WASHINGTON, D.C. — This weekend, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) will convene for a summer TEACH conference. The union, led by school-closing political operative Randi Weingarten, uses this meeting to provide professional development for teachers that continues to prioritize a woke agenda rather than focus on academic instruction and students’ needs.

The AFT’s conference prioritizes ideology over academics with teaching training sessions entitled “Strategies for Integrating Climate Change into Your Teaching,” “Cultural Appropriation: Yikes! I Didn’t Realize,” and “LGBTQIA+ Identities in and out of the Classroom.” Students will pay the price if unions continue to control the K-12 systems and implement their radical agenda.

“The nation’s teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA), are highly-political and extremely well-funded organizations that hurt students, parents, and the public education system. Unions prioritize the needs of adults over children and aggressively protect even the worst teachers, including teachers who sexually abuse students,” said Ginny Gentles, director of the Education Freedom Center (EFC) at IWF and host of the Students Over Systems podcast.

Gentles added, “Independent Women’s Forum is exposing the teachers unions’ REAL priorities in order to ensure that policymakers and parents fully understand the harm caused by unions. Parents deserve to know that the union dues paid by their beloved classroom teachers are used to elect politicians who will pledge allegiance to the unions’ radical agenda. Policymakers must recognize that the unions are driving student test scores down even further by bringing radical activists’ priorities into classrooms through contract negotiations and professional development.”

The AFT meets every other summer to vote on resolutions that establish the union’s political and collective bargaining agenda. At last year’s convention, AFT voted on a range of resolutions that had little to do with academic excellence, from declaring solidarity with Ukraine to an endorsement of divesting from fossil fuels. Additional resolutions included measures to defeat Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, undermine state school choice programs, condemn state legislation that protects students from gender ideology, and name diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as its core values. 

Moreover, AFT is responsible for the prolonged school closures that harmed students and resulted in record-low math and reading scores across the nation. Yet in one of the few classroom-related resolutions passed last year, the AFT proposed concealing its own failures from parents by eliminating federal testing requirements in grades 3-8. A union that is proud of its progress would have no incentive to hide its results. 

The AFT union’s top priorities are far from improving student outcomes. Educators, parents, and students deserve more than the political and self-serving goals the AFT will deliver this weekend. 

Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.