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Resolutions & Amendments

39th International Convention - Boston, MA (2010)

School Improvement Grants, Race to the Top and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Resolution No. 66
39th International Convention
Boston Covention & Exhibition Center
June 28 - July 2, 2010
Boston, MA


AFSCME represents over 150,000 members who work in our nation’s public schools, and for them, as well as for all 1.6 million AFSCME members, the education of our children is a top priority; and

The Obama administration has increased federal funding to schools through School Improvement Grants, Race to the Top and its blueprint for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, also called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; and

In order to get funding, the U.S. Department of Education is requiring states and local school districts to implement unproven, ideologically-driven reforms favored by influential private foundations who believe that the best way to improve education is to close schools, convert struggling public schools to charter schools or remove school personnel, both instructional and non-instructional, while leaving privatized contractors untouched, and that the need for reforms should be based solely on test scores, which are a completely inadequate measure of success; and

These programs represent a major shift in education policy. Federal education funding has historically been distributed by formula, based on need. These programs distribute funding through grants based on competition in which those schools that adopt preferred models win and the others lose at a time when schools are facing historic budget problems. Estimates are that as many as 300,000 school personnel may be laid off in the next school year; and

Collective bargaining agreements are being ignored to implement School Improvement Grant reforms, and states are changing laws in hopes of being awarded Race to the Top funds; and
Other models of school improvement that treat staff as assets to be engaged, rather than problems to be eliminated, and that recognize that problems in struggling schools cannot be solved by the school alone, have a track record of success.

That AFSCME and its affiliates will engage decision-makers at all levels in order to reverse these harmful policies. We will work with Congress to redirect funding based on need rather than conformance to the Department of Education’s ideologically-driven models of reform. We will work in state legislatures to ensure that harmful reforms are not enacted into state law. We will work with local school boards and administrators, and with students, parents and communities, to adopt sound reform models and to ensure that our collective bargaining agreements are respected; and

That this is a fight on behalf of the over 150,000 AFSCME members who work in our public schools, but it is also a fight for every AFSCME member and for our children. Nothing less than the future of public education is at stake.