Reclaiming the Promise
School support workers share in the pursuit of a high-quality education for all.
PUBLIC EDUCATION is under assault. In many parts of the country, critics who know nothing about education have stepped in to “reform” it—not to make a difference but to make a buck. They try to make the bubble test the solution for every problem, they emphasize punishment instead of support, and they promote private school vouchers and charter schools that would produce only winners and losers.
The losers, of course, would be those very children the critics are claiming to help: the students supported by classroom paraprofessionals, nurtured by school secretaries, fed by food service workers, and guided by the wise and caring voices of support staff at every public school and college in America.
“Reformers” have made a lot of noise without making any progress in the kind of education our communities want for their children. And this noise, AFT President Randi Weingarten explained at the union’s national TEACH Conference in July, brings us to a “crucial moment when we must reclaim the promise of public education—not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as what public education can be to fulfill our collective obligation to help all children succeed.”