The state leader of the American Federation of Teachers weighed in on education proposals made by Governor Jim Justice during his State of the State address on Wednesday.
AFT-West Virginia President Christine Campbell was impressed with the Governor’s commitment to education, citing the Governor’s long record of school involvement as a coach and his understanding of many issues currently facing schools.
“Governor Justice is someone who truly walks the walk when it comes to education. He understands that community involvement is paramount to student success. While serving as a coach, he has spent quality time with teachers, parents, students, and community members. He knows what is working in our schools, what challenges our kids are facing and what inhibits our teachers’ ability to do their jobs. A businessman who takes time from running his companies to coach and mentor children in his community is exactly what we need in a state leader!”
The union leader was enthusiastic about Justice’s proposal for a 2% teacher pay raise, in light of recent discussion regarding cuts to public education and other public services.
“It’s a sign of Governor Justice’s commitment to education to consider salaries during tough economic times. Attracting and retaining high quality educators is the core of providing the best education for our students, and clearly the governor understands that we must address our lagging salaries to achieve this goal; however, we can’t stop with teachers. Service personnel and public employees provide vital services to all citizens in this state, and AFT-West Virginia will work throughout the session to include these employees in the pay raise proposal.”
Campbell also commended the Governor for his call to streamline the administrative bureaucracy in education, redirect funds down to the classroom level, and eliminate unnecessary testing and a punitive rating system.
“I’m thrilled at Governor Justice’s proposal to streamline bureaucracy in the education system. AFT-West Virginia has been discussing the fact that education is “top heavy” for many years. We need to use our resources at the classroom level, where they are most beneficial to our students. When money is tight, we need to make sure we get the most bang from every buck for our children. Our taxpayers and our kids deserve it.”