Weingarten: "These results show incremental progress despite the challenges urban schools face, but poverty and economic inequality—as economists and even the Pope have acknowledged—will stymie long-term gains unless policymakers face these issues head-on."
WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the Trial Urban District Assessment results:
"These results show incremental progress despite the challenges urban schools face, but poverty and economic inequality—as economists and even the Pope have acknowledged—will stymie long-term gains unless policymakers face these issues head-on.
"Noteworthy are the substantial gains in mathematics and reading made by D.C. fourth-graders since 2003, as they were the first tested group to benefit from the city's universal pre-K program. Conversely, Cleveland was the lowest-scoring district and had the smallest gains in mathematics; it also had the highest percentage of low-income students.
"Data like this is an important reflection point. Some would use it to double down on our country's testing fixation, which more and more is not simply taking the joy out of schools but is not even measuring the skills and knowledge necessary for students to be prepared for the 21st century. Instead, if we want to see sustainable, scalable progress for our kids, it's time to invest in strategies such as preparing teachers, giving them the time and tools to teach, providing students with project-based and experiential learning, and providing timely interventions like pre-K and tutoring to help disadvantaged students—as top-performing U.S. districts and countries do. We must also use assessments to inform instruction and student learning, not as a pretext to punish or sanction.
"Let's take a moment to honor and thank the teachers and students in our urban districts who work hard under difficult conditions."