"The progress that has been made is a credit
to the grit and hard work of millions of educators."
WASHINGTON—The modest gains in fourth- and eighth-grade math and in eighth-grade reading on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress have been achieved in the throes of economic turmoil, budget cuts and teacher layoffs. The progress that has been made is a credit to the grit and hard work of millions of educators. But it's not enough, especially at a time when families are being devastated by the economy and childhood poverty has soared to tragic levels.
Despite ample evidence, we still fail to heed the lessons of what works in the world's top-performing school systems—an investment in teachers; a rich and robust curriculum; and wraparound services such as counseling, after-school programs and tutoring to counter factors outside the classroom, like poverty, that affect student performance.
These are reforms the AFT has long advocated. They would mitigate the serious and persistent achievement gaps among groups of students and help level the playing field between the haves and the have-nots. They would help prepare all our children, regardless of ZIP code, to succeed in college, work and life.
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten: twitter.com/rweingarten.