WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement expressing AFGE’s solidarity with striking teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky:
“Teachers across this country are telling lawmakers that our children deserve well-funded schools, with decent class sizes, up-to-date textbooks and computers, furniture that isn’t falling apart, and regular classes in art, music, and physical education. They need teachers who aren’t exhausted from having to moonlight with extra jobs to make ends meet for their own families.
“But the opposite is happening, and teachers are bravely speaking out for change. Teachers in Oklahoma haven’t had a raise in 10 years. And new teachers in Kentucky had their pensions eliminated by state lawmakers without any debate or input from workers.
“West Virginia’s teachers and school staff have inspired teachers in other communities to speak out and demand better conditions for themselves and the children they teach. Like all working people employed in the public and private sectors, teachers and their families have seen their living standards decline while all the benefits of economic growth are grabbed by the wealthiest corporations and individuals.
“Starving our schools of the resources they need to function does a grave disservice not just to our students and educators but to the future of our country. Our teachers and our children deserve much better, and we are indebted to the teachers who have taken great risks to force attention to this most important issue.”