Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Teachers union leader says next president must completely reset education policy and oust current education secretary

Teachers union leader says next president must completely reset education policy and oust current education secretary:

Teachers union leader says next president must completely reset education policy and oust current education secretary

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), addresses delegates on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at Wells Fargo Center on July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsyvania. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
ter playing defense for the better part of two decades, the presidents of the nation’s two teachers unions took the stage at the Democratic National Convention along with other union leaders to speak to Hillary Clinton’s labor bone fides. The two union presidents were some of the earliest and fiercest supporters of Clinton’s presidential bid, and in a speech on the opening night of the convention, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten talked about what she hopes they’ll get in return.
“She’ll reset education policy to focus on skills like creativity and critical thinking, not more testing,” said Weingarten at the July convention in Philadelphia.
While teachers unions have long been a key pillar in Democratic Party, they’ve been on the outs with President Barack Obama’s education department. The administration doubled down on Republican President George W. Bush’s educational agenda of holding schools accountable for students’ test scores. For struggling schools, if test scores didn’t increase, they could be either closed or converted into charter schools, the vast majority of which employ non-unionized staff.
These policies devastated some local teachers union, including Philadelphia’s, which lost 10,000 members during the Obama and Bush administrations. Weingarten expects Clinton to totally upend this agenda, and hopes that she’ll remove Education Secretary John King, who was just confirmed by the senate in March,
The Hechinger Report sat down with Weingarten during the last night of the convention to go deeper into what she expects from the next president.
Question: There seems to be a lot more talk about early education and higher education during this convention. Why do you think that is? What are the K-12 policies you would hope to see from a President Clinton?
Answer: She’s actually done four major speeches on K-12 education. It hasn’t been covered. I think it’s because it’s not controversial because it’s rooted in the evidence of what works for kids. She calls it TLC: teaching, learning and community. It’s about how do we ensure we have a great teaching force, and how do we nurture them and how do we lift them up? How do we have high standards, but also make sure we meet the needs of individual kids, including kids with special needs and kids who are limited English proficient?Teachers union leader says next president must completely reset education policy and oust current education secretary:

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