Press Release

Parents, Students, Teachers Gather in Los Angeles, Unite Around Vision for Great Public Schools

For Release: 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Janet Bass

LOS ANGELES—More than 500 parents, students, teachers and community activists from across the nation will gather in Los Angeles this weekend to endorse a shared vision for great public schools and participate in workshops and discussions to make that vision a reality back in their communities.

The conference is about the work being done by community, labor and parent groups to advocate for what students, teachers and schools need and about the fight against the failed agenda of school closings, testing, austerity and market-based reforms that hurt kids.

Conference attendees and organizations will endorse "The Principles that Unite Us," a common vision for public education to ensure that all school districts are committed to providing all children with a high-quality public education. They were developed from ideas and proposals for strengthening public schools that were generated at town hall meetings held in several communities nationwide. More than 100 partners from parent, union and community groups are signatories to the principles.

Parents, teachers, students and community members will be launching a series of actions this fall to reclaim the promise of public education for all children. On Friday at 4 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, conference participants will join the Los Angeles immigration rights' rally—one of many taking place nationwide—at Pershing Square.

WHAT:          AFT Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference, in collaboration with the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign, the National Education Association, and Communities for Public Education Reform

WHEN:          Oct. 4-6, 2013

WHERE:        Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel and L.A. Hotel Downtown—Hyatt


Friday, Oct. 4 – L.A. Hotel Downtown—Hyatt
6:00–7:30 p.m.—Opening plenary session
AFT President Randi Weingarten; the Rev. William Barber, president, 
North Carolina NAACP; Esthefanie Solano, youth organizer, InnerCity 
Struggle, Los Angeles

Saturday, Oct. 5 - Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.—Plenary session
Speakers include Leigh Dingerson and Oona Chatterjee of the 
Annenberg Institute for School Reform; Andi Perez of Youth United 
for Change, Philadelphia; Arkansas state Sen. Joyce Elliott; and  
Joshua Pechthalt, president, California Federation of Teachers

10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.—Workshops/Skills Sessions

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.—Luncheon speakers
John H. Jackson, president and CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education; and Alberto Retana of Community Coalition, Los Angeles.

6:30 – 8:00 p.m.—Dinner and Youth Speak Out
Lorretta Johnson, AFT secretary-treasurer; youth leaders and organizers from the Alliance for Educational Justice

Sunday, Oct. 6 -  Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel
8 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.—Closing plenary
Jitu Brown of Journey for Justice Alliance and Rev. John Welch of 
Gamaliel African-American Leadership Commission

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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.