WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT Pennsylvania President Arthur Steinberg on the announcement that the Scranton Federation of Teachers will go on strike next Wednesday:
AFT President Randi Weingarten:
“Scranton educators are going on strike because there’s a crisis in Scranton’s public schools: Teachers are leaving, positions and services are being cut, and students are being denied resources—all while the district drags its feet on a fair contract. The school board and school district have made it abundantly clear: Kids and schools are not a priority. Teachers have remained on the frontlines of keeping their students safe and engaged during a pandemic, only to be met with systemic disrespect when it comes to wages, resources and the help they need to do their jobs well.
“Austerity is not new in Scranton, but it’s certainly taking its toll. While the district and school board focus solely on the bottom line, educators are focused on helping their kids recover and thrive, but they need support. This slash-and-burn attitude, on top of decades of underfunding by the Republican-led state Legislature, has left the city’s public schools in shambles: Educators are leaving in droves, classrooms are overcrowded, and Scranton can’t attract anyone to fill open positions, leaving kids caught in the middle of a mess that is easily fixed with existing federal and state aid.
“It’s long past time for a contract that’s good for kids and fair to teachers and paraprofessionals—and like workers around the country, Scranton’s educators and school staff are willing to walk off the job to get it. Scranton public schools need to be places where educators want to teach, parents want to send their kids, and students can truly thrive.”
AFT Pennsylvania President Arthur Steinberg:
“Scranton educators are true professionals who have been on the frontlines of keeping kids safe, healthy and engaged amid a massive crisis. But they can’t keep doing more with less. There is federal and state money to solve the problems plaguing Scranton schools. The district must start using that funding and stop the harmful, devastating cuts that are affecting the future of Scranton kids. Austerity-based budgets hurt students.”
NOTE: Weingarten will travel to Scranton next week. Details to be announced in the coming days.