What Kids and Communities Need

Back-to-school time is a time for fresh starts: new teachers, new classrooms, maybe even a new school. It’s a time to reconnect with old friends and make a few new ones. This year, back-to-school season feels especially important.

The past few years have been tough on kids, parents and teachers. We have confronted enormous challenges, including the pandemic and culture wars aimed at undermining public schools. Teachers are burned out. Parents are overwhelmed. And many kids are anxious. But as the new school year begins, we remain hopeful and excited that we can turn this around by focusing on what kids and communities need. It starts with getting kids what they need to thrive and live meaningful and fulfilling lives. We are looking forward to working with school staff, parents, administrators and the entire school community to make sure kids feel safe and welcomed in their public schools and have access to the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. Instead of banning books and censoring curriculums, we will focus on providing a strong foundation in math, reading, science, critical thinking and practical life skills. We are renewing our commitment to be problem-solvers in finding solutions to staff shortages and school safety, in addressing student stress and trauma, and in fighting for school resources—all essential issues that must be tackled to make schools places where teachers want to teach, parents want to send their children, and students thrive.

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Every element of the What Kids and Communities Need campaign has us working together for the sake of our kids. When we work together, we bring hope into our schools and our communities. We bring the promise of a brighter future. Come join us. We need every one of you.


Randi Weingarten writes about the fresh start of the back to school season.

Read her blog

'What Kids & Communities Need' fact sheet outlines our goals and commitments.

Download and read

Read about the AFT's Reading Opens the World initiative, and how we have spread the joy of reading nationwide.

Learn more

A report from the AFT Teacher and School Staff Shortage Task Force on what we can do to retain the educators our students need.

Read the report

A delegation of AFT leaders toured German schools, and gleaned inspiration for strengthening career and technical education in the United States. 

Read the story

A selection of member stories that lift up programs that work to support kids and communities.

Read their stories