The American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution on Saturday, endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary 2016 for her advocacy on students, families and communities.
“Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by our members, and is prepared for a tough fight on behalf of students, families and communities. That fight defines her campaign and her career,” Randi Weingarten, AFT’s president, said in a press release.
Weingarten mentioned that Clinton believes in what public education can give as she graduated from public schools herself.
“Hillary understands that to reclaim the promise of public education, policymakers need to work with educators and their unions,” Weingarten said, and added that Clinton’s “ready to work with us to confront the issues facing children and their families, today, including poverty, wage, stagnation, income inequality and lack of opportunity.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, low-income students accounted for 51 percent of all student population across the country’s public schools. Southern Education Foundation said in 2015, majority of the schoolchildren enrolled in public schools are low-income students.
Meanwhile, in the United States Census Bureau 2013 Report on Income and Poverty in the U.S., there were 45.3 million people living in poverty. The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality said in its Poverty and Inequality Report 2014 the “official poverty rate increased from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15.0 percent in 2012, and the child poverty rate increased from 18.0 percent in 2007 to 21.8 percent in 2012.”
In endorsing Clinton, AFT briefly highlighted the former’s contributions significant to the union’s cause, such as Clinton’s campaign on making available affordable and high-quality healthcare when she was still first lady, on fighting for education funding and rights of workers when she was in the senate, and on fostering democracy throughout the world during her stint at the state department.
Clinton said she is honored upon learning of AFT’s endorsement and “proud to stand with them to unleash the potential of every American.”
Besides Clinton, the AFT executive council also met with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Marylands’ former Governor Martin O’Malley. None from the Republicans responded to AFT’s invites.
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