March 23, 2011
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher
The latest MetLife survey found teachers overwhelmingly believe that one of the highest priorities in education should be to strengthen programs and resources to help diverse learners who have the highest needs prepare for college and career.
WASHINGTON—Our challenge is to make sure every child in every school gets a great education. That means taking what works in the best public schools, sustaining it and scaling it up so we meet the needs of all kids. We must do this even in difficult budget times, for if the investment in education is not maintained, our future is in jeopardy. Nowhere is this more important than helping diverse learners, most particularly kids who are at risk or with special needs. In response to the survey, teachers said, overwhelmingly, that they require the tools and resources to better meet the needs of diverse learners. They cited the importance of collaborative teaching, access to technology and other tools to help differentiate instruction, and strategies to support of English language learners. In addition, they said at-risk students must have school-site wraparound services, such as social services and after-school tutoring, to address their unmet needs.
Recent calls to fix budget problems by increasing class sizes and laying off teachers head us in the wrong direction and will make an already tough situation worse for the students who need the most help. Administrators and lawmakers must listen to teachers and give them the tools, time and trust necessary to help their students succeed.
The MetLife survey can be found at: www.metlife.com/teachersurvey.
# # # #
The AFT represents 1.5 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.