May 30, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
War, W.Va – Visiting a school in one of the most impoverished parts of Appalachia May 22, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to education are “cruel” and would be “catastrophic” for West Virginia schools.
The union said the budget would eliminate federal funding for after-school programs in West Virginia and force McDowell County to lay off 13 teachers. The county’s after-school program is part of an initiative that also provides dental cleanings, mental-health counseling, free meals, and robotics-coding lessons. “We’re not just a school that opens their door in the morning and closes the door at 4 o’clock,” said Cheryl Cruey, principal of the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school Weingarten visited. “We have services all through the evenings. Some of them are kid-focused and some of them are family-focused.” McDowell County, at the southern end of the state, has about 22,000 people and a median income below $23,000 a year. “All of these little pieces, when you put them together, it’s a whole support system for a child. Every bit increases their ability to improve their achievement and to succeed,” AFT-West Virginia President Christine Campbell told West Virginia MetroNews Radio. Read more