After the Chicago Board of Education approved a proposal from Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) to close 50 of the city's public schools, the Chicago Teachers Union vowed to take legal action to stop the closures and to challenge supporters of the mayor's plan with grassroots mobilization. The closures come despite widespread opposition to the plan and five days of rallies, sit-ins and other efforts.
The AFT has been a partner in helping revitalize McDowell County, W.Va., for more than a year now, and those efforts are paying major dividends for the local education system. On Wednesday, the West Virginia Board of Education unanimously approved a community schools plan for McDowell County Public Schools. In a separate vote, the state board also voted to return the county's schools to local control. The board had taken control of the schools in an attempt to save them from the poor conditions the county was experiencing.
Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, was arrested Thursday for blocking access to a school closure hearing in Philadelphia. AFT spokesman Marcus Mrowka told The Huffington Post that Weingarten was arrested with 18 other community activists for blocking the entrance to the meeting. Weingarten said afterward she knew her actions would lead to arrest, but it was a last-resort attempt to stop the Philadelphia School Reform Commission from closing some of the city's public schools, which she argues would detrimentally affect students, particularly African American and Latino students.
President Obama made the case in his State of the Union address last week for swift passage of comprehensive immigration reform. His powerful call for Congress to "get this done" brought members on both sides of the aisle to their feet and made it clear that, after decades of congressional inaction and presidential timidity, comprehensive immigration reform finally has a solid chance to pass.
AFT President Randi Weingarten expressed her support for the conclusion reached by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation study that calls for more effective evaluation of teachers. The Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) study shows teachers are the most crucial component of student success, and that current measures of teacher effectiveness fail to accurately recognize good teachers and show a pathway toward improving teacher and teaching quality.
Children who grow up in homes with books, research shows, have much higher reading scores and go farther in the education system than others. But many children can’t get books at home because their families just don’t have the money or have other problems. The AFT partners with First Book to help reduce the achievement gap between low-income and middle-class students. First Book has distributed more than 90 million new books to children across the United States, many of whom could not afford them.
AFT is part of an exciting public-private partnership to improve educational, social and economic support for McDowell County, W.Va.
In March 2012, the AFT helped lead a public-private partnership to help struggling McDowell County, W.Va., and the participants were hopeful that things could be turned around economically and educationally. A year later, the Reconnecting McDowell project has begun to show that investment in communities can change people's lives.
Just in time for yesterday's celebration of International Migrants Day, a federal court jury ruled on Monday that Universal Placement International of Los Angeles and its owner, Lourdes Navarro, must pay $4.5 million to 350 Filipino teachers who were forced into exploitative contracts. According to the AFT, the Filipino teachers were brought to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and taught in public schools under H-1B guest worker program. This became the first positive jury verdict in a federal labor trafficking case brought forth by workers (as opposed to the government) involving workers who are not domestic workers. It is a clear example that workers can fight back against corporate greed and that when allies join forces on behalf of working families, victories can be achieved.
Think about facing a classroom of kids every day and being expected to walk in the door with something new, fresh, compelling and challenging.
Creating the massive volume of quality instructional material required is among a veteran teacher’s greatest challenges. Needed resources are often hard to come by, expensive and it can be difficult to evaluate their effectiveness. So a group of teachers attempted to solve these problems by creating a valuable new online resource where educators can share their best lesson plans, Share My Lesson.
In a time of widespread calls for education "reform" that are little more than thinly veiled attempts at privatizing schools, the AFT has a new proposal that would actually help solve some of the problems American education faces. The AFT Teacher Preparation Task Force released a report, Raising the Bar—Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession, that recommends the equivalent of a "bar" exam for teachers, similar to the tests that lawyers have to pass before they can legally practice.