Press Release

AFT Launches Ad Buy Touting Real Solutions over Politics

Ads Highlight Public Schools that Spark Hope and Create Connections in the Face of Ongoing Attacks

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—The 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers launched a major ad blitz today highlighting the important work educators are doing in America’s public schools to help kids, which is in stark contrast to the toxic attacks by extremists trying to weaken and destroy public education.

The high-six figure buy is part of the AFT’s ongoing $5 million Real Solutions for Kids and Communities campaign to promote and expand real solutions to help America’s students succeed. The campaign focuses on the challenges students face today and helps create opportunities for tomorrow, starting with tackling learning loss and loneliness and making literacy and career pathways, as well as affordable college, national priorities.

The 30-second ad will run on cable outlets in Washington, D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia, as well as areas of southern Virginia near Norfolk—where the campaign stopped on Labor Day and was met with enthusiastic support for the solutions to help kids recover and thrive.

The ad reminds viewers that as extremists try to divide Americans, public schools unite us. It seeks to bring people together around the common goal of doing what’s best for America’s youth, 90 percent of whom attend public schools.

The Real Solutions for Kids and Communities campaign’s focus is to:

  • Create joyful and confident readers through evidence-based reading instruction and the AFT’s book giveaways.
  • Expand community schools to wrap services around kids and families.
  • Engage students in their learning with hands-on experiences.
  • Care for young people’s mental health and well-being.
  • Fight for investments public schools need.

It’s accompanied by a national monthlong sponsorship of the New York Times Magazine’s education issue, with podcast, digital and print advertisements detailing the vital role public schools play in our communities, and in preparing students for college, career and future opportunities in life.

The full campaign, launched over the summer, is bringing together parents, legislators, educators, medical professionals and other partners. It includes a nationwide back-to-school tour, lifting up already great programs for children in Florida, Oregon, Wisconsin and Minnesota; book giveaways; a special literacy issue of the AFT’s American Educator journal; parent and community roundtables; and several reports designed to inform parents, caregivers, administrators and teachers, including one on educator burnout and well-being and one calling for accountability for social media platforms to keep children safe.

The AFT is also funding 40 back-to-school grants totaling more than a half-million dollars, with funds going directly to local affiliates to strengthen public schools and meet critical needs of students and families—from preventing gun violence to supporting families facing food and housing insecurity. This work is part of the union’s commitment to making every school a place where parents want to send their kids, educators want to work and students can truly thrive.

AFT President Randi Weingarten noted the importance of these solutions as critical to helping students recover and succeed, especially given the latest public polling showing strong parent support for teachers and public schools. Weingarten said:

“Now more than ever, our students need solutions, not smears from extremists trying to inject their political agenda into our classrooms. As I travel the country and speak to educators and parents, it’s clear that we all want the same thing: for our kids to be OK. And most of us agree that the best way to do that isn’t through banning books, demonizing teachers or censoring curriculum, it’s by investing in our public schools and seeding, sustaining and scaling the strategies and programs we know work. So, while some try to divide us with attacks and insults designed to score political points, we’re here in our communities, working to build confident and passionate readers, investing in wraparound services for kids and families, and helping establish clear pathways to good jobs and affordable college.

“We do that by giving schools the resources they need to meet the emotional and academic needs of all kids, supporting the well-being of the teachers who help them, and reining in the companies profiting off kids’ distress. Those are the strategies to accelerate learning and put students on a path to success, both in school and in life—and that matters far more than winning a political argument.”

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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.