Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten on OECD ‘Education at a Glance’ report

For Release: 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Contact:

Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603
acrook@aft.org

WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement responding to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s ‘Education at a Glance’ report, an annual snapshot of education around the world:

“What this demonstrates is that despite education being less of a priority in the U.S. than in other countries, U.S. teachers are doing more with less. As a result, our public schools are far from the “dead ends” that Betsy DeVos calls them—there are amazing things happening right now in classrooms across the country.

“The OECD has reconfirmed the shameful truth—U.S. teachers are paid 60 percent less than similarly educated U.S. professionals. They work longer hours and teach more children compared with their international peers. If you look under the hood, it becomes clear the United States is spending less on recruiting, supporting, nurturing and retaining teachers. And recent cuts have only made things worse—the U.S. has slashed per-pupil spending by 4 percent, while OECD countries have increased it by an average of 5 percent.

“While the rest of the world has prioritized teaching and learning, and is investing heavily in equity and teacher preparation, 36 U.S. states are spending less on education than before the Great Recession. Moreover, the report confirms the U.S. has fallen woefully behind in early childhood and career and technical education as well.

“If we want to make every school a school where parents want to send their kids, where teachers want to teach and where kids are engaged, then we have to make investing in education a priority and start treating teachers like the professionals they are.

“Public education is the bedrock of our democracy—and respecting our educators is a crucial step to improving learning for our kids and our nation.”

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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.