WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers’ mid-July convention in Los Angeles will focus on fighting back and fighting forward on key domestic issues to reclaim the promise of America, including the Common Core State Standards, due process and tenure for educators, and investing public pension dollars for much-needed infrastructure projects.
The convention will take place July 11-14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
On July 10, the AFT will host a major community event at All Peoples Community Center in East Los Angeles, focusing on literacy, anti-hunger and health. In partnership with First Book, 10,000 free, new books will be distributed to disadvantaged children and their families, along with bags of groceries. Another set of 5,000 books will be delivered to the Los Angeles Food Bank, while hundreds of books also will be distributed at several other sites around East Los Angeles.
AFT conventions are policymaking events, with the more than 3,500 delegates discussing and voting on numerous resolutions, such as ensuring accountability for equity and excellence in public education; delinking the implementation of the Common Core standards from the consequences of high-stakes assessments; maintaining due process and tenure; creating a healthcare system that puts patient care above profits; and ending the reliance on a contingent academic labor system in higher education.
AFT President Randi Weingarten will give the keynote address on July 11, which will include some exciting announcements.
Delegates will hear from various lawmakers, policymakers and political candidates, including California Gov. Jerry Brown; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.); U.S. Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.); and Tom Torlakson (California’s superintendent of public instruction). Appearing by video will be first lady Michelle Obama; Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate; and Mary Burke, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Former President Bill Clinton will appear by video to discuss the AFT’s work with the Clinton Global Initiative on the investment of public pension dollars for infrastructure projects.
In other notable sessions, delegates will hear from community members who have been deeply involved with local AFT affiliates on various issues and campaigns, including actress Cynthia Nixon and her wife, Christine Marinoni, from New York City, parent Helen Gym from Philadelphia, and student Asean Johnson and activist Jitu Brown from Chicago.
The AFT will live stream all general session speakers.
Reporters who will be covering the convention should contact Laura Pometto for hotel and credentialing information.
Highlights of the AFT 2014 convention:
Thursday, July 10 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.—Distribution of First Book books, groceries
All Peoples Community Center, 822 E. 20th St., Los Angeles
Friday, July 11 9:30 a.m.—Opening session
California Gov. Jerry Brown, greetings
AFT President Randi Weingarten, keynote address 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
—Press availability with President Weingarten
Saturday, July 12 9:30 a.m.—General session
Speakers include Rep. Mark Takano, Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Mississippi Freedom Summer activist Mark Levy, Chicago student Asean Johnson, New York activist Zakiyah Ansari and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
2:30 p.m.—General session
Speakers include Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni.
Sunday, July 13 10 a.m.—General session
Debate and vote on Common Core State Standards resolution and accountability resolution.
Discussion of Share My Lesson online lesson plans and First Book initiatives.
Announcement of winners of the AFT’s Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism and Innovation Fund grants.
Speaker: Rep. Michael Honda.
Monday, July 14 9 a.m.—General session
Officers’ election results announced.