Press Release

AFT Launches Six-Figure Back-to-School Ad Buy Highlighting What Kids and Communities Need

While Extremist Politicians Ban Books and Censor Curriculum, Teachers and School Staff Are Rolling up Their Sleeves to Help Kids Recover and Thrive

For Release:


Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers launched a major advertising campaign today highlighting how teachers are rejecting extremist politics and partnering with parents to find solutions to get kids and communities what they need.

The 1.7 million-member union will air a 30-second television spot on CNN and MSNBC, along with a companion radio ad depicting classroom educators doing what they do best: engaging their students, expanding students’ horizons, and helping them develop the practical skills and critical thinking they need to succeed in life. 

The two-week, half-million-dollar ad buy in the Washington, D.C., and New York City markets targets policymakers and influencers and is a major plank of the AFT’s ongoing What Kids and Communities Need campaign, an on-the-ground, back-to-basics initiative unveiled during the union’s July convention.

“The contrast couldn’t be starker, says AFT President Randi Weingarten. “While some politicians smear teachers and school staff to try to blame them for the effects of a pandemic and foment culture wars, educators are rolling up their sleeves to help kids recover and thrive.”

In multiple school districts across the country, Weingarten and AFT members are highlighting the promising programs and initiatives happening in America’s classrooms, showing why, despite an extremist-backed high-octane culture war, parents have continued to express confidence and trust in educators and public schools.

Educators are coming together to solve problems, painting a clear alternative to the politicization and destabilization being driven and amplified by avowed public school opponents.

“This campaign champions the educators and parents who are out there every day, while an unwanted, unpopular and increasingly unhinged culture war rages on around them,” adds Weingarten.

“If you ask most teachers and parents, they’ll tell you that they believe in our public schools and want to focus on what our kids and communities need. After all we’ve been through, those basics like reading, after-school clubs and mental health services have never been more important.

“That means giving out books, not banning them. It means talking about history and current events, not stifling discussion. It means bringing joy and discovery back into school, not politics and hate. There’s a lot at stake here, and teachers and school staff are doing what it takes to give students their best shot at success.”

The TV ad can be viewed here, and the streaming radio ad here.


ANNCR:  They’re on their way.

On a path to learn. Explore. Thrive.

It’s back to school, and this year teachers and parents are returning hope to the classroom.

And taking politics out.

Because our kids’ dreams are bigger than that.

Together, we can lower class size.

Teach critical thinking and new practical skills

And provide academic, social and emotional support for

every child.

We know what kids and communities need.

We are the American Federation of Teachers.

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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.