Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Urges Congress To Support Teachers and Students

For Release: 

Thursday, April 15, 2010


John See

Labor Leader Calls for Federal Education Law To Give Teachers ‘Tools, Time and Trust’

WASHINGTON—Saying “teachers can’t do it alone,” AFT President Randi Weingarten urged Congress to view the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as an opportunity to provide more support for teachers and students.

ESEA should “help ensure that teachers have the tools, time and trust they need to succeed, including offering teachers and students an environment that sets everyone up for success,” Weingarten said in testimony today before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Weingarten’s testimony described a comprehensive approach to high-quality teaching that includes better education programs for teacher candidates, stronger induction programs for new teachers and ongoing professional development for all teachers. She also repeated her call for more rigorous teacher evaluations and urged Congress to include in ESEA a pilot program to help school districts develop collaborative, transparent and fair teacher development and evaluation systems. “Instead of relying on inadequate measures like a single student test score, the goal must be to develop systems to help promising teachers improve, enable good teachers to become great, and identify those teachers who shouldn’t be in the classroom at all,” Weingarten said.

Weingarten also called on Congress to restore a class-size reduction program with targeted funds for high-poverty schools. The program, Weingarten said, helps teachers differentiate instruction for students and better meet their needs.

For more information on the AFT’s ongoing efforts to improve teacher evaluations, visit


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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.