New York City public school teacher asks: If 'teachers are so essential, then why aren’t teachers paid more?'

Entire burden of COVID-19 crisis is being put on educators, NYC teacher says

are the ‘real enemies’ when it comes to trying to get schools reopened safely.

“There is a contradiction between budget cuts and reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic," New York City public school teacher Karla Reyes told "America's Newsroom" Wednesday.

“School budgets have been cut for a really, really long time and teachers have been organizing around that,” Reyes went on, adding that "the role of teachers is to expose the real enemies who, I believe, are politicians and the corporations and the shortcomings of the government in responding to this health and economic crisis, where right now the entire burden of the crisis is being put on the teachers."

WEIGHING THE RISKS OF REOPENING SCHOOLS AMID COVID PANDEMIC

The debate surrounding whether, when and how to reopen schools for in-person instruction this fall has grown in intensity in recent weeks. Last week, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced that it would support any local chapter that decides to strike over reopening plans deemed unsafe or insufficient.

“Just as we have done with our health care workers, we will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said. “But if the authorities don’t get it right, and they don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, nothing is off the table — not advocacy or protests, negotiations, grievances or lawsuits, or, if necessary as a last resort, safety strikes.”

According to Weingarten, 76 % of AFT members were open to returning to classrooms “before the virus’ resurgence,” but are now questioning whether they should return so soon.

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On Wednesday, Reyes highlighted the contradiction between teachers being considered “essential workers” while budget cuts are made to the “school infrastructures.”

“Philadelphia schools have been closing," she said. "If schools and teachers are so essential then why aren’t teachers paid more and why are people being laid off and why are schools closing and why are budgets being cut and why are classes overcrowded?”

Fox News' Cortney Moore contributed to this report.

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