Tag Archives: American Federation of Teachers

‘Five-Alarm Crisis’: US Has Shortage of 300K Teachers, School Staff

To stay in their profession, said a union leader, educators need “professional respect” including fair pay and the right “to make teaching and learning decisions for their students.”

By Julia Conley  Published 8-12-2022 by Common Dreams

National Education Association president Becky Pringle on Thursday warned that the U.S. teacher shortage has spiraled into a “five-alarm crisis,” with nearly 300,000 teaching and support positions left unfilled and policymakers taking desperate—and in some cases, questionable—measures to staff classrooms.

Pringle told ABC News that teachers unions have been warning for years that chronic disinvestment in schools has placed untenable pressure on educators as they face low pay and overcrowded classrooms. Continue reading

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‘Madness’: Ohio GOP Passes Bill to Arm Teachers

“We aren’t trusted with the books we choose, but somehow we’re supposed to be trusted with a gun in school?” asked one teachers’ union leader.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Minnesota March for Our Lives in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 24, 2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

With Democrats decrying the proposal as “madness,” Republican state lawmakers on Thursday pushed through House Bill 99, which would allow school districts to send teachers and other staff to school with firearms.

The legislation, which Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he “looks forward to signing,” would let school employees carry guns to school after undergoing just 24 hours of training. Continue reading

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Economists Say Raise Pay to Solve Public School Staffing Crisis

“This moment of crisis for the country’s schools,” says the co-author of a new report, “could be a turning point.”

By Kenny Stancil,  Published 2-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Foxy1219/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A new report out Thursday documents growing staffing shortages in public K-12 schools throughout the U.S. and makes clear that the crisis cannot be solved without raising pay and investing in the education workforce—starting by using unspent federal Covid-19 relief funds as a “down payment.”

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which first presented its research last week to a task force of the American Federation of Teachers, employment in public elementary and secondary schools decreased by nearly 5% overall from fall 2019 to fall 2021. The number of people employed as teachers fell by 6.8%, bus drivers by 14.6%, and custodians by 6%. Continue reading

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Trump Accused of Suppressing CDC Warning That Full School Reopenings Pose ‘Highest Risk’ of Covid-19 Spread

“By trying to bury what the CDC recommends, Trump is betraying every student, teacher, and parent in this country. Shame on him. Shame on those who enable him.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-13-2020

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, takes questions from reporters during a Coronavirus Task Force update Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020,. Photo/White House/flickr/CC

The leader of one of the largest teachers’ unions in the U.S. accused President Donald Trump over the weekend of “trying to bury” federal guidelines warning that fully reopening schools and universities in the fall poses a high risk of spreading Covid-19 and endangering the health of students, faculty, and parents.

A 69-page packet (pdf) of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention materials obtained by the New York Times and labeled “For Internal Use Only” cautions that the “more people a student or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of Covid-19 spread.” Continue reading

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Demanding ‘Education Justice and Equality,’ Striking Chicago Teachers Call on Mayor to Put Campaign Promises In Writing

“We mean business. It’s got to be about shifting and transforming the infrastructure of inequity.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-19-2019

Photo/: Midwest Unrest/Twitter

On Friday, the second day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike, union leaders said that contract negotiations have seen some progress but that teachers and Chicago Public Schools have more work to do before achieving “educational justice” for the city’s 300,000 public school students—not just raises for teachers.

Before heading into negotiations Friday morning, CTU President Jesse Sharkey said the city offered $8 to $10 million to reduce class sizes—an improvement over the $1 million it initially offered. Continue reading

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‘Absolutely Disgusting’: West Virginia Senate Passes Bill That Would Ban Teacher Strikes

The Republican measure was condemned as “pure retribution” for the mass teacher strikes that swept the state last year

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-3-2019

Teachers, school service workers, and their supporters, including all the labor unions in West Virginia, rally at the capital on behalf of better wages for state workers, and demanding a fix for the state’s underfunded and broken PEIA health insurance programs in 2018. Photo: Rich McGervey/flickr

In a move that was widely viewed as an attempt to exact revenge for last year’s mass walkouts, the West Virginia state Senate on Monday passed a sweeping education bill containing a Republican amendment that would ban teacher strikes.

Fred Albert, president of the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), called the GOP provision “pure retribution, retaliation.” Continue reading

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“It’s About the Students!” 50,000 LA Teachers Join Protest, Accusing District of Hoarding Funds Instead of Investing in Schools


“The community is united behind a UTLA strike if that’s what it takes to reinvest in public education instead of cut it to the bone.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-16-2018


Tens of thousands of Los Angeles teachers rallied in the city’s downtown area Saturday, ahead of a possible strike. (Photo: @magoo_tweets_2u/Twitter)

Los Angeles teachers set out to provide a “show of force” on Saturday, with tens of thousands rallying in the city’s downtown area to illustrate the power in their numbers, ahead of a potential strike next month.

The city’s teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), has been embroiled in contract negotiations with the school district for 18 months, with union leaders rejecting the district’s latest offer of a three percent retroactive raise starting from July 2017. The teachers are demanding a 6.5 percent raise as well as smaller class sizes and more school support staff. Continue reading

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‘Take Away Our Poverty, Not Our Children!’: Poor People’s Campaign Caps Off 40 Days of Action

‘We will keep coming back until everyone has housing, voting rights, clean water, peace, and justice!” says Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-23-2018

A portion of the Poor People’s Campaign’s poster for the action on Saturday.

Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday where the Poor People’s Campaign capped off 40 days of action with a rally and march to further energize its call for a “moral revival” and intention to “move forward together, not one step back.”

Twin banners declaring “Fight Poverty Not the Poor” flanked the stage, where rousing speeches by noted figures including Rev. William Barber, Rev. Jesse Jackson, American Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten, as well as others on the front-lines of the fight for justice—and those who amplify their voices—drew cheers. Continue reading

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