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McDowell County, West Virginia, in the heart of what used to be coal country, is one of the most impoverished counties in the US — a place that embodies the challenges facing many American areas in transition. But something new is happening there; it’s called Reconnecting McDowell, a multi-partner effort, led by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Can education be the driver of local economic and social development in one of the poorest places in the US? What if the best anti-poverty program is investing in teachers and children? In this episode, for May 1, a traditional labor holiday around the world, we take a look at Reconnecting McDowell and speak to some of the beneficiaries. Drawing on some of the labor movement’s earliest traditions, could this partnership between local drive and national commitment provide a model for the future?
- Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Portions of this interview with Randi Weingarten are featured in our episode “Beating Poverty by Investing in Teachers: A Labor Story for May Day.“