For release: August 30, 2018
Karen Strickland, President, 206-326-0685 (c)
Sylvia Watson, Communications Coordinator, 206-261-3603 (c)
American Federation of Teachers Washington on Recent School Strikes
Tukwila -- AFT Washington stands in solidarity with the K-12 public school strikes and our sisters and brothers from the Washington Education Association in their efforts to get a fair contract.
Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington, said “This is about respect and building the middle class. For decades teachers and school-support employees, whether in K-12 or higher education, have been undervalued and underpaid for their work. Educators should earn enough to have economic security and take care of their families.”
Results from a recent report from PDK Poll on the public’s attitudes toward the public schools show decades of disinvestment and attacks against public education is taking its toll on our teachers, families, and communities. The polling found that 73% say they would support teachers in their community if they went on strike for higher salaries. The poll asked more than 1,000 Americans to answer questions about teacher pay, teacher strikes, spending for schools, college tuition, and opportunities for all children.
The teachers’ strikes in Washington State and around the country are just the tip of the iceberg.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is further undermining public education by reducing federal funding and promoting devastating policies. DeVos wants to use federal funds to arm teachers with guns to address school shootings. She is trying to make it easier for predatory lenders to rip off students borrowing money to fund their education. Most recently, she proposed rules to make it harder to prosecute sexual harassment and assault on campuses.
“Working people, educators, and the community are standing up against economic inequality, racism, sexism, and the devastating impact of DeVos and billionaires who want to defund and discard public education,” said Strickland.
AFT Washington, AFL-CIO represents 7,000 education employees in Head Start, K-12, and higher education throughout Washington State. AFT Washington is affililated with the 7-million-member American Federation of Teachers.