ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands—Joint statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers President Carol Callwood and St. Croix Federation of Teachers President Rosa Soto-Thomas on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ visit today to St. Thomas:
“Virgin Islands public school buildings were in terrible condition before hurricanes Irma and Maria struck, and they’re in even worse shape now. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ visit must be more than a photo op or a forum to promote charter schools or other school choice options, which have not been successful substitutes for great public schools. Our hope is that DeVos will focus on fixing our public schools and will work with educators and parents to make sure that every Virgin Islands public school is safe, has the funding needed to clean up, and has the resources necessary for kids to learn and teachers to teach.
“To fill the void left by the federal government, the AFT is working with our local affiliates to determine what’s needed immediately. We are shipping essentials for students, including books, notebooks, pencils, paper and backpacks. It would be great if DeVos joined our fight for our kids’ futures and to make sure every public school is safe, welcoming and healthy.”