Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AFT Pres. Randi's response to WTU member

AFT President Randi Weingarten responds to WTU member Candi Peterson's March 29 open letter:

Dear Candi:

Thank you for your open letter to me about the march to the U.S. Department of Education scheduled for April 10. There are extraordinary challenges facing teachers and students today. Our sisters and brothers throughout the American Federation of Teachers are meeting these challenges by doing everything in their power—inside and outside the classroom—to strengthen public education and to ensure that their students have access to the kind of education that opens doors throughout their lives.

Our members—and their local unions—choose many different ways to address the challenges facing our public schools. The AFT enables this exercise of freedom. Because we are a federation and a democratic institution, there is broad latitude at the local union level to make decisions about endorsement of and participation in various activities.

AFT local unions are free to promote, endorse and participate in such activities, just as they are free to exercise their judgment not to take part in certain events. That said, maximizing the effectiveness of these national events requires that we plan ahead to allow for the participation of as many teachers, parents and concerned stakeholders as possible. The most effective rallies for public education are planned months—not weeks—in advance, and scheduled to be held when educators and students are out of school. While as a national union we have not endorsed the April 10 march, we are engaged in a series of actions to help students and their educators in these tough times.

You have identified a number of the challenges facing teachers today, specifically here in Washington, D.C. I share your concerns, and I appreciate your dedication and activism. I am proud that you and so many concerned teachers and union members have spoken up about the rights and concerns of educators, and about the needs and hopes of our children. I expect that, as long as you and I have breath remaining in us, we will continue to do so.


Randi Weingarten , President
American Federation of Teachers

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