June 24, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On New Book, Team Up for 21st Century Teaching and Learning
The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future today released a new book, Team Up for 21st Century Teaching and Learning, which concludes that teamwork is the key to raising student achievement.
WASHINGTON—The significance of this book is that it provides research-based evidence showing that the most successful schools are those that foster collaborative team environments, as opposed to simply attempting to identify individual “good” and “bad” teachers.
The book lays out the elements necessary for a high-performing school, factors that virtually mirror the tools and conditions for teachers that the AFT has been vigorously advocating. The commission found that successful schools improve student achievement through shared values and goals, collective responsibility, authentic assessments, self-directed reflection, stable—not dysfunctional—schools, and strong leadership support.
This book directly challenges the current market-driven, industrial ideology espoused by self-identified reformers who spend little or no time in classrooms and don’t understand what’s needed to prepare students for a knowledge economy. Framing the discussion in terms of “winners” and “losers” may work for the business world, but it is not suited for our schools. As this new book correctly concludes, we must move toward a more cooperative, team-based dynamic with shared responsibility if we genuinely hope to provide all children with high-quality public schools.
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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.