AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the student debt crisis is a teacher debt crisis; and

WHEREAS, nearly half of today’s educators took out student loans to pay for college; and

WHEREAS, today’s average teacher carries about $58,700 in debt—as much as their annual salary. One in 7 teachers owes more than $105,000 in debt; and

WHEREAS, educators of color carry far more debt than white educators. More than half of Black educators (56 percent) took out student loans—with an average initial amount of $68,300—compared to 44 percent of white educators, who borrowed $54,300 on average. One in 5 of those Black educators still owes more than $105,000. In a nation committed to education as a means of racial justice, educators themselves are trapped in a system of racialized debt; and

WHEREAS, student loan debt is an often overlooked barrier to diversifying the U.S. teaching workforce; and

WHEREAS, student debt cancellation increases the take-home pay of millions of indebted teachers, at no cost to their employing school districts, because the federal government bears financial responsibility for federal student loans; and

WHEREAS, canceling student loan debt represents an enormous economic opportunity for local and state municipalities to increase spending in their local communities, support individuals in gaining upward social mobility, and provide a deeply needed stimulus during the pandemic and recovery from the pandemic; and

WHEREAS, canceling student debt is a policy that has broad political and public support; and

WHEREAS, student debt cancellation is only one step toward improving public education, and must be accompanied by free higher education for all, among other measures; and

WHEREAS, President Joe Biden has full executive authority to cancel all federal student debt using his powers of executive order; and

WHEREAS, President Biden has used his authority to extend the pause on loan payments to December 31, 2022, for all borrowers and to take substantive action to cancel student debt with extra consideration for Pell recipients resulting in the vast majority of the nation’s over 40-million borrowers getting relief:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will continue to call for President Biden to use executive order(s) to cancel federal student debt.

Adopted 9/29/2022