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Our Conversation with Steven Spielberg

To commemorate the 25th anniversary and rerelease of “Schindler’s List,” Steven Spielberg joined AFT President Randi Weingarten to discuss the legacy of the movie, its impact on Holocaust education and how to teach kids to understand and respond to hatred in our communities.

AFT members are taking Navient to court

A class-action suit filed in federal court sets out serious allegations that student loan servicer Navient has misled borrowers in public service professions from accessing a loan forgiveness program to boost its own profits. The landmark complaint, which seeks millions in damages and class-wide injunctive relief, details a spate of systematic misrepresentations, untruths and misdirection pedaled by Navient to stop borrowers from enrolling in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a 10-year payoff plan administered by rival servicer FedLoan.

A Decade of Neglect

“A Decade of Neglect: Public Education Funding in the Aftermath of the Great Recession” details for the first time the devastating impact on schools, classrooms and students when states choose to pursue an austerity agenda in the false belief that tax cuts will pay for themselves. The comprehensive report offers a deep dive into the long-term austerity agendas and historic disinvestment that sparked the wave of nationwide walkouts this spring.

Weingarten: Bad Teachers Need Another Profession

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, delivered a hard-charging speech at the union’s convention in Washington on Monday (transcript here), asserting that ineffective teachers should find another line of work. 

Message to My Fellow Execs: Raise Wages!

In early 2014, President Barack Obama paid a visit to a local Costco. He wasn’t there to get a good deal on tires or a big-screen TV but to use Costco as a platform to advocate a higher minimum wage. That’s because the retail giant (where I am lead director) has proved that businesses can perform better by paying more. Costco pays some of the highest wages in retail—almost twice the minimum wage.

And guess what, it’s doing great. At a time when debate over raising the minimum wage is front and center, I have a message for my colleagues in business: We are missing the boat. Knee-jerk opposition is wrong, because as I have seen at Costco and other companies, raising wages will be good for business.

There are three key reasons. First, it will accelerate growth of the economy. Second, it will increase labor productivity. And third, it will reduce government support payments and the pressure to raise taxes on business.

Teachers Deserve Thanks, Not Blame

As our public schools begin another school year, it's time to stop blaming and criticizing teachers and start thanking and acknowledging them.

Our schools reflect society, and society has undergone a dramatic shift from previous generations. A typical classroom today consists of many students with severe behavioral problems, limited knowledge of English usage, emotional and psychological difficulties, learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders. And many suffer from abuse and other adverse home and socioeconomic conditions.