It feels like I say this every year, but it’s especially true this year. Every week — every day on the calendar — should be teacher, nurse and public employee appreciation week.

As we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week, May 2–8, Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3–7, and National Nurses Week, May 6–12, I often joke that this is AFT member appreciation week. But seriously, I want to stop and take a moment to reflect on the year we’ve had.

This year, you have saved us. You have kept your students engaged and fed. You have kept your patients as safe…


Every person in America deserves a voice and representation in our democracy; these are essential for a vibrant society and for Americans to thrive. That is why voting is a sacred right in America, one that advocates have fought fiercely to expand, over the life of our republic, to Black Americans, women and others who have been left out. But in the last election, anti-democracy forces worked overtime to limit voting rights: purging eligible people from voter rolls, limiting who could vote by mail, reducing ballot drop-off locations, and closing polling places so that many voters had to wait in…


On Saturday, the Senate passed their version of the American Rescue Plan that would provide urgently needed relief in the form of $1.9 billion to Americans families, businesses, students, and workers to recover from the pandemic. On a Party-line vote of 50–49 (Sen Sullivan of Alaska was called away for an emergency), Democrats carried this life and livelihood saving COVID aid & stimulus package over the line without a single Republican vote.

This bill is going to help people with:

  • $350 billion to state and local governments to help cash-strapped state, local and town operations. …

The grim toll of the coronavirus pandemic has many measures: Twenty-eight million infections and 500,000 lives lost. Eight million more people enduring poverty, many of them children. Family businesses shuttered, weddings without guests, and epidemics of depression and isolation. The shocking one-year decline in life expectancy in the first half of 2020 alone. It’s tempting to tick through “what-ifs.” What if the last administration’s response had been competent, not chaotic? What if officials had prioritized reopening schools over bars and gyms, and used the time schools were closed to prepare them to safely reopen? But we must shift from “what…


Karen Lewis was a force of nature. She embodied the values of public education and unionism and led fiercely, with courage, conviction, wit, humor, spice, smarts and love.

I am the one who is supposed to talk about her national impact, and I will. But I want to start with love.

Anyone who spent time with her knew she loved deeply. She loved John and he loved her. You saw it in how they looked at each other. She loved kids. …


Americans came out, in the middle of a pandemic, and voted in record numbers to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Despite this decisive result, the country is bitterly divided over social issues, race and gender. Fully 56 percent of Trump voters said they support him because he “stands up for America’s values, history and culture.” That is incomprehensible to those of us who both love America and fight to make it fairer and more just. But our divisions mask an important commonality: We all want to feel safe — economically, emotionally and physically. In the midst of overlapping crises…


Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump never miss an opportunity to blame others for their failures in leadership. That was clear recently during DeSantis’ visit to a Jacksonville-area charter school: As COVID-19 infection rates are rising again in Florida, he took a victory lap for his handling of the pandemic and schooling. He also used his visit to attack the unions that have been fighting to both educate our children and keep all of us safe.

Educators want nothing more than to be back in person in their classrooms with students. Well before the pandemic, as Florida had increased…


Even if you have grown numb to hearing that the 2020 presidential election is “the most important election of our lifetime” (and I believe it is), we can agree that this election will have life-changing consequences. Voters will choose between President Donald Trump, who has trafficked in chaos, fear, lies and division, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who seeks to reverse Trump’s failures on COVID-19 and the economy, and to unite and uplift the American people.

America is in the midst of four daunting crises — a pandemic, an economic crisis, racism and a climate emergency. And we could…


By Randi Weingarten and Leo Casey

The very foundation of American democracy lies in this: that the people choose who will govern them through free and fair elections. Every other important part of American democracy — the rule of law; the freedoms of expression, of conscience and of association; equality under the law; the ability to protest and demand a redress of our grievances; a free press and media; and an independent judiciary — ultimately rest on this bedrock. That is why “we the people” is central to representative democracy. …


“Back to school” has never looked like this. Classes in three-quarters of the 100 largest school districts are entirely online, even though more than 16 million students in the United States lack internet access. Parents are struggling to help their children learn and also do their own jobs, while some families with means are forming learning pods. People who used to laud virtual charter schools, even Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, now champion in-school instruction. President Donald Trump occasionally tweets “OPEN THE SCHOOLS!!!” But he has put less effort into helping schools get the funding and support to reopen safely than…

Randi Weingarten

American Federation of Teachers president, committed to improving schools, hospitals and public institutions for children, families and communities.

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