Washington—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on President Obama’s State of the Union address.
“America’s future depends on our investment in our people and in our nation. The vision the president laid out will help strengthen and expand our middle class today and will lay the foundation for future growth and shared prosperity tomorrow.
“President Obama laid out a bold blueprint to strengthen our nation by making sure EVERY child has access to high-quality early childhood education programs, by expanding high school opportunities to be more hands on and more focused on thinking, rather than testing, like the P-Tech High School in Brooklyn, and by making college more affordable and accessible, including expanding opportunities to DREAMERs. But it’s not just about children—it’s about their parents too. The president offered tangible proposals to create good jobs, rebuild and upgrade our aging infrastructure, and ramp up job training to keep our compact with hardworking Americans in a rapidly changing economy. America is strongest when we live up to our shared responsibility to invest in our people and our nation, confront challenges with common resolve and expand opportunity for all who call our nation home.
“The president tonight reminded us that as a nation of immigrants, we must live up to our values of democracy and opportunity by ensuring a pathway to citizenship for hardworking immigrants who call our nation home. And he offered a clarion call for voting rights, equality under law, whether gay or straight, and economic and other protections for women to make real the promise of equality in America. Our love of freedom also demands that we do everything in our power to keep our citizens safe from gun violence in our schools and communities while ensuring the sanctity of the Second Amendment. And we will fight to make sure gun safety measures get the votes they deserve. We were reminded of that solemn commitment tonight by the presence of Sandy Hook teachers Kaitlin Roig and Natalie Hammond.
“As a democracy, our destiny as a nation is in our hands—for we are the people. We cannot cut our way to shared prosperity and opportunity. President Obama has laid out his vision to ensure that all Americans have a clear path to the American dream. It is now time for Congress to act.”