May 4, 2011
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the NAEP Civics Results
Students Make Progress in Fourth Grade, but not in Grades 8 and 12;
Hispanic Students Post Gains at all Grade Levels
WASHINGTON—An informed, active citizenry and an educated workforce are essential pillars of a healthy democracy. It is a disservice to students to narrow our focus to only what is tested—reading and mathematics—and to give scant attention to civics. We are encouraged by the fourth-grade gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But overall, the progress is not nearly far enough or fast enough.
One silver lining is that Hispanic students have experienced consistent gains across the three grade levels since 1998, and we’ve narrowed the achievement gap between Hispanic students and non-Hispanic white students. Nonetheless, we need to focus more on preparing all children for life and on helping them become engaged citizens. America deserves no less.
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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.