The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said on Wednesday that investment in education has declined in Republican-controlled states.
“What would happen is the right wing, rich folks, would basically say ‘no, tax cuts are more important. We’re not spending money on education, so it became this argument of fend for yourself versus having funding for our next education,” Weingarten told Hill.TV’S Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”
“In states like New York, California, we saw an inching back up of the investment [in education] but in states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, the funding resources went to tax cuts for the rich through a trickle-down theory, and what we didn’t have because of what was happening in the politics, we didn’t have enough people in state legislatures, and certainly not in governors who would actually help,” she continued.
Weingarten’s comments come months after widespread teachers’ strikes took place in red states such as Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia and Arizona.
Those involved in the strikes were demanding that the GOP-controlled legislatures in the states increase their pay.
The protests marked the first major actions taken by teachers since the end of the recession when state budgets throughout the U.S. were squeezed.
Legislators were quick to promise action in the face of the protests, with Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.) vowing to raise pay for teachers.
The protests could pose a political threat to Republicans in those states.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will face off against education policy expert and college professor David Garcia, who has played up his experience working in education.
In Oklahoma, six state legislators in Oklahoma who voted against a teacher pay bill were voted out of office in their primary runoff elections last week.
— Julia Manchester
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.