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Day of Action: "Reclaiming the Promise" of Public Education

PHOTO: The wardrobes of Washington teachers and education support workers will include more blue today (Mon.) as a show of support for "Reclaim the Promise of Public Education." Courtesy AFT.
PHOTO: The wardrobes of Washington teachers and education support workers will include more blue today (Mon.) as a show of support for "Reclaim the Promise of Public Education." Courtesy AFT.
December 9, 2013

SEATTLE - Today is a National Day of Action for teachers' unions and community groups, called "Reclaim the Promise of Public Education." The premise is that students from different ethnic and income backgrounds will not have equal opportunities to learn as long as public school funding, staff and subjects continue to be cut.

In some states, they're painting it as a day of frustration with critics of the public education system. However, in Washington, it is expected to have a more positive tone. The campaign comes with a list of more than 100 priorities for improving schools.

Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington, said it is a way to bring community groups, parents and unions together, to reinforce the "public's" role in public schools.

"We're being more focused on solutions," Strickland said. "It's one thing to identify the problems that exist. But we want to take it to the next level and develop the solutions."

Called "The Principles that Unite Us," the priorities include lowering college tuition, working to keep neighborhood schools open, bringing back subjects like art and PE that have been cut in some places due to budget shortfalls, and focusing on teaching instead of standardized testing.

Strickland said "Reclaim the Promise" includes recommendations from early childhood education through college. The Day of Action kicks off a growing national movement, she added.

"The real work is going to span the next several years. When we're doing our legislative agenda, for example, we will think in terms of what kind of legislative changes are going to support the Promise. If we fulfill the Promise, then we're all going to benefit, individually and as a whole," she explained.

Some educators and school staff members are wearing blue today, to show their support for the campaign.
Information about the campaign is at www.reclaimpublicednow.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA