Cynthia Leonor Garza
WASHINGTON—In the face of unprecedented cuts to education, including hundreds of thousands of proposed layoffs, the American Federation of Teachers and its members across the country are launching a "Pink Hearts, Not Pink Slips" campaign, starting Tuesday, May 4, National Teacher Day.
"The magnitude of the cuts is staggering. The number of educators who might be pink-slipped in the fall is nearly equal to the population of Toledo, Ohio," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "This isn't just about saving jobs; it's about saving the next generation."
Starting Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of AFT members will be wearing pink heart buttons and signing an online petition to support legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) that would provide $23 billion to help school districts avoid layoffs, and would preserve the quality of education in our schools and on our college campuses. Other events across the country are also planned.
By the end of this school year, it is estimated that as many as 300,000 teachers, school support staff and higher education faculty will receive pink slips throughout the country. This could result in drastic increases in class sizes, will erode classroom discipline and school safety, and eliminate essential programs like art, music, AP classes and summer school.
"The federal government didn't walk away from Wall Street, and it should not walk away from our kids and their public schools," Weingarten said. "These massive cuts in teachers and programs will seriously jeopardize the hard work being done in school districts throughout the nation on genuine reforms to boost student achievement."
Weingarten added, "Educators put their heart and soul into their work—they need to be with their students in classrooms, not in the unemployment line."
For more information, visit www.PinkHeartsNotPinkSlips.com.