WHEREAS, the “Teacher Spring” of massive and militant strike action has been a source of inspiration to public school teachers and school support staff across the country; and
WHEREAS, strike waves in Republican-dominated states have highlighted the national crisis of education funding that has been clobbering public school employees, driving out excellent teachers and school support personnel. Public school students and their families desperately want our schools to live up to the promises of public schools that were first established out of Radical Reconstruction, and the promise of Brown v. Board of Education to equal quality education for all. Massive infusions of state and federal funding are a fundamental condition to making that happen; and
WHEREAS, tens of thousands of public school employees have valiantly placed themselves on the line to fight for the future of our schools—and they are winning. West Virginia increased state funding for raises, for seniority and to defeat charter school privatization. Oklahoma and Arizona teachers strikes restored hundreds of millions of dollars in state education funding and raises; and
WHEREAS, their courage inspires and challenges teachers and school employees to match their militancy on a national scale. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association represent the vast majority of public school educators. They should be working together, and with our state unions and locals, to follow suit:
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association will collaborate where possible to build on the great victories in West Virginia and Oklahoma, and the struggles in Arizona and other states, to launch a national campaign of labor action and education to:
- Save public education;
- Fight to improve teachers’ standard of living and work conditions; and
- Fight for union rights.