WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress report, The Nation's Report Card: 2013 Mathematics and Reading, Grades 4 and 8:
"While we continue to see modest gains on NAEP scores, we have a long way to go to close the equity gap for children from low-income families. The current test-based, austerity-driven education environment has failed to provide the supports that all children—and especially poor children—need to reach their full potential.
"We owe it to every child to ensure they can dream their dreams and achieve them. As we said this summer, and as more than 100 student, parent and community groups and our union said this fall in endorsing 'The Principles that Unite Us,' if we want to reclaim the promise of public education, we must press forward with strategies that do so. That means pressing forward with the Common Core State Standards as a path to the critical-thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and persistence skills students need—but those standards must be matched with the necessary supports to make them real, including an enriching curriculum that includes art, music, civics and the sciences. And, at least for the Common Core transition, those standards must be decoupled from testing. We must support and value the voice of our teachers and listen to parents and communities. We must direct resources to the kids who need them most. And we must ensure that children and families have access to wraparound services to meet their social, emotional and health needs. In this way, kids will have access to great neighborhood public schools that are safe, welcoming environments and hubs of our communities."