AFT's Weingarten: "The crucial question we face now is whether we have the political will to move away from the failed policies and embrace what works in high-performing countries so that we can reclaim the promise of public education."
WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 results:
"Today's PISA results drive home what has become abundantly clear: While the intentions may have been good, a decade of top-down, test-based schooling created by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top—focused on hyper-testing students, sanctioning teachers and closing schools—has failed to improve the quality of American public education. Sadly, our nation has ignored the lessons from the high-performing nations. These countries deeply respect public education, work to ensure that teachers are well-prepared and well-supported, and provide students not just with standards but with tools to meet them—such as ensuring a robust curriculum, addressing equity issues so children with the most needs get the most resources, and increasing parental involvement. None of the top-tier countries, nor any of those that have made great leaps in student performance, like Poland and Germany, has a fixation on testing like the United States does.
"The crucial question we face now is whether we have the political will to move away from the failed policies and embrace what works in high-performing countries so that we can reclaim the promise of public education."
After the 2009 PISA report, Weingarten visited the top-performing nations of Japan, China, Singapore, Finland, Canada and Brazil to talk with teachers, principals, students and government officials about what makes their systems work for students, teachers and parents. Many of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's recommendations informed the AFT's Quality Education Agenda and its Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education principles.