Business & Lobbying

Top teachers union launches seven-figure ad buy backing school reopening


The second-largest teachers union in the U.S. is launching a national ad campaign calling on schools to reopen for in-person classes five days a week this fall.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is spending seven figures on TV and digital ads featuring teachers who support coming back to school. The union’s ads will air on CNN and MSNBC nationally and appear on Pandora and YouTube in 12 states over the next three weeks.

“It’s all coming together. And teachers and school staff have worked hard to get us here, securing federal funding, vaccines and making sure public schools are welcoming and safe for everyone,” the narrator says in AFT’s new ad.

AFT is promoting its support for school reopening after critics accused teachers unions of hampering the return to in-person learning amid the pandemic. Last month, AFT President Randi Weingarten gave an address supporting school reopening and committed $5 million toward a campaign to discuss its reopening strategy with parents and school staff.

“America’s teachers and school staff are ‘all in’ for in-person learning this fall,” Weingarten tweeted Friday

Weingarten has stressed that remote learning hurts students and makes it difficult for their parents to work. She’s also defended teachers unions that opposed returning to in-person learning, arguing they needed the proper safety precautions. Some of the largest local teachers unions, including the Chicago Teachers Union, have battled city officials and parents over the reopening timeline.

The push for in-person learning comes as the pandemic has slowed. COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest level since March 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday.

More than half of schools have returned to in-person learning, while only a sliver of schools continue to operate fully remotely, according to an analysis from the Return to Learn Tracker.

Tags American Federation of Teachers Rochelle Walensky school reopening schools
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