As a native West Virginian who has devoted my adult life and career to the children of this great state, I take personal offense to Daily Mail Opinion’s comparison of out-of-state lobbying groups — like the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Americans for Prosperity — to my friend and colleague, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten (West Virginia’s own border walls need to tumble down, Feb. 26).
Over the past seven years, Randi has spent more time in West Virginia than some of our own residents. Her heart is here, her people are here and her resources are here. She comes here to make our communities better, especially McDowell County, and as the pioneer behind the Reconnecting McDowell program, she has shown us firsthand what it means to invest in a community, get to know its people and help to turn it around.
There are plenty of corporate lobbyists cozying up to West Virginia lawmakers and trying to make money off our children with promises of “reform,” which really involves funneling money out of our communities that need it and into unaccountable charter schools.
However, Randi Weingarten is not one of them. In fact, we need more Randi Weingartens in more counties, who get what our kids need to succeed: in-school wrap-around services to combat the consequences of poverty, adult mentors to help at-risk students, and good teachers to help them prepare for college and careers.
Gayle C. Manchin