Great American Public Schools for All of America’s Children
Strong neighborhood public schools in every community in America, where we give each and every child the opportunity to learn and succeed, in college, in career and in life.
- Strong neighborhood public schools are a foundation of the American promise of freedom and opportunity to create a better life for us and our children.
The problem – We have great schools throughout America, but in too many communities we are not giving our schools the resources and support they need for every child to succeed.
- In thousands of communities across America, the promise of attending a great public school is being kept every day.
- But in too many communities, from cities to small towns, and too often in communities of color, elected officials are not giving our neighborhood schools the resources and support to assure that each and every child succeeds.
- A child is more than a test score. It’s time to reduce the over-reliance on standardized tests, and let teachers teach.
- Corporate CEOs and big campaign donors have pushed their own personal agenda to drain resources from public schools into charter and private for-profit schools.
- Our schools shouldn’t be competing with each other for the resources needed for our children to learn. We don’t want winners and losers – every school should have the supports needed for our children to succeed.
Our solution – Schools in every neighborhood in America should be provided with the resources and establish the educational environment needed for every child to learn and succeed in college, career and life.
- Every child in every community has the right to attend a strong neighborhood public school – that opportunity should never depend on a child’s zip code, the color of their skin or a child’s abilities.
How we get there – We build great public schools by decisions we make together.
- Every student should have a qualified, well-prepared, caring and committed teacher.
- Every child should have a well-rounded education to develop the critical thinking skills they need to succeed today and as the world changes.
- Early childhood education is key to a child’s long-term success. All our children should have the opportunity to get a great start with early education, including full-day pre-K and kindergarten.
- Today, schools that serve low-income children, often children of color, get the fewest resources. That has to stop if America is going to move forward.
- All of our children should be in a school with a positive, safe and supportive learning environment. This includes fair discipline policies, which keep classrooms safe and students in school learning.
- Our neighborhood schools can become a center for thriving families in strong communities – staying open after regular classes are done, with classes, health services, music and art, career training for children, young people, adults and seniors.
Call to Action – It’s up to us – parents, teachers, school administrators, everyone who works in our schools and community members – to assure strong neighborhood public schools for all of our children.
- It’s up to us to hold our elected officials responsible for providing our children and teachers in neighborhood schools throughout America with the resources they need to succeed. Instead of tax breaks for the super-rich and more loopholes for huge corporations, we should invest in our children to provide them with a brighter future.
- We must insist that our public schools remain democratically controlled, so parents, teachers, community members and students have a real voice in how our schools are run.
- We know how to do this. We have great schools throughout America. We can create strong neighborhood public schools in every community in our nation.
Climate Solutions for An America that Works for All of Us
Communities that are powered by clean, renewable energy to safeguard the health and futures of our families, our community and our planet.
- We can no longer ignore our strange and increasingly severe weather. We have a moral obligation to protect our children – this means preparing for and tackling climate change now.
The problem – villains and their threats: Big oil corporations are spending billions of dollars to rig the system against clean energy solutions. We need to restore our democracy and put people, not big oil, in charge.
- Oil and coal corporations have blocked clean energy policies and solutions by intentionally confusing Americans about the climate problem. Big oil corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make people think climate science is uncertain, even targeting teachers and schoolchildren with misinformation.
- Oil and coal corporations have singled out low-income communities and communities of color for toxic pollution. The climate damaging policies pushed by big oil and coal corporations often have had the most harmful impacts on low-income communities and communities of color.
- The cost of big oil’s greed – causing rising sea levels, increasing droughts, floods, wildfires and extreme weather – can be measured in lost lives, higher food prices, poorer health and billions of dollars in disaster relief.
Our solution – Invest in clean, renewable energy in our own communities and throughout our country.
- We are producing clean, abundant energy right here, in communities across America. These investments create good local jobs, increase efficiency, and provide more choices for consumers, helping to create a more stable climate for our children.
- We must give communities that are bearing the greatest burden from climate damage a central in solving problems and setting policy to protect their families.
- We need to protect our families, our communities and our livelihoods today from the harmful impacts we are already experiencing from climate change and prepare for further impacts in the years ahead.
How we get there – We build a clean energy future by decisions we make together.
- Instead of tax breaks and subsidies for big oil, we should invest in clean renewable energy and in more energy efficiency, creating local jobs, stronger communities, and a more stable climate.
By making our homes, buildings, businesses and transportation more energy efficient and moving from polluting energy to wind turbines on farms and solar on our roofs, we will take charge of our energy futures.
- We should rewrite the rules to replace climate wrecking fossil fuels with energy that will protect and sustain the health of our families and communities.
- We should implement clean energy plans in low-income communities and communities of color, with the full participation of community residents.
- We must invest today in protecting families and communities against the increased danger from climate change.
Call to action – Together we can take charge of our energy futures and protect our families, our country and our planet.
- All across the country, cities and states are leading the way in reducing their energy use. In the process, they are saving money, reducing carbon emissions, and creating jobs by making buildings more energy efficient.
- We must demand that our elected officials say no to big oil and yes to our families and our future.
- Those who say nothing can be done about climate change forget who we are and what we can do. No one should doubt America’s ingenuity and resolve. Together we can build a safe, healthy future for our families, our country and our planet.
For more material, training and support link to climatendarrative.org, including:
We all want to live in safe communities, to be treated with dignity and respect, with a criminal justice system based on equal treatment not stereotypes or bias.
The problem – We are currently saddled with an outdated, unfair, biased and bloated criminal justice system that drains resources, and disrupts communities.
- Long prison sentences for “victimless crimes” and for young people, a “one size fits all” approach that defies common sense, and campaign contributions from the private prison industry have led to too many people being in prison and too much money being spent to keep them there.
- Too often police departments use racial profiling, which is singling people out because of their race or accent, instead of based on evidence of wrongdoing. That’s against our national values, endangers our young people, and reduces public safety.
- Local governments rely on the criminal justice system to raise revenues, telling the police to make as many arrests as possible for traffic and other petty violations, imposing high fines and penalties, forcing people to miss work to go to court. These unfair practices do real harm to families and weaken communities.
Our solution – We need our criminal justice system to uphold our values, based on equality, prevention and treatment, while safeguarding our communities.
- We should focus our actions and our resources on better education, job training and treatment instead of more prisons, police and judges.
How we get there – We need to rewrite the rules of our criminal justice system to:
- Make greater investment in prevention and treatment: mental health and addiction services, job training, economic opportunity.
- Give people a chance to start over through training, opportunity, and removing arbitrary barriers.
- Assure that law enforcement agencies train their officers to pursue evidence, avoid racial profiling, and treat all communities with respect.
- Focus on community policing, understanding communities and interacting with residents so that police can set aside stereotypes and better protect public safety.
- End the practice of using the criminal justice system as a way to raise revenues, by prohibiting quotas, dramatically lowering fines and penalties and ending the practice of putting people in prison when they can’t afford to pay fines.
Call to action – Together we can create a criminal justice system that supports safe, thriving communities.
- It’s up to us to demand that our elected officials create a criminal justice system based on core American values – equal treatment, opportunity and freedom.
Opportunity Agenda narrative for criminal justice reform
Health Care that Works for All of Us
A health care system that works for all of us, with good health and healthy communities.
The problem – Big insurance and drug corporations – and even hospitals – are profiteering off our being sick instead of being rewarded for keeping us and our communities healthy.
- Skyrocketing insurance company deductibles, high hospital charges and price gouging by prescription drug corporations are unaffordable – forcing us to choose between health care and other basics.
- Corporations and the super rich are using campaign cash and lobbyists to hold down wages and benefits. Flat wages, jobs that don’t give us the time to care for our families, poor housing in unsafe communities, the high cost of getting to work and retirement worries all mean more stress and worse health.
- Barriers to community and individual well being – underfunded education, unsafe housing, pollution, lack of public transportation, biased medical research – do real harm to the health of many people color.
Our solution – We need a health system that works for our health and healthy communities, not corporate profits.
- Every community has nutritious food, clean air and water, good housing in safe communities, good jobs, places to exercise and play.
- Health care coverage that includes all the health care services we need and that we can to afford to use it when we need it.
- Quality care and community supports working together to keep us healthy and treat us when we are sick.
How we get there – We must rewrite the rules of our health care system to:
- Make sure that everyone can afford good coverage, which pays for all our health care needs, with insurance premiums based on what we earn and can afford.
- Make sure we can afford to obtain care when needed, by eliminating deductibles, lowering co-payments and putting an end to drug corporation’s profiteering by requiring affordable prescription drugs prices.
- Focus on the keys to keeping healthy – a healthy environment, good housing in safe communities, affordable healthy food. Being able to get to work, at a good job, so we can care for and support our families.
- Insist on getting value for our health care dollars, with common sense measures that pay hospitals and doctors for how well they take care of patients; and by providing incentives to coordinate care, keep us healthy, help us take care of our own health, and improve the health of our communities.
- Assure that all of us, regardless of our gender or our race or ethnic background, get access to quality care, investing in research and services that take account of our differences, our communities and our cultures.
- Guarantee that patient and community advocates have a strong voice when the rules of our health care system are being written.
Call to action – We can create a health care system that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few.
- It’s time that our elected officials stand up to the insurance and drug corporations and hospital chains and write the rules so that they put the health of our families and communities before their profits.
- We can demand that everyday people have a voice in the health care system.
Americans are proud of the best of our health care. It’s time we worked together to make the best of American health care work for all of us
The freedom to be safe in our homes, our neighborhoods and at work, without the constant threat of gun violence hanging over our heads.
The problem with Villians– Gun violence is rampant in America because sensible gun laws have been undone, reckless new measures have been passed, and glaring loopholes in our current laws have been allowed to remain open.
- Current laws allow easy access to guns for criminals, mentally unstable people, and even terrorists.
- Our police officers are at risk every day when they confront criminals who are armed to the teeth with military-style weapons that are freely available
- This isn’t a conversation about your grandfather’s hunting rifle. Extraordinarily dangerous, military-style weapons are now within easy reach across America.
- The NRA’s lobbyists aren’t defending everyday folks. They’re a giant operation defending powerful gun manufacturers at every turn.
- 74% of NRA members support requiring background checks of anyone purchasing a gun. It’s NRA’s officials and lobbyists are the problem.
- For decades, NRA officials, the firearms industry, and their allies on Capitol Hill have waged a relentless effort to gut common sense gun laws and to pass reckless measures that put more people at risk.
- You don’t hear much from the NRA and their allies when violence strikes. That’s because they can’t possibly defend their reckless agenda in the face of such terrible human pain and suffering.
- There isn’t a shred of credible evidence that more guns and more shooting save people’s lives. There is lots of evidence that more guns and more shooting mean more tragedy.
Our solution – We need stronger gun laws to free us from the gun violence that threatens or homes and our communities.
- Stronger gun laws protect our children and keep people alive.
How we get there –Common sense gun laws are allowed under the Second Amendment, because they help prevent gun deaths, injuries, and crimes in communities across the country. We need to rewrite the rules to:
- Make sure that all gun sales require federal background checks. Close the loophole that allows criminals, dangerously mentally ill and domestic abusers to buy guns from unlicensed dealers without a background check.
- Restrict the sale of military style assault weapons and ammunition magazines.
- Protect the safety of women and families by blocking abusive dating partners and those stalkers from buying guns.
Call to action – It’s up to us to demand that elected officials strengthen gun laws to protect our families and our communities from gun violence.
- It’s time our elected officials cared more about the pain and turmoil gun violence causes than NRA’s lobbyists and gun manufacturers.
- There is no excuse for the failure to act: we know how to dramatically reduce gun violence and protect our families and communities.
- Together, we can make Americans free to be safe in our homes, our neighborhoods and at work from the threat of gun violence.
Americans are proud of the best of our health care. It’s time we worked together to make the best of American health care work for all of us
Democracy and the Role of Government
A thriving democracy where every voter’s voice is heard, and every voice counts equally.
The Problem – Campaign contributions from the wealthy and big corporations and barriers to voting block the voices and representation of the vas t majority of people.
- The rules allow the wealthy and big corporations to have a louder voice than working families and the middle class.
When it takes so much money to run for office, it’s tough for regular people to get elected and represent their communities.
- Some elected officials who want to hold on to power – backed by the wealthy and big corporations – erect barriers to voting, often directed at people of color and young adults.
Our solution – Our democracy depends on every voice being heard, everyone being able to vote and ordinary people being able to compete fairly for office.
How we get there – We need to rewrite the rules of our democracy so that every voice is heard:
- Empower small donors: Match small contributions to candidates with a limited amount of public funds, so that ordinary people can run for office and represent their communities.
- Take down barriers to voting: Take down barriers to voting with automatic registration, expanded online registration, and expanded early and mail-in voting to strengthen our democracy. Prohibit voter ID and other laws that are directed at making it harder for people to vote.
- Expand and protect the vote: People who have served their time and are on parole should be allowed to vote.
- Stop partisan manipulation of districts: Reform the rules and make the process of drawing districts impartial, so that our government is of, by, and for the people.
Call to action – It’s up to us to demand that we take down the barriers to every voice being heard, so that our democracy and government work for all of us, not just the wealthy few.
- We can restore balance to our democracy and make sure that everyone’s voice is heard and every voice matters.
Role of Government
A Government that Works for All of Us… Not Just the Wealthy
Our government should work for all of us not just the wealthy and powerful.
The problem – More and more Americans don’t feel like we have a say in our government’s decisions because the wealthy and big corporations use campaign contributions and lobbying to manipulate the rules in their favor.
Our solution – When we have an equal voice and equal say, we can create thriving communities through our government.
- Government is how we build the public structures that are the foundation of our society and fundamental to our prosperity, freedom, security, opportunity and a strong middle-class.
How we get there – It’s time to rewrite the rules so that our government acts by and for everyday Americans.
- When our government represents us:
We create prosperity by building modern transportation and communications grids and with great public schools and colleges.
We protect our families and communities with important laws about clean air, food and safe workplaces.
We assure our security with vital family and community services and the guarantees of Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and Social Security.
- We must rewrite the rules of elections so that everyday Americans can represent us by running for office on the strength of their support from small donations—not big checks from the wealthiest Americans.
Call to action – It’s up to us to stand up for a government that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.
- The issue is not the size of our government, it’s who our government works for: the super-rich and corporate CEOs or working families and the middle class?
- Everyone should vote and when everyday people take steps just beyond voting we can have a say in how decisions are made in our communities and our state.
- Our government should be by and for all the people, not just the most powerful.
- We have a shared responsibility to maintain the public things we depend on for our freedom and our quality of life.
- When you said the pledge of allegiance was it for liberty and justice for the few, for the super-rich? Or for all? Americans have done this before. We can do it again. Together we can build an America with liberty and justice for all of us.
An America that Works for All of Us
America deserves a common sense immigration process, one that includes a roadmap for new Americans who aspire to be citizens.
- America is a nation of values, founded on an idea – that all men and women are created equal, that all people have rights, no matter what they look like or where they came from That families should stick together, that we should look out for each other, that hard work should be rewarded. In the freedom to be what you want, do what you want and say what you want.
- How we treat new immigrants reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans.
The problem – But the current patchwork of immigration policies and programs doesn’t make any sense. It’s mismanaged and broken and it breaks up families. There’s a maze of regulations with no line to become a fully participating American .
Our solution – heroes: That’s why we need to create a commonsense immigration process that recognizes the hardships and contributions of people moving here, keeps families together and creates a roadmap to citizenship for new Americans who aspire to be citizens.
- For aspiring citizens, the essential right of citizenship should be reachable by taking a test of our history and government, paying an appropriate fee and pledging allegiance to our country.
Call to action – America works best when we all do our part and work together as one nation, indivisible and strong.
- You see, it’s not about what you look like or where you were born that makes you American – it’s how you live your life and what you do that defines you here in this country.
- We can do this. We can agree on a commonsense immigration process that includes a roadmap for people who aspire to be citizens. We have done this throughout our history and we can do it again. This is what America is all about.
Here AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre talk about why he says I Am a Proud American
The Movement Advancement Project has led the way in providing narrative and message advice for equality for LGBT Americans.
Ideas, and how they’re expressed, are at the center of all movements for change. Success in achieving equality for LGBT Americans requires a clear and compelling approach to messaging and communications. MAP explores the principles of effective communications for the LGBT movement so that it can help Americans understand the importance of change.
Most Americans simply don’t understand the inequalities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people—and how those inequalities affect their lives. Proper framing can help more Americans see that the movement for LGBT equality is really about everyday Americans wanting the same chance as everyone else to earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love. It’s not just about gay people. It’s not just about transgender people. And it’s not just about straight people. It’s about all of us.
To reach the public, LGBT organizations need to identify their priority audiences, develop compelling messages, select and train spokespeople, target the right media, and take other steps to communicate effectively. MAP provides resources and information about how LGBT organizations can frame issues and run communications campaigns that move equality forward.
– See more here
America’s Role in the World
An America that Works for All of Us
America’s path to security and prosperity is linked to a prosperous, secure world.
The problem – In today’s conflicts, the over-reliance on the use of force makes us less secure. It’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.
- The United States is often a force for good, but when we rely too much on force, we make enemies not partners.
- We’ve spent almost two trillion dollars on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but these countries are still violent and unstable. Excessive military spending has not made our country or the world safer.
- When we spend so much on the Pentagon, the only solutions we have at the ready are military.
- Pentagon contractors use campaign contributions to get Congress to force the Pentagon to spend money on wasteful, unnecessary projects the Pentagon doesn’t need and didn’t request. It’s time to get politics out of Pentagon spending.
Our solution – In today’s global world, we need to work with others to solve the big problems – terrorism, civil conflicts, climate disruption, fighting over resources and poverty.
How we get there – We build a more secure and prosperous America and world by decisions we make together.
- Diplomacy, economic and humanitarian assistance are almost always much better choices for our security. War should be a last resort.
- Instead of just building weapons to use when the world erupts, we should work with our allies to invest in raising living standards around the world – that way we’ll reduce the root causes of so many conflicts.
- We must insist that that we put the safety of our troops and care for our veterans first – before hugely expensive weapons systems and the profits of Pentagon contractors.
- We need to get our priorities right. Pentagon spending is out of balance with our overall needs.
- Example: We are planning to spend a trillion dollars on new nuclear weapons. For the same amount of money, we could provide free tuition to every qualified student in the country for the next 16 years.
Call to action – It’s up to us to build a more secure and prosperous America in a more secure and prosperous world.
- It’s up to us to use our power wisely – to work with others to prevent and quiet conflicts.
- We are going to hold our elected officials accountable for saying no to billion dollar weapons we don’t need and yes to raising living standards in America and around the world.
- The United States can partner with others in providing leadership for a world of democracy, prosperity and security.
To access the Speaker notes: on the Google Slides control panel select the options button (gear icon), then open speaker notes.