AFT Resolution

FUTURE OF TEACHING AND TECHNOLOGY

WHEREAS, public education around the world is under attack, as the largest technology companies have turned their sights on public education as a lucrative business opportunity; and

WHEREAS, with advances in digital technologies, artificial intelligence, e-tablets and robotics becoming the focus of global edu-business, we stand on the cusp of public education becoming a technology product that parents and their communities are forced to buy from for-profit corporations; and

WHEREAS, addressing the issues of technology and the future of pedagogy is an urgent matter for the American Federation of Teachers, as it affects not just K-12 teachers, but also early childhood educators, higher education adjuncts and faculty, paraprofessionals, and those in continuing education and training; and

WHEREAS, Pearson—with which we are all familiar, and in which some of us are shareholders—at its recent annual general meeting, unveiled its new business plan, which will invest more than $1 billion in research and development of digital technology to create a company-to-consumer product line, bypassing teachers, brick-and-mortar schools and government departments of education; and

WHEREAS, educators know that the foundation of any successful education system is the trusting relationship among students, teachers and their support staff; however, for-profit corporations seek to replace educators with technology, even as data has shown that an over-reliance on artificial intelligence promotes inequality, minimizes teacher-student connections, disregards socio-emotional learning and lowers test scores; and

WHEREAS, even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence cannot replace the many important one-on-one relationships students need to advance in school and life, and it cannot teach life’s lessons that help students grow and succeed; and

WHEREAS, technology used as a replacement for qualified educators does not increase student achievement; and

WHEREAS, the AFT embraces new technologies if they support the teaching profession, such as our successful web-based learning platform, Share My Lesson, with more than 1 million downloads, which is a leading example demonstrating that technology, when properly used in the hands of qualified teachers, can enhance the learning process; however, it must always be educators and their unions—not for-profit corporations—who lead in the policy, design and training of technological educational innovation:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will work with Education International and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to map the development of technology in education and bring together data-driven practitioners and researchers to understand and promote the most effective best practices; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT stands ready to integrate relevant, reliable and proven technologies in the classroom, when they help students’ learning; and

RESOLVED, that we stand equally opposed when governments, for-profit corporations and policymakers allow their runaway enthusiasm for new technology to overwhelm intelligent, research-based adoption.

(2018)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.