WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the resignation of Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico President Aida Díaz:
“Aida Díaz, president of the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, is a woman of valor. Her resignation is a sad moment for everyone who knows her or her work, particularly for teachers, children and communities across Puerto Rico. The union movement is diminished today because her vibrant voice and fierce advocacy are leaving the arena after decades of exemplary work. By any objective standard, no one can say that she did not throw her heart and soul into improving public education, supporting educators and lifting children.
“In the last three years, as AMPR went through a process of affiliating with the AFT and since then, I have had a front-row seat watching Díaz’s work. No one has fought harder or been a stronger advocate than Díaz for public education, for teachers, and for providing children with the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential. She has been a significant and important leader for Puerto Rico—an ‘adult in the room’—and we will miss her tremendously.
“It was never easy to be the president of AMPR, and that was especially true during the tenure of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. I witnessed Díaz, AMPR and Puerto Rico’s loving, compassionate and dedicated teachers, work to reopen schools that had been devastated by the hurricane; for many schools, this was only possible because teachers cleaned and repaired them with their bare hands. I watched Díaz fight the closures of more than 300 schools because she believed deep in her bones that teachers should be respected and schools should be safe and nurturing places for children. I watched her fight the draining of money from already underfunded traditional public schools to fund charter schools. I watched her fight the failure to provide enough teachers for kids with special needs and the appalling lack of modern textbooks in classrooms. I watched her fight for teachers to be paid a living wage and to protect teachers’ pensions and healthcare.
“That both Puerto Rico’s governor and secretary of education fought her aggressively on all these issues, and that both were forced to leave in a butt of corruption and scandal, is all you need to know about Díaz’s heart and leadership. She spoke truth to power and was relentless in her efforts to protect teachers, children and communities.”