Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten on Trump Visit to Florida Private School

For Release: 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Contact:

Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)
mmrowka@aft.org

WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement in advance of President Trump’s visit to a private school in Florida:

“To borrow a word from President Trump, it’s so ‘sad’ that the president and his secretary of education have demonstrated such an antipathy toward public schools. He has taken a page right out of the extremist playbook by criticizing, undermining and proposing the defunding of public schools and instead trumpeting private alternatives.

The evidence overwhelmingly shows that vouchers don’t help kids. And as Betsy DeVos learned when she spent $5 million to push a private voucher ballot measure in Michigan, voters overwhelmingly oppose these efforts. So it’s sad that rather than listening to the public they are sworn to represent and who have a deep connection to public schools, Trump and DeVos’ first official joint trip is to a religious school, which they use as a backdrop for their ideological crusade. Instead of lifting up a great public school in Orlando—such as the Evans Community School, which focuses on the well-being of children by offering health and dental care, a food bank, free meals, and after-school programs and education programs for families—Trump is in Florida to push school choice and a backdoor voucher proposal as a way to turn education into a commodity.”

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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.