WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the results of the 2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey, which seeks to gain information from teachers and school leaders about working conditions and learning environments at their schools to help countries around the globe face diverse challenges:
“The results of the 2018 TALIS confirm what teachers in America have said: ‘Give us the freedom to teach, the latitude we need, and trust our professional judgement in the classroom.’
It is precisely why we have launched our Freedom to Teach and Fund Our Future campaigns.
“The TALIS results indicate that, on average, American teachers have higher numbers of multilingual students, students with special needs and students who come from socio-economically disadvantaged households in their classrooms. These diverse needs place greater demands on their time outside of school to review student work, plan lessons, talk with parents and collaborate with colleagues. And still, American teachers spend more hours per week actually teaching in the classroom than virtually all their international peers. Teachers in America earn salaries that often leave them unable to cover personal expenses and take care of their families. So, it comes as no surprise that the United States is also one of the countries where improving the salaries of teachers was a spending priority of high importance.
“These findings also support our calls for greater investment in public education and adequate funding for our teachers, who have a monumental responsibility but are often not provided the time, tools and resources they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. We must value and trust our teachers, and give them the freedom to teach—creating a culture of collaboration, ensuring sustainable teaching and learning conditions, and making sure teachers have voice and agency befitting their profession.”