September 13, 2011
U.S. Needs to Invest More in Higher Education System
Statement by Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers,
On OECD's Education at a Glance: 2011 Report
WASHINGTON— United States' higher education system is the envy of the world, and while our college completion rate has improved, some countries are outpacing us by providing more affordable access without burdening their students with a mountain of debt. We have to make the tough economic decisions needed to make our higher education system more accessible and affordable.
The lesson taught by the United States for decades—that economic prosperity is directly tied to a highly educated workforce—is now being applied by other countries. The report shows the United States must follow its own example and ensure its economic future by making a college education—at public and private institutions—an affordable reality.
If we continue to slash education budgets, make college unaffordable and force students to shoulder great debt, our nation will struggle to retain its competitive edge. This report is a call to action for us to ramp up our support for colleges and universities to ensure that everyone who wants to achieve the American dream of attaining a college education can do so.
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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.