March 13, 2010
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the Obama Administration’s Plan for Federal Education Law
The U.S. Department of Education this weekend released its blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main federal education law.
WASHINGTON—It appears from our first review that despite some promising rhetoric, this blueprint places 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers and gives them zero percent authority. For a law affecting millions of schoolchildren and their teachers, it just doesn’t make sense to have teachers—and teachers alone—bear the responsibility for school and student success.
Teachers are on the front lines, in the classroom and in the community, working day and night to help children learn. They should be empowered and supported—not scapegoated. We are surprised and disappointed that the Obama administration proposed this as a starting point for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We will work to make this law, which is the lifeblood for millions of disadvantaged students, work for kids and their teachers. Our next step is to share this blueprint with teachers in America’s classrooms to elicit their opinions.
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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.