AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

FIGHTING FOR THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION —FOR OUR CHILDREN, OUR COMMUNITIES AND OUR FUTURE

WHEREAS, a strong public education system is essential to the individual and collective well-being of our country and its people, and to the development of an informed and engaged citizenry, without which no democracy can exist and flourish; and

WHEREAS, the guarantee of access to a free and quality public education should be a right accorded to every child in this country; and

WHEREAS, securing that guarantee should be a goal and a value that unites all Americans and is supported by our public policies and policy makers at every level; and

WHEREAS, we believe that at this time in the history of our country, all those who support public education—who believe in its centrality to our national vitality and are committed to strengthening this institution so every child, in every corner of the country, has access to a great education—should come together to affirm this commitment; and

WHEREAS, a public education system in all its component parts—pre-K, K-12 and higher education—can be strong, vital and productive only with the broad support, commitment and participation of all sectors of our communities; and

WHEREAS, those who have dedicated their careers and lives to providing a public education to our children should be recognized for their contributions, supported and included in our efforts to continuously improve our education system and to ensure that the students in every public school have equal opportunity and access to highly qualified teachers, staff and instructional resources; and

WHEREAS, the complex and considerable challenges facing public education require a public school environment that fosters thoughtful solutions, shared responsibility, consideration of proven strategies and programs and public education policies that help ensure access to the excellent education every child deserves; and

WHEREAS, for the past several years, we have been living through the most severe recession since the Great Depression, which has affected public education, not just through cuts to core programs, but through job losses that destabilize our students' families, cuts to other critical services that the communities we serve depend on, and stress that pulls at the social fabric that unites us; and

WHEREAS, our shared pain, rather than divide us, must instead become the impetus for our shared efforts to force a national commitment to programs and polices designed to invest, not disinvest, in public education and other vital public services; to save and create jobs; to deal fairly and sensibly with immigrant rights; and to make us good stewards of our environment; and

WHEREAS, exclusionary approaches, simplistic slogans and punitive strategies distract from that important work, divide our communities and undermine public education, which is the institution that has the potential and purpose of creating equal opportunities for all our children; and

WHEREAS, it is incumbent upon all of us to stand against shortsighted arguments that focus on affixing blame rather than finding solutions to the problems that confront us; and to stand up for the students and young adults we educate, the sick we care for and the communities we provide other critical services to; and

WHEREAS, while the members of the AFT appreciate the benefits our collective efforts have provided, we know that we and our union cannot be islands of privilege; that we, our families and the people we serve are touched by the vagaries of an unstable economy and an unstable world; and that we can bring positive change only by working with others:

RESOLVED, that beginning Sept. 6, 2010, the American Federation of Teachers and its affiliates, in coalition with individuals and organizations that share our union's commitment to public education, will inaugurate a year-long campaign of action for public education known as "RAISE YOUR HAND," a campaign designed to make us all advocates and activists for the tools, resources, support and shared responsibility needed to ensure a quality public education for all our children; and

RESOLVED, that as part of that campaign, and as part of our larger commitment to standing with allies seeking solutions to the challenges confronting our communities, on Oct. 2, 2010, the AFT will join with a broad range of civil rights, labor, faith, youth, immigrant rights and other progressive groups in the ONE NATION MARCH on Washington, D.C., to give voice to our frustrations, to put faces on the jobless, to stand up for main street, and to fight for public education; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will act—not just one day or one week but every day—to mobilize support for the programs and policies critical to building strong and vibrant communities throughout America.


(2010)