Press Release

AFT Leaders on West Virginia Fight for Public Education

For Release: 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)

Charleston, W.Va.—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT-West Virginia President Fred Albert on West Virginia:

“When the House of Delegates voted to table the Senate education bill at noon today, there was joy throughout the Capitol. Educators who had converged on the Capitol to speak truth to power were happy that they were going back to school. They had demonstrated they will do whatever it takes to win what their students and schools need. And by tabling the bill, the delegates made clear they want to build on the success of last year, not fight over whether public education exists in West Virginia. 

“But within a half-hour, rumors were swirling that Senate President Mitch Carmichael would try to convince the House to reconsider the bill. That’s why teachers aren’t going to be in school tomorrow. Those in power would not assure educators that a motion to kill the bill truly means that the bill is dead. In fact, Carmichael issued a statement saying today was a delay and not a defeat. 

“We’ve spent the day in consultation with our members and leaders, while waiting for a sign that the powers that be won’t try once again to ram through this retaliatory bill. And since we don’t have that assurance, educators will converge on the Capitol one more day to make sure there are no legislative antics. While the lawmakers who voted to table the bill earned our trust, we don’t have that same trust of all leaders. Educators want what children need, and that means staying at the Capitol to demand legislators fund West Virginia’s future and stop retaliating against educators and our communities. We hope to be back in our schools on Thursday.”

# # # #

The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.