September 21, 2009
AFT Media Affairs
Draft Standards Are a Solid First Step
Statement of Randi Weingarten
President of the American Federation of Teachers
WASHINGTON—The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have released draft standards that define what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college and the workplace. The organizations have invited comments from the public, teachers and educators. The American Federation of Teachers supports their efforts; two groups of AFT members participated in a preliminary review of the draft standards.
Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers said, "There is a compelling need for common standards that are higher, fewer and clearer. We are pleased that many of the comments from teams of teachers were heard and are reflected in this draft.
"We expect to see even more teacher input during the comment period and in future efforts to develop standards to guide the work of K-12 teachers. We encourage math and language arts teachers from across the country to make suggestions throughout this process.
"The question is: Do these standards reflect what we expect our children to know and what they should be able to do upon graduation whether they enter the workforce or go on to college? We realize the answer is far from simple, but these draft standards are a solid first step.
"Much has been learned from past failed efforts to develop and implement common core standards. Key to the success of this initiative, in addition to developing assessments that are aligned to standards, are the implementation pieces that make standards real: curriculum, professional development, and other resources teachers and students need.
"We look forward to the next steps in the process and appreciate the hard work by teachers and others that went into the draft standards released today. This is yet another example of how education is improved when we all work together."
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 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.