November 18, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On 12th-Grade NAEP Results
High School Seniors Show Small Gains on 2009 NAEP Reading and Math Scores,
But Reading Scores Decline Compared with 1992
WASHINGTON—The National Assessment of Educational Progress scores for high school seniors went up modestly. While that is hopeful, it is not sufficient. We must take immediate steps to prepare all children, regardless of ZIP code, to succeed in college, work and life. Schools need a systemic, comprehensive approach to improving what’s being taught inside the classroom and countering factors outside the classroom, like poverty, that affect student performance.
The Common Core State Standards, if implemented well and used to build a strong reading and math curriculum, could serve as an important step to take our students to a higher level. Schools also need to provide teachers with the tools, resources, support, and good teaching and learning conditions to do their jobs. Factors outside the classroom affect student growth, as shown clearly by the achievement gap among the 11 states that volunteered to participate in the NAEP study. By providing wraparound tutoring and social services for disadvantaged students and their families, we can begin to level the playing field to close the achievement gap among the haves and the have-nots.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.