AFT Disappointed with Administration's ESEA Blueprint

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Based on an initial review of the U.S. Department of Education's plan for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it appears that despite some promising rhetoric, this blueprint places 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers and gives them zero percent authority, AFT president Randi Weingarten says. The plan was released on March 13.

"For a law affecting millions of schoolchildren and their teachers, it just doesn't make sense to have teachers—and teachers alone—bear the responsibility for school and student success," Weingarten says.

"Teachers are on the front lines, in the classroom and in the community, working day and night to help children learn. They should be empowered and supported—not scapegoated. We are surprised and disappointed that the Obama administration proposed this as a starting point for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We will work to make this law, which is the lifeblood for millions of disadvantaged students, work for kids and their teachers. Our next step is to share this blueprint with teachers in America's classrooms to elicit their opinions."

Hundreds of AFT members already have weighed in on the future of ESEA—the main federal education law—by responding to an AFT Voices question on the union's public Web site. [AFT press release]

March 13, 2010