AFT Leaders Respond to NAACP Education Report and Recommendations
WASHINGTON—Statement by AFT President Randi Weingarten and Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson on the NAACP Task Force on Quality Education’s report and recommendations:
“America must wake up to the fact that children of color and low-income families too often are subjected to shamefully under-resourced schools and education experiments that do not work. It’s our obligation, as a society, to disrupt that reality and instead fight for equity and excellence in education. That starts with working to provide all families with access to great neighborhood public schools—in every neighborhood and for every child in America.
“The recommendations passed by the NAACP are clear, compelling, tangible steps that can help us meet this moral and economic obligation. These recommendations include providing more equitable and adequate funding for schools serving students of color, investing in low-performing schools and schools with significant opportunity and achievement gaps, mandating a rigorous authorizing and renewal process for charters, and eliminating for-profit charter schools.
“We commend the NAACP’s open, democratic process of holding public town hall meetings with parents, educators and communities across the country to discuss what they want for their kids and schools. We get that public schools are not perfect and that many children of color are not receiving the education they need and deserve. That’s why the AFT is focused on what we can and must do to strengthen public education for all children, by addressing children’s well-being, powerful learning, educators’ capacity, and collaboration. The solution is not to further divest from public schools and privatize them; the evidence is clear that those strategies fail the children they purportedly aim to support and undermine our democracy. The NAACP’s recommendations are grounded in what works for kids and are in line with what educators are doing every day to make every school a school where parents want to send their kids, teachers want to teach, and kids are engaged.
“We support public, accountable charter schools that work side by side with neighborhood public schools. In fact, the AFT represents teachers in more than 230 charter schools in 16 states, and one of us is the founder of a successful unionized charter school in New York City. But evidence and experience show that unaccountable, nontransparent, for-profit charters don’t actually help children and have no place in American education. We support the NAACP on its position regarding charter schools, including its call for ending for-profit charters and its continuing moratorium on expansion until the accountability, transparency and governance checks and balances are in place. And we will continue to work with the NAACP to turn these recommendations into reality.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 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.