WASHINGTON— Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on passage of the so-called Student Success Act. The AFT launched a major radio, print and online advertising campaign this week to make clear how this bill would hurt children and public schools.
"The so-called Student Success Act betrays the fundamental promise we make to our children—that all children deserve a high-quality public education that enables them to not only dream their dreams, but achieve them. That Republicans would push through a bill that starves schools of resources and does nothing to address pervasive overtesting shows just how disconnected they are from what children, teachers, parents and our schools need.
"If we believe that every child matters and deserves a fair shot at success, then the actions by policymakers need to match the rhetoric—and this bill falls far short. At a time when nearly half of all children in our public schools are living in poverty, this bill rolls back the historic commitment we began decades ago to help poor and disadvantaged children succeed in school.
"This bad bill was made even worse after passage of an amendment by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) that has the potential to divert resources for poor children—resources already being cut by the sequester—to programs and policies that do not have a track record of success and are based on ideology, not results. This amendment undercuts the very essence of Title I: to enable school districts to target and increase funds to schools serving the highest concentrations of poor students.
"Despite efforts to improve the bill on the floor, the fundamental flaws of the Republican proposal made it unfixable. On behalf of public education's promise and potential to be a pathway of opportunity for all children in America, the Senate must reject this bill."