Public education, healthcare and public services are the gateway to social and economic justice, the anchors of democracy and the promise of our country. Yet, some want to undermine the very institutions that are the heartbeat of our society. They want to starve public schools, decimate public services, repeal the Affordable Care Act—all while peddling private alternatives and demonizing workers.
They know people are frustrated and angry with the inequities that persist in our society. But while they are using that anger and frustration to divide, we're using it to mobilize our communities. We're using it to drive home the fact that everyone deserves a great public education—from pre-K through college. Everyone deserves affordable healthcare. Everyone deserves high-quality public services.
We are coming together to change the conversation and ultimately reclaim the promise of America.
Our visions for reclaiming the promise:
- High-quality public education for all children that nurtures a joy of teaching and learning. Read more
- Access to early childhood care and education for all families, including the supports they need. Read more
- Access to affordable and excellent higher education. Read more
- The resources and staffing our hospitals and medical centers need to provide world-class patient care. Read more
- Properly funded and dependable public services and programs that meet the needs of our communities. Read more
- Safeguarding the retirement security for all working women and men. Read more
- U.S. Education: A Global Perspective. Background on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, due out Dec. 3.
- Download a Reclaiming the Promise of public education flier in English and Spanish.
- National survey of parents shows overwhelming support for the vision of reclaiming the promise of public education.
- AFT report on the high cost of testing shows how kids are losing out on receiving a full, high-quality education because of pervasive test preparation and testing.
- The AFT executive council unanimously passed the Reclaiming the Promise for Public Education resolution.
News and Press
Read how reclaiming the promise is resonating in our communities.
- Find out three things that Randi Weingarten believes public education should focus on to help all children achieve their dreams in her most recent Huffington Post piece.
- Check out this op-ed by Volusia Teachers Organization President Andrew Spar.
- The Orange County Register covered the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers rally to raise awareness and call for changes to address students' mental health and academic needs, which you can read here.
- Sharon Glickman, president of the Broward Teachers Union, writes about the National Day of Action and First Book in her community in this Miami Herald editorial.
- Overview of attacks, our vision and solutions to reclaim the promise of public education
Short version (2 min.) | Long version (5 min.)
- At the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Randi Weingarten and Chicago student Asean Johnson call on us all to reclaim the promise
- AFT President Randi Weingarten's "Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education" speech at the 2013 AFT TEACH Conference
Join the conversation
In a joint effort between the AFT and the Albert Shanker Institute, the Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education conversation series is designed to engender lively and informative conversations on important educational issues.
We deliberately invite speakers with diverse perspectives, including views other than those of the AFT and the Shanker Institute.
What is important is that these participants are committed to genuine engagement with each other.
- View the recorded webcast from the June 11 conversation, "Educational Justice and the Integration of American Schools."
- Join the next conversation,"A New Social Compact for American Education: Fixing Our Broken Accountability System" on September 10 from noon to 2 p.m. EST. Details and registration information.
Groups that are reclaiming the promise
- On October 6th, over 100 groups showed their commitment to reclaiming the promise of public schools by signing on to "The Principles that Unite Us," which will bring together our educational and social justice work.
- At the AFL-CIO Convention, unionists unanimously passed the Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education resolution. See union leaders speak passionately in this video about our collective obligation to ensuring the success of our children.
- The UAW showed its commitment to Public Education by asking its members to join us and pledge to Reclaim the Promise.
- Educational International launched "UNITE for Education—Better Quality Education for a Better World" to reclaim the promise of public education for all the world's children.
Reclaiming the Promise
The events in May mark an important movement taking hold in neighborhoods across the country. Despite the challenges posed by childhood poverty, budget cuts, larger class sizes, excessive standardized testing and privatization of healthcare and public services, we are fighting back to restore equity, change the conversation and reclaim the promise of America.