School Leaders United: New Campaign Engages Members in Political Activism

AFSA this month is launching a major new initiative to organize and activate members in stepped-up political and communications programs to combat the assaults by reactionary politicians against educators and other public employees.

The new AFSA Action Network will be the centerpiece for activity, with participating members receiving Action Alerts and materials designed to help make our voices heard. To sign up for the program, go here, click “Subscribe Now,” and fill out the required fields.

Additionally, political training by experienced professionals will be conducted at AFSA regional conferences and through webinars. The training will focus on endorsing supportive candidates and becoming more active with the AFL-CIO’s Central Labor Council in members’ areas. The training will also offer members guidance on how to rally support for key issues and candidates, and will offer advice on how to engage in voter registration drives and improve turnout among supportive voters.

To increase AFSA’s visibility and strengthen the campaign’s arguments, two research initiatives have been launched that underscore the importance of school leaders. One initiative focuses on the importance and scope of school leaders’ roles in developing quality education policies and programs while the other focuses on the essential need for school leaders to be engaged at every level in formulating education reform.

The campaign comes at a time when the national focus is on labor politics, education reform and state and federal budget crises. Diann Woodard, AFSA international president, said she is looking to position AFSA in a more proactive stance that simultaneously emphasizes school leaders’ roles and union rights.

“This is about providing our members with the tools they need to defend their jobs and their livelihoods,” Woodard said. “This is about asserting our leadership on school reform and our authority as trade unionists and saying forcefully, ‘enough is enough!’”

The campaign is one of the major initiatives undertaken by AFSA to improve communications throughout the entire organization. Complementing the campaign are the new email communication strategy, the refreshed newsletter layout, the new AFSA logo and a new website that will be unveiled later this spring.

“Recent events have made it clear that now is the time for action,” said Woodard. “If we want to be represented, we must do more than just exist; we must shout our existence from the rooftops.”