States and School Districts Should Use OECD and Other Data When Developing Reforms
WASHINGTON—Statement by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Education at a Glance- 2012 report. The report analyzes the education systems of the 34 OECD member countries as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
"It is imperative that we actually apply the successful lessons of other countries and develop education reforms with teachers based on evidence and high-quality standards. The voluminous data from this and other international comparisons can point the way for educational efforts that help all students and teachers succeed.
"The OECD 2012 report supports the major components of the AFT's Quality Education Agenda, which include focusing on high-quality teaching, using data to inform improvement and not as a punitive stick, providing educators with more voice in school decisions, recognizing the importance of partnerships with parents and community, and providing a robust, standards-based curriculum.
"The report shows that using standardized-test results for evaluating and paying teachers is very rare, as it is not even mentioned as one of the top 16 uses of testing data. Only Argentina has a longer instructional year than the United States, with U.S. teachers teaching approximately 40 percent more hours per year than teachers in other OECD countries, yet U.S. teachers' salaries do not crack the top 10 among OECD countries. And while most U.S. education decisions are made by school districts, most OECD countries leave those decisions to the people closest to the students—the professionals in each school.
"This report is yet another clarion call to focus on what works to improve student achievement, not waste time and money on policies that have no track record of success."