Vice President Joe Biden headlined a diverse group of leaders who spoke at the Career and Technical Education Workforce Development Summit yesterday, an event sponsored by the AFL-CIO and AFT. Biden was joined by Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and numerous labor, business and community leaders who spoke to a packed house.
Starting tomorrow in Los Angeles, teachers from all around the country will be arriving in Los Angeles for the AFT convention. AFT President Randi Weingarten will preside over a convention that will feature speakers like Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.); Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.); California Gov. Jerry Brown; Tom Torlakson, who is running for California superintendent of public instruction against an opponent funded by corporate "reformers"; the Rev. William Barber, the driving force behind North Carolina's Moral Mondays; and, most importantly, the teachers who work hard every day to educate the country's future generations. The convention runs through Monday morning.
At the U.S. News and World Report’s Debate Club, AFT President Randi Weingarten makes a very clear case for why all teachers need strong due-process protections, most notably to allow them the flexibility to innovate and discover new and exciting ways to reach their students. In sharp contrast to the arguments made by corporate-education proponents such as Michelle Rhee (who is also featured in the Debate Club), Weingarten highlights why due-process rights for teachers are beneficial to students and the communities they live in.
The AFL-CIO joins the global labor movement in denouncing the recent abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by extremists in Nigeria. This horrific crime reflects both the continuing use of gender-based violence as a tool of subjugation and political control and the ongoing exploitation of children in armed conflict. The AFL-CIO is very concerned by the ongoing attempts by extremist organizations to deny women and children their right to a good education.
Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day and people across the country are thanking their teachers on Twitter, using the hashtag #ThankATeacher. Here are some of the best tweets so far, including the picture (on the left) tweeted by NASA administrator Charles Bolden.
AFT and In the Public Interest launched a new website Thursday, Cashing in on Kids, to track charter schools and the private companies that often run them on a for-profit basis. The two groups argue that corporate-run charter schools are doing a bad job of serving students and that there is little accountability for these companies. In particular, the website will track K12 Inc., Academics, Imagine Schools, Charter Schools USA and White Hat Management.
Voters in key 2014 battleground states made it clear in a new poll conducted by Hart Research Associates that raising wages, higher living standards and fair treatment are among their top priorities, and they want political leaders to do more on these issues. Nearly 60% of the surveyed voters from Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are unhappy with their state's economy. More than 90% said they are only keeping even economically or falling behind. More than 70% say that raising wages would be good for their state, despite claims that raising wages would increase prices or cost jobs. Gubernatorial candidates who say they want to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour would be more likely to be voted for by 61% of the voters surveyed, compared to only 23% who would be less likely to vote for such a candidate.
"We're close to a tipping point with public education, especially in big cities." That's the message that Diane Ravitch brought to Washington, D.C., last week in a series of meetings and public events with AFT President Randi Weingarten on reclaiming the promise of public education. Ravitch, a former education official in the George H.W. Bush administration, has become a staunch critic of education policies that began under former President George W. Bush and have continued under President Barack Obama.
Not even a freezing rain could stop working families and progressive members of Congress from rallying yesterday against the irresponsible House Republican shutdown of the country. Hundreds rallied at the U.S. Capitol, calling on Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on legislation to open the government and raise the debt ceiling so government workers can resume doing their jobs and serve the American people.