December 2, 2011
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On U.S. Education Department Report on Staffing in Low-Income Schools
WASHINGTON—Unfortunately, the latest U.S. Department of Education report on so-called comparability, titled "Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts," misses the larger point about what it takes to keep great teachers in hard-to-staff schools. Teachers need a decent salary, but they also want to work in schools that offer safe, supportive and collaborative environments. It will take more than an accounting rule change to make progress on retaining more teachers and keeping a stable teaching force in our more challenging schools. Additionally, by focusing on the intra-district funding disparities rather than on the differences among individual districts in the same state, the department is missing the opportunity to shine a light on those instances where the greatest inequities in funding exist.
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The AFT represents 1.5 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.