Press Release

Republican Education Bills Undermine Efforts to Provide All Children with a High-Quality Public Education

For Release: 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Janet Bass

AFT’s Randi Weingarten:
“These bills take federal education reform efforts from bad to worse and
undermine efforts to improve teaching and learning in our public schools.”

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on bills, introduced by Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The committee passed both bills along party lines.

“The federal government has long played a central role in ensuring that all children have access to a high-quality public education. It is unconscionable that some in Congress want to walk away from our nation’s commitment to providing an education that allows every child to compete on a level playing field.

“These bills take federal legislative education reform efforts from bad to worse and undermine current efforts to improve teaching and learning in our public schools. Instead of addressing the flaws of No Child Left Behind, these proposals take several steps backward—not the step forward that students and teachers need.

“The Student Success Act dilutes accountability and leaves no one responsible for improving student achievement, while the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act does just the opposite by holding only teachers accountable for their students’ performance. The AFT strongly supports teacher evaluation systems that are designed with teacher input to support the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. The proposed system is designed to simply sort teachers rather than to help them improve their craft. This is a wasted opportunity to support and expand the good work on teacher evaluation already taking place around the country.
“Together, these bills cut funding to districts with the most challenges, reverse the positive trend of adopting rigorous academic standards and a rich curriculum, fail to address the pervasive fixation on testing, prioritize the quantity rather than the quality of charter schools, and neglect to hold all stakeholders accountable and responsible for improving public schools.”



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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.