Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.
This week, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), led by President Randi Weingarten, celebrates Public Schools Week. It is a time to recognize the students, teachers, staff and education community who make our public schools such a vital part of our nation. Public schools are always central to our communities, and while the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have been Herculean, our public schools have risen to the task. This year’s theme is “Creating Safe, Equitable and Engaging Public Schools.”
“This week and always,” Weingarten said, “AFT is proud to join educators, parents, community advocates, businesses and others in celebrating the schools that 91% of U.S. students attend. We celebrate not just the great things happening in our public schools, but [want] to remind our elected officials and others that our public schools can be transformational when they are well-resourced, recognized and respected for the important incubators they are. At their best, our public schools provide a ladder of opportunity; a place where young people develop the muscle of civic participation; and a safe and welcoming place where our diverse country forges a common identity. Public education is indeed foundational to our democracy.”
There is more work to do but we are public school proud. As Weingarten said, we must “promise to keep up the fight for the resources and support necessary so that every public school is one where parents want to send their kids, educators want to work, and students can truly thrive.”