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AFT President Randi Weingarten on 2020 PDK Poll Measuring Attitudes Toward Public Schools

WASHINGTON - American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement upon the release of this year’s Phi Delta Kappan poll, the 52nd iteration of the survey that measures public opinion about America’s public schools:

The PDK poll confirms once again what we know to be true: Public schools are supported by an enduring majority of Americans, and Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos’ vicious agenda to ‘end’ them is the antithesis of what Americans want. The survey was completed before the onset of our triple crisis of the pandemic, the economic recession and the reckoning with racism—a situation that has rallied sentiment even stronger behind teachers and public education.

For the 19th straight year, voters say inadequate funding for schools is the biggest problem, and right now we’re seeing the consequences up close, as millions of students attempt to start the school year in distance learning. The dearth of investment has resulted in a lack of technology, outdated materials, dilapidated classrooms and nonexistent PPE.

The public’s priorities are clear. Nurturing the teaching profession, providing affordable college and shielding students from discrimination are the most important concerns—and all three have been relentlessly attacked by the Trump administration. That’s why teachers are joining with parents and the community to make sure our common values are better reflected in Congress and the White House come January 2021.


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The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do.

The American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.6 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide.

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