Press Release

AFT Celebrates 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

For Release:


Sarah Hager Mosby

WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus issued the following statement honoring the 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, a decision that ended the legal basis for discriminatory “separate but equal” schooling:

“Seventy years after Brown v. Board, we are still striving toward the promise of opportunity for every child, regardless of race. That requires—as this decision seven decades ago made clear—equity in education, to ensure the freedom to thrive, the freedom not simply to dream but to achieve those dreams. While we’ve made great strides, sadly Black and brown children are still disproportionately subjected to unequal treatment: They are taught in aging school buildings still laced with lead and mold and are subjected to harsher discipline, all while having their history censored from books in their often already depleted libraries. Book banning, culture wars, and vouchers that increase segregation and drain public dollars away from the public schools that 90 percent of children attend, not only cause but exacerbate these issues.

“Now, more than ever, the AFT affirms our belief in moving our values into action—doing difficult work to make our schools and communities better. In the 1950s, the AFT was the only education organization to file an amicus brief in Brown v. Board, and we expelled our segregated locals. Now we are doing even more. We’re fighting to diversify the educator workforce and replace the loss of Black educators that followed integration and some wrongheaded teacher-evaluation strategies like former D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s Impact programs. Through our AFT Innovation Fund, we’re supporting expansion of early childhood programs, strengthening career and technical education programs, expanding educator apprenticeship and training programs to directly address teacher shortages, and so much more. We’re helping educators eliminate unbearable student debt, giving away 10 million books to teachers and students who need them, and traveling the country to uplift community schools that provide real solutions to the unique problems of the students and families they serve. These are all major steps forward in reclaiming the promise of public education that Brown intended.”

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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.