Press Release

Statement by Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, On President Obama’s Speech on Education

For Release: 

Thursday, July 29, 2010


John See

President Obama today spoke about education at the National Urban League in Washington, D.C.

 WASHINGTON—Any day that the president of the United States speaks about the importance of education is a good one, and we are pleased that President Obama today echoed many of the views of the American Federation of Teachers.

Both the president and our members understand that the strength of the economy is inextricably linked to the quality of our schools; that those who defend the status quo in our schools are doing a great disservice to our children; that we need to change the way we educate students; and that federal education policies can play an important role in leveraging change and helping every student succeed in college, work and life.

The important question is not whether our schools need to change, but how they should change. Race to the Top is part of that discussion, as are the powerful ideas that have emerged in the last few weeks from civil rights groups, community groups and the AFT. Fighting against draconian cuts to school budgets also has to be part of that discussion.

Teaching is a complex enterprise, and there are no silver-bullet solutions for our schools. Our vision for comprehensive change is focused on helping every child, in every school, in every neighborhood across the country. Going forward, the AFT will work with the administration, lawmakers, civil rights leaders, community leaders, parents and other stakeholders to make that vision a reality for America’s schoolchildren.

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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.