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Unions representing 300k+ educators and school-related personnel lay out a common good, Black and Brown student-focused approach to a Biden-led Department of Education.

CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2020—Some of America’s largest teachers union locals and most prominent national educator-led organizations sent a letter to President-elect Joseph Biden today calling for an educator committed to families, communities and the well-being of Black and Brown students to be appointed to the role of education secretary in the new Biden-Harris administration. This letter comes on the heels of school years tested and tried by COVID-19 since March, and a lack of clear and safe reopening guidance for educators, students and their families.

The letter was signed by the following state and city teacher union organizations: AFT-Massachusetts, Arizona Education United, Baltimore Teachers Union, Boston Teachers Union, Chicago Teachers Union, Little Rock Education Association, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, National Educators United, Oakland Education Association, Prince George’s County Education Association, San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel, St. Paul Federation of Educators, United Teachers of Los Angeles, and the Working Educators Caucus of Philadelphia.

After four years of sustained attacks on public education from the Trump-DeVos anti-public school agenda, America’s public schools have been left to fend for themselves, with educators being forced to take collective strike and walkout actions throughout the country, in both red and blue cities and states alike, including Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Oakland, CA, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky and Colorado. Many of the locals that took collective action have signed onto the letter.

“Union locals in our coalition have gone on strike for the common good — where rank-and-file members used their power to fight for issues beyond just wages and benefits. This reflects teacher unions’ desire to build not only strong school communities but a strong society. We are not just fighting for the schools our students deserve, but for affordable housing and support for homeless student populations, nurses and social workers in every school building, and sanctuary for immigrant students and families,” said the letter addressed to President-elect Biden. “The next secretary of education must recognize the inequalities that exist in our cities, and elevate social and economic issues in order to improve the quality and impact of instruction in our schools. We do not live single-issue lives, and therefore cannot have single-issue concerns.”

With COVID-19 cases currently rising throughout the U.S., the letter went on to stress, “Teacher unions have been the canary in the coal mine for years in battling these trends, which are converging in catastrophic ways in the face of COVID-19. Beyond the right to survival, we will need the right to recovery. Government at all levels has given billions to corporations in the name of recovery. School communities require the same investment. They require investment in wireless hotspots and digital devices. Nurses and additional staff are needed to help with trauma brought on by the pandemic. Investments in cleaning, properly ventilated classrooms and repairs are needed for facilities.”

Read the entire letter sent to the Biden-Harris administration by clicking here.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.