Press Release

Public Schools Are Cornerstone of Strong Economy, Strong Democracy, Strong Middle Class

For Release: 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)

President Obama Says We Need to Stop Teaching to the Test

Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten
on President Obama's State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON—"President Obama made crystal clear tonight that the health of our economy and the quality of our public education system always have been and always will be intertwined. Strong public schools are the cornerstone of a strong economy, a strong democracy and a strong middle class.

"Obama also made clear tonight what America's teachers have long understood: We can't test our way to a middle class; we must educate our way to a middle class. The overemphasis on testing has led to narrowing of the curriculum, rather than creating a path to critical thinking and problem solving. These are the kinds of knowledge and skills our children need to compete in the global economy. Respecting public school teachers and providing them with the tools and resources they need to help our children learn and grow are essential to building a strong public education system, competing in a global economy and restoring economic opportunity for all.

"Today's public school teachers are on the frontlines of our collective efforts to compete in a global economy and develop the scientists, engineers, teachers and other leaders of tomorrow. And President Obama is exactly right: higher education can no longer be a luxury. We owe it to America's students to ensure they can afford to go to college without being saddled by huge debt before they begin their careers."

Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten:

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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.