Press Release

Education Trust Report Highlights Importance of Strong and Supported Work Environment on Teaching and Student Learning

For Release: 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Lance Jones

'Report validates what every teacher knows is necessary to strengthen public schools and the teaching profession'

WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Education Trust's report, "Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning."

"The Education Trust's latest report validates what every teacher knows is necessary to strengthen public schools and the teaching profession. Building a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility among teachers, principals and administrators; focusing on continuous professional development for teachers; and ensuring teachers have the time, tools and trust they need to improve teaching and learning are essential ingredients to building strong public schools and a quality teaching force.

"This report also recognizes that teachers do not teach in a vacuum. Quality school buildings and working conditions, school leadership and community factors all play a role in attracting and retaining quality teachers and helping our children learn and grow. The report also makes clear that improving teaching and learning cannot start and stop by improving teacher evaluations. Evaluations are just one tool in improving teacher quality and should be used to support, not sanction, teachers.

"This report offers a clear road map for school districts across the country. Districts leading the way in improving teaching and learning are already focused on building strong, collaborative school communities to help all children succeed. In New Haven, Conn., teachers and the school district collaborated on a groundbreaking education agenda focused on an evaluation system that is fair and transparent, while also ensuring quality and professional development; providing additional resources and wraparound services for turnaround schools; and giving flexibility and a voice for teachers and principals to collaborate on what is needed in their schools and classrooms. Teachers in New Haven say they come to school to work hard and work as a team, not just teach behind closed doors, and that collaboration now is embedded in their school's culture."

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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.