April 7, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Teacher Retirement Report from the
National Commission on Teaching and America's Future
Today, the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future issued a report,"Learning Teams: Creating What's Next," stating that half of U.S. teachers will retire over the next decade. The report says that to address this challenge, schools must embrace new staffing models and encourage teacher retirees to return to the classroom in new roles.
WASHINGTON—The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) report on the teacher retirement wave about to hit our schools is honest and enlightening. It shines a bright light on the need to rethink how we educate students, staff schools, and support and engage teachers.
The NCTAF's learning team concept is a great way to harness the talent of experienced staff and the exuberance of the new teachers we recruit to our schools. It is the opposite of the so-called reform agendas that pin everything on individual teachers, simply telling them to figure out this complex craft on their own. Learning teams are just one component of a strategy to ensure all children reach high standards. Along with collaborative teams, teachers and students need teaching and learning conditions such as good curriculums aligned to standards. They also need safe and orderly schools, small class sizes and adequate resources to help all their students reach their highest potential.
For more information about the report, go to www.nctaf.org.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.