In two recent national columns, AFT president Randi Weingarten outlines some of the foundations that should be the focus of efforts to build a public education system that provides all children with a great education.
“No one—certainly no one whose life’s work is in education—is satisfied with the current state of the American system of public education,” Weingarten writes in her latest “What Matters Most” column that appears in the New York Times. “The promise of the American dream and equal opportunity for every child, no matter what his or her background, cannot be realized without great public schools.”
She goes on to say that years of looking at what works in the best schools here and in other high-achieving countries have shown what we need to focus on. Weingarten writes about six pillars that can be the building blocks of great schools: collaboration, developing great teachers, giving teachers tools and support, 360-degree accountability and responsibility, community schools, and community involvement in schools. The Times column goes into more detail about each of those areas.
What doesn’t work, Weingarten says in an opinion piece on, is disparaging teachers and blaming teachers unions. The column is in response to a recent piece from the anti-union Center for Union Facts. Rather than blaming others, the AFT “prefers to focus on concrete solutions that will improve the current state of the American education system,” she writes.
In both columns, Weingarten talks about the need for everyone to work together to improve schools. “No one who works in education will be satisfied until all students are prepared for the challenges and opportunities of our ever-changing knowledge economy,” she writes. “Getting there, particularly during one of the toughest economic downturns of our times, will require that we all do more—and do it together.” [Dan Gursky]

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