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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.

'American Educator' spotlights community schools

In the new issue of American Educator, Martin J. Blank and Lisa Villarreal explain how more than 150 communities across the country have established community schools to reduce chronic absences due to poor health, decrease disciplinary issues and truancy rates, increase family engagement, expand educational opportunity, and ultimately improve teaching and learning.

AFT looks at effective teacher development, evaluation

A new AFT report finds that teacher development and evaluation systems that are co-designed by teachers; based on agreed-upon teaching standards; assessed in multiple ways; and supported with ongoing training for teachers and evaluators alike are an effective strategy for teachers, administrators and students.

High School Teacher Chosen to Attend Climate Change Conference in Paris

Shakopee High School science teacher Billy Koenig has been chosen as one of 10 Education Ambassadors from the United States to attend the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11. Koenig is beginning his tenth year as a teacher in the Shakopee School District. He teaches a variety of courses including Biology, Advanced Placement Biology, and Environmental Ethics/Ecology.

ASI report shows decline in number of black teachers

The Albert Shanker Institute has released a major report on the state of teacher diversity which shows that, nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared with the need for more minority teachers.

On Labor Day, we honor all of our members

Our union is our members, and on this Labor Day weekend, I couldn't be prouder of the 1.6 million hardworking nurses, teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty and public employees who work day in and day out to teach our kids, keep our families healthy and improve our communities, AFT President Randi Weingarten says.

Court decision threatens America's working families

The leaders of five major unions issued a statement expressing their disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear a case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, that challenges fees non-union members pay.