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 Arizona and Colorado:
“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.
“Arizona has some of the most poorly funded schools in the nation and pays its teachers far below the national average. Colorado’s schools also have suffered from years of underfunding, depriving teachers of the resources they need to provide students with the education they deserve.
“When West Virginia’s teachers and school staff began demanding better conditions for themselves and the children they teach, they sparked a movement that has spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, and now Arizona and Colorado.
“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. Our children need teachers who aren’t exhausted from having to moonlight with extra jobs to make ends meet for their own families.
“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.”