June 15, 2011
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the NAEP U.S. History Results
WASHINGTON—An informed, active citizenry and an educated workforce are essential pillars of a healthy democracy. So, it is encouraging that today's students know more about United States history than students did in the mid-1990s, according to the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
However, the NAEP results also show that, while there have been some improvements—particularly for low-income students in the early grades—high school students' achievement is flat, and African-American, Hispanic and low-income students still trail white students and more affluent students. We can improve these results by strengthening the U.S. history curriculum, by including far more opportunities for project-based learning and engagement, and by better supporting the teachers and schools that serve poor and minority students.
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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.