaders visited Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary/Middle Charter School 25. The Baltimore Teachers Union has pledged to support the staff and students at the struggling school. The AFT tour also stopped at Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School 250, where Weingarten met with faculty and staff, and read to first-grade students.

The AFT tour, which kicked off in St. Louis and included an earlier stop in Houston before coming to Baltimore, will continue in Portland, Ore. (Sept. 3); San Francisco (Sept. 4); Kenmore, N.Y. (Sept. 8); Boston (Sept. 9); and Philadelphia (Sept. 10).

To read stories, view photos and watch videos from today’s event in Baltimore and other tour stops, go to

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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.