Press Release

AFT's Weingarten on NY Gov. Cuomo's State of the State Address

For Release: 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Kate Childs Graham
202/393-6354; cell 202/615-2424

WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address:

"Last night, the president of the United States asked us to come together and work toward middle-class economics, a real voice for workers, and investments to ensure high-quality education starting with early childhood and continuing through college. This morning, in a hearing on Capitol Hill, teachers and others told policymakers to end the myopic focus on high-stakes testing. And yet, I find it astonishing that in my home state, our Governor is going in exactly the opposite direction.

"Rather than addressing the growing inequities to help improve a state system that, despite those inequities, is still in the top 10 in our nation, Gov. Cuomo would take a page out of the playbook of his hedge fund donors. This trickle-down, my-way-or-the-highway, high-stakes-test-fixated-or-else strategy is never about helping all kids. It has failed any place it's been tried, here and abroad.

"What is unmistakable is that nearly half of New York's public school students are poor. They're relying on that ladder of opportunity a high-quality public education can provide. Kids need safe, welcoming neighborhood public schools with art and music, nurses and guidance counselors.

"It's a very sad day when my governor chooses to divide, to play politics, instead of doing what's right for all kids. Perhaps he should go to a public school and see the work done every day by New York state's educators to give all kids the fair shot they deserve."

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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.